The South Remake Wave in Bollywood – Why Don’t North Indians Watch South Films?

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I’m sure I don’t need to point out the trend in recent years to remake hit South films in Bollywood. Guess how many South remakes Salman has done in the last five years? As of Kick, it’s five: Wanted, Ready, Bodyguard, Jai Ho and Kick.

The latest Akshay Kumar release, Holiday, which is apparently having a good run at the box office, is a South remake as well. It’s the remake of the Tamil film Thuppakki starring Vijay. Ajay Devgan remade the Tamil film Singham and to-be-released Singham 2 as well, the originals starred Suriya. The fantastic Malayalam film Drishyam starring Mohanlal is remade into Hindi as well.

Other recent South remakes include Rowdy Rathore, Ramaiya Vastavaiya, Ek Deewana Tha, Heropanti and Pizza (to-be-released). Prabhu Deva is said to have plans to remake Dookudu as well in the near future.

Now as someone who watches both Bollywood films and South films, I can’t say I’m too happy about this remake trend. I have absolutely no interest in watching the same film a second time with a new cast and language. I do watch some of them, for the purposes of this blog, to compare the remake to the original. But almost always (Heropanti being the exception so far), it’s a gruesome and terribly boring effort for me.

The strange part is that these South remakes do very well at the box office. And every time a new such film is released and labeled a hit, I sit here wondering “do North Indians not watch South films at all?” The answer is obvious: mostly no. Because if North Indians watched South films, these remakes wouldn’t be made at all. But why?

I’ve been watching films not in my native language for years.  I understand Hindi but I still don’t understand Telugu or Tamil or Malayalam. But I still watch films in these languages for the simple reason that they’re good and entertaining. I don’t think boundaries like language apply to cinema. And the fact that North Indians go and watch these remakes and make them hits shows that North Indians like the same type of scripts that South Indians like. These remakes are usually scene by scene copies of the original.

I’m not sure how long this South remake wave will continue for but I don’t think it’s going to die any time soon. Actually, remaking films from the South is not a new thing for Bollywood. It has been done for many decades. The same goes for the South film industries where many Hindi hits are remade. Telugu and Tamil industries often remake each others’ films as well. But still, more South remakes are made in Bollywood than Bollywood remakes in the South. Also, the frequency of South remakes in Bollywood have definitely increased compared to previous decades.

Check out my page Guide To Remakes to find out which films were remade in which industries.


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