After a long time, the southern box-office is on fire. The bilingual Oopiri in Telugu and Thozha in Tamil produced by PVP Cinemas is turning out to be a runaway super hit. As per trade reports, the bilingual has made approximately Rs 27 crore in the opening week from its Telugu version in Andhra, Telangana and Karnataka, and its Tamil version from Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In the overseas market, Oopiri has made over $1 million in the US, which is as good as a big Bollywood film opening.
The film starring Nagarjuna, Karthi, Tamannaah and Prakash Raj is helmed by Telugu director Vamsi Paidipally and is an official remake of the French blockbuster, The Intouchables. The Indian remake rights of the French feelgood entertainer have been purchased by Karan Johar and Guneet Monga, who allowed PVP Cinemas to make the film in regional languages, while they will be doing a Hindi version later this year.
The feelgood nature of the bilingual seems to have brought in the family audiences and worked wonders at the box-office. Normally, remakes are not able to transfer the spirit of the original. But Oopiri and Thozha were able to retain the flavour of the original and at the same time, the nativity factor worked to the advantage of the film. And the terrific onscreen male bonding between Nagarjuna and Karthi made the buddy movie tick. Karthi, Tamil superstar Suriya’s younger brother, held the film together.
Sangeeta Devi, The Hindu reviewer writes : “For a story like this, the casting needs to be spot on. Oopiri has the age-defying, graceful and restrained Nagarjuna, and the terrific Karthi. The film’s best portions unfold between these two characters and you wonder if their lives will be the same without each other.”
Last Saturday, a thanksgiving meet for the success of Oopiri and Thozha was held in Chennai. At the press meet, Nagarjuna said: “I've been in the industry for 30 years and there were times, when I lost interest but the success of this bilingual renewed my energy levels, and I'm sure that my next film will as good as this one”.
Karthi who along with director Vamsi was present at the success meet said: “I’m getting as good, if not better, appreciation for Oopiri and Thozha than my critically acclaimed debut film Paruthiveeran. It was a self realisation for me to understand the values of life. We all are working hard to meet our financial needs and completely missing the beauty of life. I've felt bad for not spending time with my daughter as she would have fallen asleep whenever I return home”.
Oopiri also broke the industry theory that a foreign language films adaptation in regional language will not work. The success of the film both in Telugu and Tamil can be attributed to director Vamsi’s insistence on having a different cast of actors in both languages in supporting roles. This helped the bilingual as audiences in Tamil did not feel it was a dubbed version, with the director even having different editors for the Telugu and Tamil versions.
Meanwhile, Oopiri and Thozha are all set to become the first summer hit in their respective languages.