Pan-India phenomenon FAILS to create its magic this year; 14 South films had a dubbed Hindi release in 2023 so far and all of them were FLOPS; 13 of them failed to even cross the Rs. 10 crore mark
As a result, a narrative was spread about the supremacy of the South films. Some even predicted the downfall and, believe it or not, the demise of Bollywood! Interestingly, several South films in Hindi in 2022 also flopped like Khiladi, Valimai, ET, James, RAW (Beast), Acharya, 777 Charlie, Yashoda, etc. Major, Sita Ramam and Vikram Hitlist, meanwhile, trended well but the collections were below expectations. But these films were royally ignored by vested interests to spread their agenda.
Meanwhile, the month of May is about to get over and till now, 14 South films have been released in Hindi so far in 2023. And not a single one of them managed to be a hit or even cross the Rs. 20 crore mark. Some of them starred big names like Thalapathy Vijay, Nani, Samantha Ruth Prabhu etc. Actors of most films even flew down to Mumbai and other cities in the Hindi speaking markets and did everything possible to create noise. Yet, their efforts proved futile. In the case of big-ticket films like Underworld Ka Kabzaa and Shaakuntalam, the collections were embarrassing, to say the least.
Here’s a list of 14 South dubbed films that were released this year and their collections:
1. Varisu (January 13, 2023) – Rs. 9.39 crores
2. Waltair Veerayya (January 13, 2023) – N/A
3. Akhanda (January 20, 2023) – N/A
4. Michael (February 3, 2023) – N/A
5. Underworld Ka Kabzaa (March 17, 2023) – Rs. 3.25 crores
6. Dasara (March 30, 2023) – N/A
7. August 16, 1946 (April 7, 2023) – Rs. 1 crore
8. Geetha Sakshiga (April 7, 2023) – N/A
9. Das Ka Dhamki (April 14, 2023) – N/A
10. Shaakuntalam (April 14, 2023) – Rs. 1.27 crore
11. Ponniyin Selvan-2 (April 28, 2023) – Rs. 17.39 crores
12. Virupaksha (May 5, 2023) – N/A
13. Ramabanam (May 5, 2023) – N/A
14. Farhana (May 12, 2023) – N/A
Note: The collections of several films are unavailable as the collections were negligible.
The trend of dubbing South films in Hindi was always there but it got a boost with the success of Baahubali – The Beginning (2015). Bollywood Hungama found that including Baahubali – The Beginning, 52 films were released in Hindi dubbed versions from July 2015 until the end of 2022. Out of these films, 12 were hits or blockbusters: Baahubali – The Beginning, Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion (2017), 2.0 (2018), KGF - Chapter 1 (2018), Saaho (2019), Pushpa: The Rise - Part 01 (2021), RRR, KGF - Chapter 2, Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, Karthikeya 2, Ponniyin Selvan – Part 1 and Kantara. The rest of the 40 films which flopped were Puli (2015), VIP-2 Lalkar (2017), Kaala (2018), Vishwaroop II (2018), Petta (2019), Game Over (2019), Maari 2 (2019), Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy (2019), Mamangam (2019), Darbar (2020), Master (2021), Chakra Ka Rakshak (2021), Anu And Arjun (2021), Kurup (2021), Muddy (2021), Djibouti (2021), Khiladi (2022), Valimai, James, ET, Radhe Shyam (2022), Raw (Beast), Major, Vikram Hitlist, 777 Charlie, Kaduva (2022), Vikrant Rona (2022), Dr S The Legend (2022), Ramarao On Duty (2022), Liger (2022), Sita Ramam, GodFather (2022), Ginna Bhai (2022), Banaras (2022), Yashoda, Vijayanand (2022), Big Dhamaka (2022), Laththi (2022), Connect (2022) and Hit: The 2nd Case (2022). Now, add the 15 flops of 2023 and the hit ratio slides considerably. In short, out of 67 films, only 12 dubbed versions have worked.
Trade veteran Taran Adarsh said, “If every film from South is releasing in the Hindi version, you cannot expect the audience to shell out money, unless the actor is very popular, thanks to satellite and YouTube. Moreover, there should be minimal awareness that this film is coming to theatres. Some good films came in from the South but they were released unannounced. Also, the actors of these films have not cultivated a fan base among the North audience over a period of time.”
Taran Adarsh observed that the more languages in which your film is dubbed, the more moolah the producer accumulates by selling the rights in each language. He said, “There has been an overdose, in my opinion. Everyone is jumping onto the Pan-India bandwagon. But then everybody wants to try their luck. If you dub in various languages, you automatically get an advantage with not just satellite but also digital rights. If it works in cinemas, then the sky is the limit.”
He continued, “When you see the Hindi versions of Pushpa: The Rise - Part 01 doing Rs. 100 crores, KGF - Chapter 2 doing Rs. 400 crores and Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion doing Rs. 500 crores, you automatically start looking at the Hindi market. The actors also get tempted as they want to new newer horizons. So they take the plunge, thinking that ‘kya pata. Hamara bhi teer lag jaaye’.”
The popularity of the actors poses a huge challenge even today. Many of them are not that famous in the Hindi-speaking markets. Taran Adarsh stated, “Not all actors are hugely popular. When Pushpa: The Rise - Part 01 came, it grew despite competition from Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) due to Allu Arjun’s popularity. As for Karthikeya 2, Nikhil Siddharth didn’t have a fan base in the North but the film was very strong. That’s how it worked.”
As for all South dubbed flopping this year, Taran Adarsh said, “This is a phase. One Pan-India film will work and there would be 10 more films waiting to have a dubbed release in Hindi.”
He also went down memory lane as he said, “In the 80s, Kamal Haasan’s Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981) and Rajinikanth’s Andha Kanoon (1983) had worked well. It led to the release of a lot of their South films in Hindi. These films had been released down South long back and the idea was to capitalize on the star status of Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. So, this is a trend that producers generally follow to make a quick buck.”
Thankfully, for the South industry, a few films like Prabhas-starrer Adipurush and Salaar and Rajinikanth-starrer Jailer seem promising and can work in Hindi this year. Taran Adarsh said, “Adipurush is actually a Hindi film. It has a South star but it is produced by T-Series and directed by Om Raut. But yes, Salaar looks exciting. The combination of Prashanth Neel and Prabhas is great. Jailer, starring, Rajinikanth can surprise. And if Thalapathy Vijay’s Leo releases this year, then nothing like it.”
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