Bollywood Movies

How South Filmmakers Have Used Popular Hindi Movies As A Blueprint

May 26, 20243 Mins Read

Ajit Kumar’s fans get another chance to see their old favourite Billa in theatres. Arvind Suresh Kumar and Dr Gyan Barathi released the 2007 superhit on May 1 in more than 150 screens across Tamil Nadu. According to media reports, this film was made 17 years ago with a budget of Rs 15 crore. This film ran in theatres for 75 days and proved to be a superhit. Billa was directed by Vishnuvardhan. This Billa was a remake of Rajinikanth’s 1980 Billa. Rajinikanth’s film was a remake of 1978 Bollywood blockbuster Don.

Contrary to the popular belief that only Hindi film industry copies the South Indian film industry,  the South has made remakes of Hindi films since long. The 1957 classic Do Aankhen Bara Haath was remade in Tamil as Pallandu Vazagha in 1975 with then superstar MG Ramchandran.

This highlights how Bollywood and South Indian cinema work together creatively. While Bollywood is known for its big musicals and drama, South Indian movies have their own style with intense action and emotional stories. When Bollywood movies get remade in the South, they become a mix of both styles. “The Hindi film industry is the largest. The box office collection of Bollywood equals the combined collections of South India’s Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada industries,” says Atul Mohan, senior trade analyst. “Limited South Indian movies have been released at a pan-India level, but if you look at Bollywood movies, most of them are released at a pan-India level.”

Most often the remakes of Hindi films have modified the look for their audience sensitivities. also, remakes aren’t just about creativity — they also make business sense. By remaking successful Bollywood films, South Indian filmmakers reduce the risk factor and investment.

On January 27, 2024, megastar Amitabh Bachchan, during his address to the students at the Symbiosis Film Festival in Pune, spoke about values in cinema. “Regional cinema has been doing very well. But when we talk to them, they say they are making the same kind of films that we do in Hindi. They just change the dressing so that they look beautiful. A lot of the people I’ve met said, ‘We are remaking your old films, there’s Deewar, Shakti and Sholay somewhere in all our stories.’ Malayalam and some of the Tamil cinema is authentic and aesthetic,” the octogenarian had said.

This reiterates the point that finally, it is not the language, but the story that captivates the audience cutting across all other barriers. “Both industries are doing their best in their respective areas. I would say social media has played a major role in this, as nowadays viewers can easily learn about new remakes,” says Atul. “And, not every movie is being remade; only a few are.”

This said, it is interesting to note that despite the current popular trend of South films being adapted into Hindi, the Southern makers watch Hindi films with a hawk eye, eager to pick up a good subject.

List of popular Bollywood movies remade in south Indian film industry

Hindi original: Don (1978)
Tamil remake: Billa (1980)

Hindi original: Deewaar (1975)
Tamil remake: Thee (1981)

Hindi original: Munna Bhai MBBS (2003)
Tamil remake: Vasool Raja MBBS (2004)

Hindi original: Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006)
Tamil remake: Shankar Dada Zindabad (2007)

Hindi original: Jab We Met (2007)
Tamil remake: Kanden Kadhalai (2009)

Hindi original: A Wednesday (2008)
Tamil remake: Unnaipol Oruvan (2009)

Hindi original: 3 Idiots (2009)
Tamil remake: Nanban (2012)

Hindi original: Band Baaja Baaraat (2010)
Tamil remake: Aha Kalyanam (2014)

Hindi original: Delhi Belly (2011)
Tamil remake: Settai (2013)

Hindi original: Bol Bachchan (2012)
Telugu remake: Masala (2013)

Hindi original: Pink (2016)
Tamil remake: Nerkonda Paarvai (2019)

Hindi original: Andhadhun (2018)
Telugu remake: Maestro (2021)

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