South films getting a simultaneous release in Hindi isn’t a very new phenomenon. And now, taking a cue from them, Hindi films are being announced and released in south languages. Last year, Ranveer Singh starrer 83 released in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, alongside Hindi. Recently, Gangubai Kathiawadi headlined by actor Alia Bhatt had a bilingual release in Hindi and Telugu. Other examples that are set to follow suit are Brahmastra, Tiger 3, Pathaan and Dhaakad.
Jayantilal Gada, who produced and distributed Gangubai Kathiawadi, believes that this trend is a good way to penetrate the southern region, a market not too acquainted with Hindi films. “There are some pockets in south that aren’t very keen on accepting films made in other languages or the stars that feature in them. We’ve good directors in Bollywood and its’s time we take our films beyond the northern belt,” he opines.
According to Deepak Mukut, producer of Kangana Ranaut starrer spy thriller Dhaakad, the success of south-origin multilingual releases have encouraged Hindi filmmakers to follow a similar path “to increase the reach of their projects”. He adds, “I’ve always viewed films made in our country as Indian films and today, a lot of people resonate with that sentiment. When [language] lines blur, it increases the opportunities for collaborations and nudges filmmakers towards greater creativity.”
83 producer Vishnu Vardhan Induri points out that not all films getting a multilingual release are likely to do well. “If the content of a film appeals to the nationwide audience and the only barrier is language, then it makes sense for a Hindi film to have a multilingual release. Look at Hollywood films releasing in India! They earn more from the Hindi and regional languages than English,” he elaborates.
Trade analyst Ramesh Bala feels that “visually spectacular films” dubbed in south languages will open up “a new revenue stream” and make for “a theatrical jackpot”. “If you want a Hindi film to travel beyond metro cities in south India, you’ve to do so through local languages. Plus, the last two years of the pandemic has made OTT omnipresent because of which the audience’s awareness about films not made in their mother tongues has increased. It’s great that south is going to north and north is coming to south today,” he ends.