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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 October 2018

Regional films vie for Bollywood crown

Films in India’s regional languages are growing rapidly in popularity among wider audiences at a time when Bollywood’s Hindi-language films are failing to perform at the box office.
Fitoor, a Bollywood film based on Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, flopped at the box office. Courtesy UTV Motion Pictures
Fitoor, a Bollywood film based on Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, flopped at the box office. Courtesy UTV Motion Pictures

Films in India’s regional languages are growing rapidly in popularity among wider audiences at a time when Bollywood’s Hindi-language films are failing to perform at the box office.

Movies being made in Marathi, the local language of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the largest city, and Telugu and Tamil, languages from India’s southern states, are gaining more widespread appeal in the country and are generating a higher revenue and market share.

While the term Bollywood is often considered synonymous with Indian cinema, strictly speaking, it refers to Hindi and Urdu films.

“Strong regional content seemed to have gained acceptance even among the non-native language speaking audience, improving the share of regional films in the overall revenue pie,” KPMG says.

“This may be an indicator of consumers looking beyond Bollywood for their entertainment.”

Income from Hollywood and regional films drove the overall film revenue in India last year over 2014, while Bollywood remained flat, according to KPMG.

“Regional films contributed up to 30 per cent in revenue at some national multiplexes during the second and third quarter last year,” it says.

“It is expected that the cinema in southern India, especially Tamil and Telugu, shall soon surpass Bollywood in terms of the share of box office collections by language.”

The Telugu cinema industry is known as Tollywood, while the Tamil film industry is often referred to as Kollywood because Kodambakkam, a neighbourhood in Chennai in Tamil Nadu state, is this film industry’s centre.

This year, the Marathi romance Sairat was a huge hit, outperforming many big Bollywood productions to become the first Marathi film to earn more than 1 billion rupees. A Telugu action film, Baahubali: The Beginning, released last year, grossed more than 6bn rupees.

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