Not just Saaho! South invasion of Bollywood appears to be here to stay

If you look at the box office figures of some Hindi films recently released, you will ascertain that they are all remakes of South films. Kabir Singh, the 2019 Hindi language romantic drama film written and directed by Sandeep Vanga, is a remake of his own Telugu film Arjun Reddy (2017) which featured Vijay Deverakonda and Shalini Pandey in the lead roles. Arjun Reddy was partially inspired by Vanga’s life as a physiotherapy student.

Not just Saaho! South invasion of Bollywood appears to be here to stay

Simmba is an adaptation of the 2015 Telugu-language film Temper. The film starred N. T. Rama Rao Jr. and Kajal Aggarwal in the lead roles and Ranveer Singh and Sara Ali Khan in the Hindi remake. Baaghi 2 is a 2018 Hindi language action thriller film produced by Sajid Nadiadwala and directed by Ahmed Khan. The film stars Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani in lead roles. It is a sequel to the 2016 film Baaghi and a remake of the 2016 Telugu movie Kshanam.

The romantic drama Ok Jaanu starring Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor kicked off the Bollywood releases of 2017. The film, which narrates the story of a young couple in a live-in relationship, was first envisioned in Tamil, as O Kadhal Kanmani or Ok Kanmani, written, directed and produced by Mani Ratnam, with music by AR Rahman.

Not just Saaho! South invasion of Bollywood appears to be here to stay

The leading roles were essayed by Dulquer Salmaan and Nithya Menon. The 2015 thriller Drishyam starring Ajay Devgn, Tabu and Shriya Saran was hailed by critics as one of the most successful attempts by Bollywood in making a nail-biting drama. However, it was actually a remake of the Malayalam film by the same name, which was released in 2013.

Force, this action-thriller starring John Abraham and Genelia D’Souza released in 2011, was loved by many action fans of Bollywood. Even the unlikely pairing of John and Genelia found favour.

This called for a sequel, which came in the form of Force 2, which was released in 2016. In the film, Sonakshi Sinha replaced Genelia as the female lead. Force is the remake of Gautham Menon’s successful 2003-film Kaakha Kaakha, which starred the real-life couple Suriya and Jyothika.

Not just Saaho! South invasion of Bollywood appears to be here to stay

Bodyguard, the 2011 romantic action comedy starred Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Hazel Keech. The film, set around a misunderstood love connection between a bodyguard and the woman he is sworn to protect, is the remake of the Malayalam film of the same name starring Dileep, Nayanthara and Mithra Kurian.

While the 2007 horror comedy Bhul Bhulaiya is a remake of the 1993 Malayalam film Manichithrathazhu, Billu Barber is a remake of the 2007 Malayalam film Kadha Parayumbol starring Sreenivasan in Irrfan’s role and superstar Mammootty in Shah Rukh Khan’s.

Eyes are now trained on the forthcoming South based film, Saaho starring Prabhas of Baahubali fame and Shraddha Kapoor with an overwhelming budget and gloss. The film is touted to take a big opening when it opens on August 30. In fact, the next version of Baahubali is also expected. Some of the future remakes of South films in Hindi include Kirik Party which is a remake of the similarly titled Kannada blockbuster.

It’s a story about a first-year engineering student, who falls in love with a final-year student from his college. However, a tragic event changes his perception towards life and he mends his ways. It’s about how love can make you compassionate.

Not just Saaho! South invasion of Bollywood appears to be here to stay

Kartik Aaryan was brought on board in July and the makers recently confirmed that Jacqueline Fernandez would be starring opposite the Sonu Ki Titu Ki Sweety actor. The movie will be helmed by National Award winning director Abhishek Jain.

The R Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi starrer Vikram Vedha, a neo-noir thriller, was one of the most successful Tamil films last year. It was directed by husband-wife duo Pushkar-Gayatri and produced by S Sashikanth. In their official statement, Y Not Studios said that they were teaming up with Reliance Entertainment and Neeraj Pandey’s Plan C Studios for the Hindi remake.

Reviewing this trend, Jyothi Venkatesh, veteran journalist says, “It started in the Sixties when pioneers of modern cinema like Gemini Productions and AVM Productions started remaking their own successful films in the South into successful films in Hindi.

These were generally family dramas with good music and introduced many new heroines like Vyjantimala, Padmini, etc. LV Prasad of Prasad Productions was one of the titans of Hindi cinema and made many successful films with his biggest being Ek Duuje Ke Liye which introduced two superstars Kamal Haasan and Rati Agnihotri. The ’80s saw the rise of a string of Jeetendra films with directors like K Raghvendra Rao, K Bapaiah, Bapu, K Vishwanath, S Ramanathan, T Ramarao, and more.

We saw successful films like Himmatwalla, Tohfa, Maqsad, Sargam, etc. with good music by Bappi Lahiri and Laxmikant Pyarelal. This is one trend which will continue, according to me.”

Veteran film and television content head Anooj Kapoor has a different point of view. “One flash in the pan doesn’t make a trend and Baahubali was just another South film which did good business.

This trend was noticed in the ’80s, with Jeetendra, Rajesh Khanna and Mithun pairing up with Sridevi, Jayaprada, Bhanupriya, Madhavi, Radhika, Sumalata etc.

They attracted the audiences with their masala content and good music. But if you look at the last six months’ overview, there is only Kabir Singh which can be termed as a South based Hindi film that did more than Rs 200 crore business. It remains to be seen how Saaho does now.”

Veteran journalist and trade analyst Dilip Thakur opines, “This trend saw an onset in the ’60s and then gained momentum. But now the scenario is that South films are made in languages like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam at the same time and with dubbing and subtitling. It’s a good avenue with Hindi markets and satellite too where South films are a big draw. I feel this is the trend of the future.”It does appear that South based cinema is here to stay for a long time!

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