Why are South Indian films outperforming Bollywood? We explain
South Indian films that received pan-Indian releases have properly dominated the halls in the post-COVID-19 period. Take Yash-starrer KGF: Chapter 2, SS Rajamouli's RRR, or Allu Arjun-led Pushpa: The Rise as examples. Meanwhile, Bollywood movies starring superstars like Akshay Kumar (Bachchhan Paandey) or Ranveer Singh (83) have faltered. Why is this happening and what does it mean for the Hindi movie industry? Let's see.
Nearly all South Indian blockbusters have statistically been action-based movies. Put in a mighty hero (women-led movies score high too scarcely), an emotional backstory, and mind-blowing action scenes, and there, you have a success story. Be it Baahubali or Pushpa, this formula has worked. But mainstream Bollywood masala movies follow this formula as well. Then why is the result not the same?
Recently, Sanjay Dutt (who was the main antagonist in KGF: Chapter 2) said the success of pan-Indian films is related to their heroic tales. He shared plans of churning out larger-than-life heroes using his new production company Three Dimension Motion Pictures, too.
One massive plus for the Southern biggies is their original stories. Filmmakers like Rajamouli (RRR) or Karthik Subbaraj (Jagame Thandhiram) have created entire worlds comprising action, entertainment, romance, and swagger. Most hits also have a moralistic appeal. In contrast, Bollywood is infamous for minting remakes of South Indian hits. Now that most/all releases are available in dubbed versions, why would one watch a remake?
Speaking of dubbed versions, pan-Indian releases mean that the cinema reaches a wider audience. Contrary to one stand of belief, not everyone understands and enjoys watching films in Hindi. So this has served as a benefit for Telugu or Tamil releases. Add to it the world-class production value and original music composition. Both of these elements contribute to a film's popularity.
Another factor is the humongous devoted fanbase of South actors. The release of films like Beast or Valimai is a festival for Vijay and Ajith fans. But only well-settled names (most in their 50s) like Kumar, Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn, Shah Rukh Khan, and Aamir Khan enjoy similar star power. The newer stars (like Varun Dhawan, Tiger Shroff) are still looking for that space.
"Bollywood is making movies for the suburban Mumbai crowd of Bandra to Versova [both are areas in Mumbai]. What will the rest of India watch?" Taran Adarsh once told a portal. "That space has been taken over by South Indian movies," he rightfully pointed out.