While there is nothing new in Bollywood churning out Telugu remakes, interestingly, several Telugu films — Hit, Mathu Vadalara, Jersey, Brochevarevarura, Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo and F2, RX100 among others — are being remade in Hindi, in quick succession. Interestingly, Telugu filmmakers are bankrolling these Hindi projects!
Earlier Aadi Seshagiri Rao (Padmalaya Studios), Rama Naidu, Atluti Poornachander Rao and Allu Aravind were some who made films in Hindi. Although they had their share of failures, they tasted success too.
And now, producers like Dil Raju, Suryadevara Naga Vamsi, Cherry, Puri Jagannadh, etc., seem to have revived the Telugu filmmakers’ foray into Bollywood. Can they succeed?
Producers are now mere cashiers
While making a film in Bollywood is itself a different ball game, what does it take for a film to succeed at the Hindi box office?
Producer Ghattamaneni Aadi Seshagiri Rao, who made around 20 Hindi films, including the blockbuster Himmatwala, says he was successful because of meticulous planning and discipline.
Commenting that many Telugu filmmakers lack knowledge of budget and shooting schedules, he shares, “Back then, producers used to call the shots; they had complete command over script, budgets, distribution and promotions. But now, producers have become mere cashiers, and most of them have become proposal-makers.
But if they are making films in Hindi, I urge them to get the hang of filmmaking and marketing.”
Distribution, a major challenge
A filmmaker’s success in one industry doesn’t guarantee him success elsewhere. While the fact remains that every industry has its own challenges, logistics are critical in any region.
Producer Cherry, who is remaking his hit Telugu film Mathu Vadalara (in association with Mythri Movies) in Hindi, admits that it is because he doesn’t have the required distribution clout that he is producing the film as a joint venture with a Hindi producer. “A South filmmaker cannot directly produce a film in Hindi; he needs to have distribution support there to take the film to all corners. Hence, he needs to enter into a joint venture with an existing player in Mumbai,” Cherry believes.
No player in Hindi will be interested in distributing an unknown South player’s film, he feels.
What’s in it for distributors?
Entering uncharted territory (Hindi market) may expose the filmmakers’ vulnerabilities, whilst removing the advantage of reaching out to a wider audience (distribution).
From Baahubali, Sahoo and Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy (which released in Hindi) to Fighter, F2 — Fun and Frustration, Hit, etc., all films have tied up with renowned producers-distributors like T-Series, Excel Media, Dharma Productions, etc., to achieve wider release.
While it is safe for outsiders to enter into an association with a Bollywood distribution set up, what’s in it for the local distributors?
Ritesh Sidhwani, co-founder of Excel Entertainment (along with Farhan Akhtar) that distributed the Chiranjeevi-starrer Sye Raa, says the universality of the film’s content appealed to him as a filmmaker. “Engaging
content and gripping treatment are what fascinate a filmmaker. And if the plotlines have global appeal, then it makes for an exciting collaboration, as more audiences would get to see such a film, thereby
bringing more revenue,” says Ritesh.