When did Salman Khan truly become Bollywood’s bhaijaan? It wasn’t Ek Tha Tiger or Dabangg, to be sure. It was a Wanted item. Mahesh Babu was pushed to super-stardom with his 2009 release, a remake of the Telugu film Pokiri (2006), which starred him. For a long time, the majority of Bollywood’s masaledaar offerings were either straight remakes or adaptations of South films. Think of Rohit Shetty and his car-flying business to get a sense of what we’re talking about. Why? Because South cinema has a zing that Bollywood wished to emulate but lacked the skills to do so. But that’s all changed now. South cinema is no longer a distant second to Bollywood. It has arrived to take its rightful place on the throne.

‘Imitation is the finest form of flattery,’ we’ve heard since the time of William Shakespeare. So that’s the path we’ve taken for decades. Vikramarkudu (2006) was remade as Rowdy Rathore (2012) by Akshay Kumar, Ram’s Ready (2008) was remade as Ready (2011) by Salman Khan, and Vijay Deverakonda’s Arjun Reddy was remade as Kabir Singh by Shahid Kapoor (2019). However, OTT has now made its way into our living rooms. As a result, we may watch a KGF Chapter 1 right now, while you’re reading this article. Suddenly, the term’remakes’ had lost its meaning.

Outside of southern India, there has always been a market for South cinema. Many of us grew up watching ‘Madras Cut’ movies on Set Max in our living rooms on Sundays. Of course, it’s dubbed in Hindi. Taking advantage of this market, filmmakers in the South have opted to release their films in many languages at the same time.

Will Bollywood be surpassed by South cinema? Akshaye Rathi agrees and disagrees, referring to a new period of “Indian film” as opposed to Bollywood or regional cinema. “The majority of the audience prefers paisa wasool entertainment. They ask a lot of people to bring them to the movies since they have so much option at home owing to OTT. From the Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, and Bhojpuri film industries to the Indian film industry. So, although we expect to see more films like Pushpa succeed at the box office on a national level, we also hope that films like 83 and Brahmastra succeed in the South “he continues.

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