Inspired from the South

Debarati Palit Singh
Friday, 12 July 2019

The success of Kabir Singh, which is an official remake of a Telugu film,  shows how South Indian remakes are still a big draw for Bollywood filmmakers and how they connect with the masses across places

As of today, Shahid Kapoor-starrer Kabir Singh has become the highest grosser of 2019. The film has collected around Rs 240 crore at the box office. Despite the fact that the Hindi remake of the Telugu film Arjun Reddy has been drawing flak from netizens for its flawed leading character, the numbers just prove that South Indian remakes are a huge hit among the masses. 

Sharing the news about Kabir Singh raking in the moolah, trade analyst Taran Adarsh tweeted, “Kabir Singh has recorded a score of Rs 246 crore and now eyes a new bounty — Rs 250. It emerges the highest grossing Hindi film of 2019... Inches closer to Rs 250 cr mark... Fri 5.40 cr, Sat 7.51 cr, Sun 9.61 cr, Mon 4.25 cr, Tue 3.20 cr, Wed 3.11 cr. Total: Rs. 246.28 cr. India biz.” 

The success of the film has proved one thing that no amount of criticism from movie experts and social media users can deter Bolywood filmmakers from making South India remakes. On Thursday, there were reports of Telugu fantasy comedy — Oh Baby!, starring Samantha Akkineni, being made in Hindi. The Telugu film has made around Rs 17 crores at the box office. Looking at the success of the film, it’s being reported that the makers are keen on remaking it. The South Indian film was produced by Suresh Productions. During the film’s success party, Rana Daggubati, whose family owns the production house, said, “It is a story originally written in Korean and adapted into many languages in the world. And definitely we will look at making it soon in Hindi.”   

There are several other films in the pipeline, which are either directly or indirectly inspired by South Indian films. Telugu filmmaker Deva Katta’s cult classic Prasthanam is having a Hindi remake. Starring Sanjay Dutt and Ali Fazal, it will release later this year. Akshay Kumar-starrer Laxmmi Bomb, which is an official remake of Tamil horror comedy Muni 2: Kanchana, is also due for release in 2020. 

But Bollywood has been remaking South India films for long now. For decades, filmmakers have remade Telugu, Tamil,  Kannada and Malayalam films in Hindi. Jeetendra made a career by starring in South Indian remakes. Some of the biggest hits of the current  Bollywood super stars have been South Indian remakes — Salman Khan (Wanted, Bodyguard), Ajay Devgn (Singham, Drishyam, Son of Sardaar), Akshay Kumar (Rowdy Rathore, Gabbar Is Back, Holiday, Boss). 

Producers like Boney Kapoor have backed several such projects, many of which had his star brother Anil Kapoor. 

During the promotions of Kabir Singh, Shahid Kapoor said that the boundaries don’t exist anymore. “The lines are blurring. Content is travelling across, which is a very positive sign. You can take something from one place and make it in another place and people will still connect with it,” he said.

There are several reasons why South Indian films draw the attention of Bollywood directors and producers. Macho heroes, grand action sequences, paisa vasool stories, which has a mix of comedy, music, romance, family drama and action — all appeal to the mases. These films are a hit in their own industry, which make them a safe bet.  

“Bollywood usually remakes those films, which have been successes or are cult classics. They have had huge box office numbers and that’s why filmmakers are attracted to these stories and projects. But I think slowly even Hindi films are being remade there and that trend too is picking up now,” says producer Guneet Monga, who is producing Tamil film Suriya 38. 

Among the Hindi films which are being picked by producers in the South are Kangana Ranaut-starrer Queen, which is being remade in three languages; Amitabh Bachchan-starrer PINK, which is being remade in Tamil and is titled Ner Konda Paarvai. The film stars Ajith. 

In the past too, South Indian filmmakers have remade Hindi films. Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Manithan was a remake of Jolly LLB, Settai was a remake of Delhi Belly, Gopalla Gopalla was a remake of Oh My God! and so on. 

Such creative exchange is appreciated. 

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