Is Bollywood Killing The Much Better Regional Cinema?

Posted on November 10, 2010 in Media and Culture

By Sahiba Singh:

In the last five years the Indian production houses have been pumping truckloads of money in the Bollywood movies. The production quality has improved; the wardrobe is more international; the movies are being shot at exotic locations from start to end, but sadly we have more flops.

Wanted, Ghajini, Bhool Bhulaiya apart from being blockbuster hits, they were remakes of regional movies, not just them but also many Tamil – Telugu movies in the period of 1992-1996 were either dubbed or remade in Hindi.

Bollywood has become synonymous with the Indian Film Industry. But people forget a tiny fact that Bollywood is not the only movie churning machine in India. We produce more than 1000 non-Hindi movies every year. Chennai has the second largest film city in India. Tamil industry (Kollywood) which released a record 108 movies in the year 2007. The Telugu industry (Tollywood) produces the largest number of movies in a year! The Punjwood is also not far behind; they produced 900 movies since 2000

Bollywood has always given a cold shoulder to actors from regional film industry. In recent years, we had stellar performances by Siddharth (Rang De Basanti & Striker) and Vikram (Raavan) but interestingly they have no more Hindi projects.

I fail to understand how Kamal Hassan, a tremendous actor having the “hero-appropriate” looks, failed to make a mark. Even after giving hits like Saagar and Chachi 420, he was unable to sustain in Bollywood.

The actresses on the other hand have been extremely lucky. Waheeda Rahman, Sridevi, Aishwarya Rai, Genelia D’Souza and Asin, all have enjoyed great success in Bollywood. Actors and actresses who have not been able to make mark in Bollywood, often migrate south to bag plum projects or some fancy item song and create a new audience for themselves. South is not the only life saver, actors have tried their hands on Bengali, Marathi and even Bhojpuri movies. Aishwarya, who is often criticized by the critics for her wooden expressions, was praised by one and all for her performance in Chokher Bali, a Bengali movie directed by Rituparno Ghosh.

The Bollywood bosses should be more appreciative and open to the artist coming from the regional film industries. If they “borrow” an idea, then they should be more than willing to acknowledge the source.

The broadcasting ministry should also make efforts to show good regional movies to a wider audience; subtitles would help. Just giving national awards hasn’t helped them; they should have more showcasing in the metros. Arranging of film festival for the national award nominees and investing some money on its promotion would help in spreading awareness. If these movies are not shown, then the biggest losers are the audiences.

Five must watch movies

  • Bhavni Bhavai (1980) a Gujarati movie directed by Ketan Mehta
  • Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya (2010) Tamil movie starring Trisha and Surya
  • Harishchandrachi Factory (2009)
  • Kannathil Muthamittal (2002)
  • Baasha (1995) no list is complete without Rajinikanth!!

Interesting Facts:

  • Anil Kapoor made his first leading role in Pallavi Anu Pallavi, a kannada film directed by Mani Ratnam.
  • The music of the Oh-so-popular song “Dhak Dhak Karne Laga” was a copy of the hit song “Abbanee teeyani debba” of a 1990 Telugu movie Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari starring Sridevi and Chiranjeevi which in 1991 was dubbed into Hindi as Aadmi Aur Apsara.
  • The Prasads IMAX theatre in Hyderabad has the biggest IMAX 3D screen in the world.
  • Roja, directed by Mani Ratnam, is the only Indian film to feature in TIME Magazine’s “10 Best Soundtracks” of all time.
  • The Apu Trilogy consist of three Bengali films directed by Satyajit Ray listed among the greatest films of all time and considered one of the greatest film trilogies ever made.

The writer is a Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.

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  • Karan Vohra

    I do agree with you on some points .
    For instance its true that Bollywood is still quite crass , despite the expensive sets ,exotic locations and designer clothes.
    However in many respects its the audience which is at fault.
    People are more interested in the personal lives of actors and film trivia than content .
    Its true that there are very few films made by bollywood that are both meaningful and entertaining ( eg 3 idiots ) . As far as regional films are concerned they loose popularity and market because film critics ( who are not even there ) are not taken seriously .
    There is little said by the critic other than the name of the star cast and the locations .

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