Atlee yet again proved his directorial prowess with the Jawan, which has become the first Indian film to gross Rs 129 crore worldwide on Day 1. (Image: DC)
Ever since the term ‘Pan-India’ came into prominence, South filmmakers have left nothing to chance to create an impact at the box office countrywide. Riveting background score, hero elevation scenes, mass songs and dances, fights, and of course engrossing narrations — these are the aces that the region’s cinema holds while churning out mass action entertainers.
After Rajamouli initiated the North-South marriage move, filmmakers like Prashanth Neel (KGF and Salaar), Sandeep Vanga (Kabir Singh and Animal) and now Atlee with Jawan have successfully unleashed their directorial finesse. These south storytellers seem to have perfected the art of making commercially viable masala films with the right mix of drama and emotions. They are creating a nationwide buzz.
Atlee’s juggernaut continues
In his 10-year-old career as a director, Atlee has had hardly any failure. His debut Raja Rani (2013), a romantic comedy starring Arya and Nayanthara, was a runaway hit. The director attracted a lot of attention, and received a lot of praise, and anticipation was created for his future films. Next came Theri (2016), starring Thalapathy Vijay and Samantha. The film was one of the highest grossers in Tamil cinema and placed Atlee among the sought-after directors in Kollywood.
During the making of Theri, Atlee narrated another script (Mersal) to Vijay and the actor gave it the green signal. It turned out to be one of the biggest grossing films in Vijay’s career, and the fifth most profitable Tamil film.
Atlee’s juggernaut continued when he teamed up with Vijay for the third time for Bigil, which smashed several box office records.
Atlee has yet again proved his directorial prowess with the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Jawan. The action entertainer released on Friday has become the first film in Indian history to gross Rs 129 crore worldwide on Day 1.
"Atlee is an expert when it comes to packaging. His films have action, romance, elevation scenes, songs, etc. And when he makes such a film with someone like SRK, the result is Jawan," comments Ramesh Bala, a trade analyst and film critic, adding that Jawan caters to all sections of the audience.
Rajamouli’s enviable track record
Imagine two of country’s biggest superstars — Ram Charan and Jr NTR — agreeing to do a film without even listening to the script! That’s Rajamouli for you! And the film in question was of course RRR. It would not be an understatement to say that the director put Telugu cinema on the global map. His track record is enviable. Not only were all his 12 films in the two decades of his journey blockbusters, but with each film he has raised the bar of his craft.
However, not many foresaw his ability when he began his career with Student No. 1 (2001), a super-hit at the box office. His subsequent films Simadri, (2003), Sye (2004) and Chatrapathi (2005) catapulted him into the star filmmaker bracket. His directorial brilliance continued with Vikramarkudu (2006) and Yamadonga (2007). Magadheera (2009) became the highest grosser in Telugu cinema. With Maryada Ramanna (2010) and Eega (2012) Rajamouli proved that the story and the characters are his protagonists.
At a time when Internet and social media started booming, and markets were expanding, Rajamouli’s Baahubali series, a period drama, had the entire country looking at him in awe! The films turned out to be one of the highest earners in Indian cinema, thanks to his marketing and business collaborations. Often held to be the beginning of the ‘Pan-India’ era of films, it set a trend that many are now following. RRR (2022) smashed many records. By then, Rajamouli had arguably become the country’s best director. His film won the Golden Globe award, and subsequently an Oscar (for the Naatu Naatu), Rajamouli has emerged as a global phenomenon.
Prashanth arrives in style
Many wonder how a man of few words like Prashanth Neel can make mass entertainers. His directorial debut Ugram (2014) became a super-hit in Kannada but it was with his second film, KGF-Chapter 1, that the filmmaker announced his arrival in style in 2018. The action entertainer, starring Yash, marked Prashanth as a director to watch. However, he claims that he made KGF-Chapter 1 "by accident and not by design."
"Atlee is an expert when it comes to packaging. His films have action, romance, elevation scenes, songs, etc. And when he makes such a film with someone like SRK, the result is Jawan. The film caters to all sections of the audience." — Ramesh Bala, Entertainment industry tracker