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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bollywood banks on south indian showbiz

It's only fitting that 2011 should see a song from the Tamil film factory ending up as the pop anthem of the year. If Dhanush's Kolaveri Di has broken all records on the Internet, the trend only defines showbiz fads of our times. Popular culture in India, particularly Bollywood, is increasingly banking on south Indian showbiz for inspiration when it comes to raking in big moolah.

Take a stock of Bollywood's 2011 box-office roster, and you know what we mean. The year's three biggest hits so far - Bodyguard , Ready and Singham - are all remakes of south Indian blockbusters.

Interestingly, the only film that looks like a close contender for top honours this year is The Dirty Picture. Though the Vidya Balan-starrer is an original film, its script is based on the story of Tamil sex bomb Silk Smitha and set amid the backdrop of the south Indian film industry.

Look closely, and you realise the fad of remaking south Indian hits has also directly affected the Bollywood rat race. If Salman Khan is at the forefront of buying the rights of southern hits and then Bollywoodising them to north Indian taste, he is also Hindi cinema's most popular hero right now, having recorded the top two hits of the year.

Salman's Bodyguard, which opened on Eid and went onto create a new opening day and first-week record in Bollywood, is the remake of a Malayalam hit by the same name.

The Rs 60-crore film netted Rs 102.86 crore in its first week - an all-time record - and went on to gross Rs 229 crore worldwide. The film has turned out to be Bollywood's second-highest grosser of all time after 3 Idiots.

Salman's other release this year is Ready, incidentally, the second highest Bollywood grosser of 2011. The film, which cost Rs 40 crore, is a remake of Telugu blockbuster of the same name. Ready is 2011' s second highest opening-day grosser and has grossed Rs 179 crore worldwide.

Salman's super success is almost matched by Ajay Devgn's 2011 biggie Singham, a remake of the 2010 Tamil blockbuster, Singam , dubbed in Telugu as Yamudu. The Rs 20-crore Singham has grossed over Rs 150 crore worldwide and re- affirmed Ajay's status among Bollywood's most saleable stars.

That apart, John Abraham managed to garner an elusive hit with Force this year. The action thriller was a remake of a Tamil hit, Kaakha Kaakha, released in 2003.

"These films have good subjects and great potential. Only a few people down south have seen these films so we can take them to a larger audience by making them in Hindi," Salman summarised the trend recently.

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