South Bollywood remakes that failed to hit the mark

South Indian remakes continue to attract audiences as they return to theaters to watch expensive Bollywood movies. Films with a lot of content but also a lot of general appeal, like Manichitrathazhu (1993) in Malayalam which was remade in Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007), and Singam (2010) in Tamil which was remade in Singham (2011), have long served as models for successful Bollywood remakes of South Indian films. Following franchise hits like these that gained much needed fame, film critics continue to advocate remakes of popular South Indian films featuring Bollywood superstars. The fundamental appeal of a successful South Indian film is a strong and beloved narrative, as well as the star power of the protagonists. Bollywood tried to emulate this look and adapt the plot of these films in a bid to gain popularity across India. With some successes and failures, the method seems to have been effective so far.

These popular regional films have high recall value, which Bollywood producers like to capitalize on, but there also seems to be a shift in viewer expectations. It has been noted that instead of the tried and true remake formula, the mainstream today prefers something new and intriguing. All things considered, however, several Bollywood remakes like Wanted, Hera Pheri and Singham have been among the biggest hits of immensely powerful artists like Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn, and these are still avidly watched on OTT.

Pushpa: The Rise, starring Allu Arjun, premiered theatrically in December 2021 and quickly became a huge hit in Hindi markets around the world. The North Belt was soon rocked by a deluge of Hindi remakes of Southern films. With the exception of Drishyam 2, many remakes have failed to live up to the success of the original southern films. Several producers in the Hindi film industry have acquired the rights to popular films produced in the Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam film industries over the years.


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