South stars testing B-town waters

South stars testing B-town waters
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Highlights

The Indian film industry may be the biggest in the world and the South film industry, combined in itself, outnumbers the Hindi films produced.

The Indian film industry may be the biggest in the world and the South film industry, combined in itself, outnumbers the Hindi films produced.

The South has four main languages in which the films are made: Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.

While, all South actors are content ruling the roost locally, crossing the regional language barriers only on rare occasions, they have aspirations and ambitions to make it to Hindi films.

That would mean universal acceptance and recognition which the Hindi film medium offers.

Take the example of Kamal Haasan. He was brought to Hindi films by the legendary filmmaker, L V Prasad with 'Ek Duuje Ke Liye.'

Similarly, Rajinikanth made his Hindi debut with another South producer, A Poornachndra Rao with 'Andha Kanoon' along with Amitabh Bachchan.

The idea was that, as mentioned earlier, cast the best of both the worlds, North and South. Chiranjeevi, the Telugu superstar of his time, was launched by his brother-in-law, Allu Arvind.

Mukesh Udeshi, who dubbed South films into Hindi among his other businesses, was the co-producer. His Hindi debut film was titled 'Pratibandh,' a big hit.

Another Telugu actor Venky was launched opposite Karisma Kapoor in 'Anari,' which was a hit. Next, Dr Naidu wanted to launch his grandson, Rana Daggubati.

He wanted to see if Rana's debut Telugu film was a success so the same could be remade into Hindi. That was not to be and Rana's debut came with 'Dum Maaro Dum' in 2011, where he did not lead the cast and the film went generally unnoticed.

However, he played an important though a negative role in 'Baahubali' which has brought him back in the limelight.

Another South actor ready to be launched was Nagarjuna, also from a renowned South film family of A Nageshwar Rao. Ram Gopal Varma launched him in Hindi with 'Shiva,' a remake of his acclaimed Telugu film, 'Shiva.'

The film also brought to Hindi cinema a stylised villain from the South in Raghuvaran. But, both could not go far in the Hindi cinema.

The one-film wonder syndrome with the South stars continues as we have seen actors like Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi, to the present day aspirants like Siddharth, Dhanush, Vikram and others. They come and go.

Madhvan is the only South star who continues to get assignments though not as a solo hero. While the other South heroes could not make a mark on the Hindi screens, the one who survived for the longest time was Rajinikanth.

This is because, Rajinikanth did most of his films with other established Hindi film heroes. In fact, most of his films were multi-starrers.

That helped. What also marred the careers of these stars from the South was that, after they gained some recognition in Hindi films, the market was flooded with their films from South dubbed into Hindi by those wanting to cash in while it lasted.

The week past saw the entry of another South star, Prabhas, with the film 'Saaho.' The film seemed more about cashing on the popularity of the hero post massive success of his 'Baahubali' franchise.

The film offered nothing else except Prabhas even while it boasted of a budget of a whopping Rs 350 crore. We have to see how he shapes his B-town career.

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