Director Teja’s recently released film Sita was denounced as a big flop by trade pundits and critics alike, as was the case with Allu Sirish-starrer ABCD, which the actor himself found disappointing. However, what’s surprising is that although these films didn’t do well at the box-office, their makers claim to have made profits.
Turns out that these films have been salvaged, thanks to the Hindi dubbing rights that are being sold for a high price. In fact, this has come as a lifeline for many South Indian filmmakers, who are selling dubbing rights of their films to people, who in turn, sell them to Hindi movie channels for telecast.
“There are three big players who are buying the remake rights. My film was bought by Manish of Goldmine Telefilms for a good amount. They take the rights, dub the film into Hindi and sell it to the television/YouTube channel. They make their money largely through advertisements,” says Madhura Sridhar, the producer of ABCD.
Interestingly, almost all South Indian films are in big demand across India. Denying that his film is a flop, director Teja says, “If you make a film within a budget, you can definitely stay in the safe zone. People say that my film is a flop, but we have made profits. We sold the Hindi rights for nearly `12 crore and got a good amount for Amazon and Telugu satellite channel telecast as well. Since my film was made with a budget of `15 crore, I have made my profit.” All this apart, the film’s theatrical rights were sold prior to release for Rs 12 crore. So the director’s explanation seems quite plausible.
YouTube has also become the hot new destination for thousands of South Indian movies, each of which get millions of views. “After Allu Arjun, my film is the most viewed one in YouTube as there is a big demand for films dubbed in Hindi,” says Bellamkonda Sai Sreenivas, whose Jaya Janaki Rama was viewed by nearly 114 million people on YouTube.
While a film can be technically telecast or uploaded on YouTube only three months after the theatrical release, that rule can be waived off if the producer gives his permission.
Also, while Hindi is the most preferred language, South Indian films are dubbed into other languages like Bhojpuri and Bengali too. “Generally, people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar like action films which is why they like these South Indian films so much. Sometimes, our filmmakers even add a few action episodes for the sake of the North Indian audience,” explains Madhura Sridhar. “Today, the Telugu film industry is surviving because of these Hindi dubbing rights. There are many action heroes who are alive thanks to these dubbed films, which can be termed the ‘saviour’ of the industry. Even the so-called flop heroes are getting projects because of these Hindi dubbing rights,” says noted producer Suresh Babu, who recently made small film O Baby that is yet to release.
But he’s not taking any chances and has already sold the Hindi dubbing rights for Rs 2.75 crore, which is a very big amount for that film. “That’s how we get out of trouble, otherwise it could end up being a big problem,” he says....