South Indian film-makers aim big (Hollywood style) productions, Bollywood happy with content-driven films

Baahubali’s smashing global success has inspired producers and filmmakers in India to think big (its the South Indian filmmakers who have actually become more ambitious, whereas Bollywood seems to be unsure how to make something really big).

Filmmakers now know that regional movies can break language and cultural barriers to become a ‘national’ film. They have become more confident in their ability to match Hollywood’s level of production value.

And they’re ready to spend big money on films, under the right circumstances.

For the two movies, Baahubali filmmakers spent close to ₹430 crore (or $67 million), but the stars paid themselves modest modest salaries, and were ready to take their share from the profits, if the film did well.

Here are a couple of more movies that have huge production budgets.

  • First one is 2.0 that stars Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar (superstars from two different industries), its budget is around ₹400 crore ($60 million).
  • Another one is Randamoozham (inspired by the Mahabharata), starring Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, and it has a budget of a staggering ₹1,000 crore ($154 million).

Now that’s a huge amount of money. But as mentioned, its the South Indian films that are taking the lead here.

Vivegam Official Tamil Trailer (Ajith Kumar), and it looks cool (high production value)

Bollywood vs Indian Cinema: ‘Baahubali’ serves as a wakeup call to Bollywood Filmmakers

AR Rahman, Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan, Shankar, Mani Ratnam, Prabhu Deva, and now Rajamouli. With Baahubali shattering records at various box offices in India, Rajamouli’s latest movie has also exposed the inability of Bollywood to think big and original. Not only did ‘Baahubali’ set the Box Office on fire, its sheer scale probably demolished several inflated egos in Bollywood.

South Indian fans, who for long believed that Bollywood was churning out mediocre stuff, are using words like ‘Learn from South’, ‘Wake up’, ‘Over paid’, ‘Hyped up’ for Bollywood masala movies. Karan Johar is among the first Bollywood directors to admit that Rajamouli is the “BAAP” of all directors in India (he really said this).

Until now, regional films (non-Bollywood films) typically earned most of their revenues in their home regions/states, but the movie Baahubali has proven that the next all-India blockbuster may not be from Bollywood, and could be very well from South India (Shankar’s Enthiran/Robot was the last biggest non-bollywood blockbuster in India). Bollywood biggies have showered praise on Rajamouli’s Baahubali, but are aware that its time to tighten their belts.

Whether Baahubali will serve as a wake-up call for the likes of SRK, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar in Bollywood (who seem to be happy doing the likes of Bajrangi, Dilwale, India wale, etc.) remains to be seen.

Bollywood Basics: Know more about the hindi film industry based in Mumbai, the financial capital of India, and how does it differ from Indian cinema Many outside India feel that Bollywood represent Indian cinema and its bigger than most regional films. There’s no doubt that commercially most Bollywood films are successes and they are good at marketing their films, but when it comes to talent, films & talents from the south are no less (in fact they’re better).

Hindi vs Tamil / Telugu Cinema

For a long time, people believed that Bollywood (Hindi-language, Mumbai-based film industry) is India’s national cinema. However, that’s not the case now (even though most foreigners still think the same).

Bollywood only makes 18-20% of the total number of films (close to a couple of thousand movies) that is produced annually in India. The rest of the movies are produced by the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi and Gujarati film industries.

So is Bollywood better & bigger than Tollywood (Telugu) or Kollywood (Tamil)?

While exceptions exist everywhere, When it comes to masala movies, all the film industries in India produce them, and they area ll idiotic at different scales.

Right now, Bollywood has a pan India (as well as international) appeal, which the other industries are lacking. Tamil & Telugu are still regional/domestic players. While Bollywood may not be the biggest grosser Indian cinema, it still has the maximum visibility of all the film industries in India.

Those who’re not well-versed with the various film industries in India, read on…

What Is Bollywood?

Bollywood is the name given to the Hindi (India’s official language) film industry, located in Mumbai, which is also referred to as the financial capital of India.

There are many who also refer to Bollywood as the Indian film industry, which really is not true (as debated further).

Why its called ‘Bollywood’, and not something else?
I guess, because the people in the industry were lazy and didn’t give much thought to it. They just coined a name that rhymed with the word ‘Hollywood’ and replaced the initial letter with ‘B’ to indicate Bombay, which is now known Mumbai.

In a lighter vein, a couple of decades ago, the ‘B’ could have even stood for Mr ‘Bachchan’, one of the biggest stars that this film industry has seen.

Mumbai, the City of Dreams, is where the Hindi Film Industry, better known as Bollywood all over the world, is located. Acclaimed as one of the biggest film industries of the world, Bollywood produces more than thousand films every year.

Most of the films that are produced are shot at Film-city.

History of Indian Films & Interesting Facts About Bollywood

Beginning 1913, Indian Cinema has come a long way from producing simple silent movies to sound films, then colored films to technically advanced movies of the present day. Read more on the history here.

Though Bollywood’ history dates back more than 100 years, its only in the last decade or so, that the world has started taking a note of Bollywood. Today, its appeal spans across countries and movies are released in several foreign countries.

Here are some more interesting facts about Bollywood – the hindi film industry in Mumbai (Bombay):

  • Among the largest film industries in the world; Produces more than 1000 films every year
  • US is the biggest foreign film-market for our films (followed by Mainland China)
  • Watching movies is one of the biggest sources of entertainment for Indians
  • ‘Raja Harishchandra’ was the first silent feature film (1913) of India
  • ‘Alam Ara’ was the first Indian sound film released in 1931.
  • ‘Noorjahan’ was the first Indian film to be made in English (1931)
  • ‘Kisan Kanya’ was the first colored movie made (1937) in India.
  • ‘Kagaz ke Phool’ was the first cinemascope film (1959) of Bollywood.
  • ‘Around the World’ was the first 70 MM film (1967) to be released in India (‘Sholay’ was second, though many incorrectly say that).
  • ‘Chota Chetan’ was the first Indian 3D Movie released in 1984 (‘Shiva ka Insaaf’ was released in 1985)

And which is the biggest Bollywood award function? Well, that’s one not very straight; we don’t have anything like the Oscars yet! Every year, almost every Bollywood movie will be celebrated/awarded in at least 6 award functions (or maybe more).

Bollywood Doesn’t Represent the Indian Film Industry
Bollywood is just one part of the Indian Film Industry, which includes other regional (language) film industries as well. The Tamil film industry, based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, is equally big; some of the biggest names in the entertainment world such as A.R Rahman, Shankar, made their debut in Tamil films.

These two are the bigger film industries in India (even the Telugu film industry is quite big actually), though many more regional film industries exists, and are doing quite well.

Several Kannada, Malayalam, Bhojpuri, Bengali, Marathi & Gujrati films also get produced every year, albeit on a lower scale/budget (they all are entertaining though).

There are many who agree that the Indian film industry is much more than just Bollywood (Hindi Films), as the regional film industry is also quite strong in India.

Actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan have always expressed their displeasure over the use of the term “Bollywood”, as they feel that anything that rhymes with the term “Hollywood” is perhaps not a good term to be used to represent the Indian Film Industry.

Why Some Don’t Like the Word ‘Bollywood’?

Indian film industry is growing by leaps and bounds, in fact so much that even the big Hollywood production houses are setting up shop here. Our stars are becoming popular in other countries as well, as Bollywood movies continues to have a good run in several countries outside India.

Aspirations of superstars, film-makers are at an all time high and with the western media taking interest in our film industry, many feel that its probably time to get away with the term “Bollywood”.

Bollywood, whats in a Name

Here’s what the “Big B” had to say, at The Great Gatsby press conference at the Cannes film festival, “I just feel that the Indian film industry has its own identity and to be referred to in matching terms with Hollywood is perhaps not correct”.

The Indian audience, however, really doesn’t care what terms you use for the various film industries in India! Irrespective of the name, they will continue to throng to the cinemas to watch movies, as its one of the popular pastimes in our country. There are many who watch both English as well as regional films, and have never taken the “Bollywood vs Hollywood” name thing seriously.

So why are some getting bothered by this “Hollywood vs Bollywood” name debate?

I guess its’ because, when our film-makers go to international film festivals or talk to the foreign media, they really are not comfortable with the fact that they belong to an Industry that sounds like a copycat version of Hollywood.

Maybe our stars are over-reacting?

Probably, even the western media doesn’t care about the name. Remember most Hollywood studios are already setting up shop here in India.

Bollywood vs Indian Cinema

There are other strong Regional Film Industries as well
I think this is the part where the Bollywood stars & filmmakers are missing the point!

First, just as Hollywood is better at marketing (compared to Bollywood), even the regional film industries (not the ones from South India) need to pull up their socks and put in more image-building efforts.

Secondly, many of them (those associated with Hind Films) assume that Bollywood is bigger than the film-Industry from south, which probably is not true at all…!

  • May be Rajnikanth has a different take on this…
  • May be Shankar (“Robot” fame) has a different opinion…
  • May be AR Rahman (who’s an international star now) doesn’t care about it at all…
  • Rajamouli is already very close to making a Hollywood style film, based right in India
  • And I’m sure you know that they are all from South, and not from Bollywood.

  • They get paid a lot more than their Bollywood counterparts.
  • They are considered the most talented people in India.
  • Their popularity is as big (if not more) as the biggies from Bollywood.
  • Even if you ignore the commercial aspects, its a known fact that when it comes to winning awards at the national level, regional cinema have always been the winner.

    How did the SOUTH Celebrate the Centenary?
    Of course, they didn’t pair up with Bollywood on this!

    In fact, the four south Indian film industries — Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, celebrated it together at Chennai, where some of the highlights were the journey of South-Indian cinema and its contribution to Indian cinema in general. I’m sure they will have a different opinion on this whole “Bollywood” name thing.


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