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Southern films overtake Hindi films at box office: where did Bollywood go wrong?

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The current season in India might be monsoon, but in Bollywood it is raining flops. Ranbir Kapoor’s star Shamshera has become Yash Raj Films’ (YRF) fifth film to fall after a series of flops including Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, Bunty Aur Babli 2, Jayeshbhai Jordaar and SamratPrithviraj. YRF is not alone ; there were other big-banner films like Bachchhan Paandey, Heropanti 2 and Runway 34 that failed to bring audiences back to the big screens. Experts believe that over the past few years, Bollywood has started to lose its luster, with the pandemic only making it worse.

For many years, Hindi films have become urban and elite. In the south, they tell the same stories in a way that an ordinary man can understand and appreciate. We really need to learn from them how not to alienate anyone, says Akshaye Rathi, director of Aashirwad Theatres, a Nagpur-based film exhibition and distribution company.

He insists that Bollywood stars have not marketed well in South Indian markets.

Major studios like Yash Raj Films release their movies like Dhoom, Tiger Zinda Hai, etc. in Tamil and Telugu dubbed versions. More Hindi film studios need to do this with more consistency, he adds. Owner of Bobby Enterprises and Circuit Distributor for Delhi, UP and East Punjab, Sanjay Mehta explains what went wrong.

Hindi movies have lost touch with the masses. They focused more on films that were centered around the subway or the foreign market, since multiplexes made more money. Multiplex ticket prices are much higher than at single-screen cinemas. This is the void filled by regional films, he says.

Mehta hopes upcoming films like Brahmstra, Laal Singh Chaddha, Raksha Bandhan and Pathaan etc. will do well at the box office.

Bollywood now has better programming than Covid times, but Hindi films have yet to roll up their socks and improve. Brahmstra’s special effects can be compared to Baahubali or RRR. The North realized it needed to spend more on quality, he adds.

Another reason why experts think Bollywood is sick is because of the content.

Historically, Bollywood movies have seen decent collections even when content has been low given the high number of superstar fans. That seems to have changed, with content now being the primary driver. Most movies released in the past two or three quarters have been mixed with negative reviews, pointing to weak content as the main contributor to poor performance, according to a recent research report from Emkay Global, which tracks the ‘space.

Bhansali Productions CEO PrernaSingh agrees that content should be king. His latest production, Gangubai Kathiawadi, earned Rs 155.5 crore at the box office, almost half of the Rs 400 crore his latest Hindi film Padmaavat earned, according to Sacnilk.

We would have obtained 3 to 4 times more without the pandemic. The idea of ​​a star has changed. Now the idea is tar. You can’t show someone’s face and expect a hit, she says. Although there have been some recent Bollywood hits, there is a huge gap between collections of Hindi-dubbed versions of South Indian films and Bollywood films, said film trade analyst Komal Nahta.

Bollywood will have to produce 10-12 very good films (and cross the Rs 100 crore revenue mark for mid-budget films, and the Rs 200-300 crore revenue mark for high-budget films) in the seven months remaining of the year, to fill the gap with what the Hindi dubbed versions of South Indian films have collected, he says.

Also Read: How Southern Movies Conquered Bollywood

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