Tamil and Telugu films that are now being dubbed into Hindi for pan-India reach are likely to take their contribution to overall box office in the north from 10% to 30% once theatres reopen, said two film trade experts.
While Hindi movie content is likely to remain elusive for a while with film-makers unlikely to bring any big-ticket titles soon once theatres resume operations, the south Indian films are commercial entertainers that could appeal to all demographics, including small-town audiences.
Vijay’s Tamil film Master set the trend earlier this year and a number of such titles are scheduled for the coming months that will find many more takers in the north. This will also push distributors in the north to pay out more for such films.
Big-budget films slated to release in multiple languages include Baahubali director S.S Rajamouli’s next, RRR, starring Jr NTR, Ram Charan and Alia Bhatt, Ajith’s Tamil film Valimai, the sequel to Kannada hit KGF, Allu Arjun’s Pushpa, Kamal Haasan’s Vikram and Vijay’s next Thalapathy 65.
The dubbed films that have released in the Hindi belt, including those after the pandemic, have brought good returns from small-towns in north Indian states such as Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and parts of Maharashtra. Case in point being Allu Arjun’s Surya: The Soldier (the dubbed version of Naa Peru Surya, Naa Illu India), besides Master. Film producer, trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar said regional language cinema and stars are making a conscious effort to come up with pan-Indian offerings and own that tag, especially since awareness and acceptance among north Indian audiences have increased with their films streaming on OTT platforms.
“South films can see a lot more traction in the Hindi belt due to the lack of Bollywood content, ” Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema said.
Most of these southern entertainers will also make their way directly to satellite television, sealing deals for anything between Rs15 crore and Rs25 crore for their dubbed versions, Mohan said.
To be sure, satellite television premieres have already ensured interest in these mass-market, high-budget films, often a mix of action, drama and comedy, and familiarity of stars such as Prabhas and Allu Arjun.
“Until now, only a few dubbed south Indian films such as the Baahubali franchise or those featuring stars like Rajinikanth were given proper showcasing, others weren’t promoted that well. It is time to change that and bring in the concept of one nation, one film,” said Rajesh Mishra, CEO, Indian operations, UFO Moviez India Ltd, a digital service provider that has recently forayed into film distribution and brought films like Master and Tamil action thriller Chakra to north India. Proof of acceptance of these films also lies in the number of remakes that Bollywood has spawned over the years, Mishra said.
“Now these films will have a much bigger canvas to play with in theatres and that will be an outcome of covid,” Mishra said. Live Mint