The spectacular success of the war epic Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, a Tamil-Telugu bilingual dubbed in Hindi, took regional cinema to new heights in 2017. Online ticketing platform BookMyShow reported average occupancy of 45-46% for regional films last year, compared to around 39-40% in 2016. Within the regional space, Marathi films registered a 44% increase over 2016 with regards to ticketing on the site, followed by Malayalam movies that registered a 38% rise. Filmmakers have realized that although Bollywood cinema has become the face of Indian entertainment, it is also important to present a different culture of films, because of the rise in the need across diaspora of festivals to create an awareness of the varied opinions around. The kind of content that is promoted and celebrated in these festivals that can give India a wider reach and recognition is only available in regional cinema. These opinions itself form the crux of the way the society progresses.
Thus, according to me, here are two reasons for regional cinema thriving over Bollywood:
Firstly, in regional cinema, you can tell stories from your heart. It doesn’t believe in the concept of big economics that pertain to the “100 crores club”. We have a star system and no matter what you say, we cannot escape that. You are not bound by a formula or the need for a star in a regional film. So the investment is less. It enables you to tell the story that you feel for passionately.
Secondly, what has always worked for South and Hindi films—the youth connect. In the South, it was cool for a young couple to watch a South Indian film on a date. Till today, the Maharashtrian youth was not kicked about watching films made in their mother tongue.But, with different types of contents being made, they are embracing the quality stuff being offered to them. The subject is the actual hero. With a new breed of filmmakers coming in, they are exploring newer ideas and providing something of substance. It isn’t just the youth in the country, but the youth all around the world feel a sense of connect when they watch films in their own language.
With the stepping in of big names such as Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar, Shreyas Talpade and Ritesh Deshmukh, has just given these films a boost in the credibility (economics) sector. Their authenticity and their message remains intact. The people have matured and once they know that great content is the ultimate winner, they will then come to the theatres. For regional films, numbers pick up gradually, but just like the inestimable things we do from the heart – such as falling in love, raising a child, investing in your first holiday, presenting your mom roses on mother’s day or watching your sibling imitate you – making films also is an inestimable thing for regional cinema. It isn’t for anybody’s mercenary, its to be reveled or celebrated like a much wanted child.