Darbar, RRR, Saaho, Indian 2, Thalapathy 63: Why South producers are investing heavily in Bollywood actors
After locking horns with Nana Patekar in Kaala, Akshay Kumar in 2.0 and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Petta, Rajinikanth will now be pitted against Prateik Babbar in Darbar.
A few years ago, filmmakers from South India preferred casting lesser known Hindi actors as the antagonists so that their films look fresh and audiences also get to see a new baddie. But the trend quickly vanished as most of these actors could not perform well at par with veteran villains like Prakash Raj and Raghuvaran. Now, the trend of roping in Bollywood actors to play antagonists has restarted for multiple reasons.
The massive numbers generated by 2.0 in Hindi made filmmakers in South understand the need of known Bollywood actors in their films. The presence of known Bollywood actors in any South film would do good business in the North. 2.0 collected more than Rs 186 crore in North India mainly because of the presence of Akshay Kumar.
Following Shankar, Baahubali director SS Rajamouli signed Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn in his upcoming film RRR. Though Rajamouli says that the script demanded Hindi-speaking actors, he only preferred big names to boost the market value of the film in the North. Rajamouli also smartly roped in Tamil actor Samuthirkani to market RRR in Kollywood so all boxes were checked for the film.
Shankar is also trying to rope in a Bollywood actor for Indian 2 and he is said to have approached Ajay Devgn but the actor is yet to give his nod. Although Kannada biggie KGF: Chapter One was a huge hit in Bollywood without any big Hindi actors, the sequel will have a solid performer from Hindi. Sources close to the team say that the makers approached Sanjay Dutt to play a pivotal role in KGF: Chapter 2.
After locking horns with Nana Patekar in Kaala, Akshay Kumar in 2.0, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Petta, in his upcoming film Darbar, Rajinikanth will be pitted against Prateik Babbar of Baaghi 2-fame. Darbar director AR Murugadoss wants Babbar to beef up for his character in the film.
Jackie Shroff is another actor who is now in demand in South. He will be seen playing crucial roles in biggies like Prabhas-starrer Saaho and actor Vijay’s magnum opus sports drama with Atlee. Small budget films are also approaching Shroff so that they can sell the Hindi dubbing rights for a good price. Saaho also has Shraddha Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Mandira Bedi to gain more traction in Bollywood.
Amitabh Bachchan plays Gosayi Venkanna, the advisor of Chiranjeevi in the actor's period action entertainer Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy. Amitabh also plays a pivotal role in SJ Suryah's Tamil-Hindi bilingual Uyarntha Manithan and the Hindi version has been titled Tera Yaar Hoon Main.
“Hindi satellite rights is the biggest advantage for all the South biggies. Nowadays South producers are making films aiming at the Hindi dubbing rights. If Tamil or Telugu films have known Bollywood faces, buyers in the North offer a fancy price while procuring the satellite rights. If the film has the potential to have a theatrical release in Bollywood, familiar Hindi actors will play key roles in boosting the business," explains a trade source.
For example, films like Thalapathy 63 will not get a theatrical release in Hindi but buyers are ready to snap the dubbing rights so that they can sell it to the Hindi satellite channels and digital platforms. But on the other hand, films like RRR, Indian 2, Saaho, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, KGF: Chapter 2, Uyarntha Manithan and Darbar will also have a theatrical release in Bollywood so besides the core South market, the producers have the advantage of releasing their film in the lucrative Hindi market.
Today, producers in South are ready to allocate mammoth budgets for films featuring big stars mainly because of the extra bonus they get through the digital and satellite rights of the Hindi dubbed version. So they do not mind spending on the remuneration of well-known Hindi actors.
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