Flipping the Trend: Bollywood Stars Now In “Regional” Cinema

In what could be described as a reversal of sorts, established Bollywood stars are now trying their hand at “regional” cinema, or films in Indian languages other than Hindi. From Madhuri Dixit to Akshay Kumar, some of the biggest names in Hindi cinema are now turning to other language films in order to reach out to a new audience, and sometimes, in search for more meaningful roles.

And then of course, there’s box office numbers. According to a report in LiveMint, BookMyShow reported average occupancy of 45-46% for regional films in 2017 vis-à-vis Hindi films, which registered around 5% lower occupancy compared to 2016.

Madhuri Dixit, who has an acting career of 34 years in Bollywood, is now starring in a her first Marathi film, Bucket List, presented by Dharma Productions, which releases on 25 May. Bucket List is a coming-of-age story of a housewife who begins to fulfil her dreams and aspirations after an incident changes her life forever.

Here are other stars who have taken their career from Bollywood to regional cinema.

Akshay Kumar in 2.0

Akshay Kumar essays the role of a robotic villainous character in Rajinikanth’s 2.0. Directed by S Shankar, the film is reportedly being made on an estimated budget of ₹450 crore and is being touted as the most expensive Indian film made to date.

Akshay Kumar’s villainous avatar in 2.0. 

Vivek Oberoi in Vivegam

Vivek Oberoi with Tamil star Ajith on the sets of Vivegam.

Vivek Oberoi has also made his debut in Tamil films with Vivegam in 2017. The actor feels that it is time to “redefine the term ‘regional cinema’”.

“Thirty to forty years ago, it made sense to use that word. But films like Baahubali, Vivegam, and Robot and its sequel 2.0 are redefining regional cinema. The reach of such films is huge,” said Vivek in an interview with HT.

Shraddha Kapoor in Saaho

Shraddha Kapoor will be seen opposite Prabhas in Saaho.

Shraddha Kapoor has also joined the league as she will be seen opposite Baahubali star, Prabhas in the tri-lingual film, Saaho. The film also stars Jackie Shroff, Lal, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Mandira Bedi and is being touted as the “second most expensive film made to date in India”. There are a lot of expectations from Saaho as it is Prabhas’ first major release after Baahubali 2.

Abhay Deol in Idhu Vedhalam Sollum Kadhai

Abhay Deol in Idhu Vedhalam Sollum Kadhai.

Idhu Vedhalam Sollum Kathai (This Is a Story Narrated By a Phantom) is a Tamil film directed by Rathindran R Prasad starring Abhay Deol, Ashwin Kakumanu, Aishwarya Rajesh, Guru Somasundaram and Greg Burridge. Abhay Deol reportedly plays the role of a fictional king Vikramadithiyan in Idhu Vedhalam Sollum Kadhai. The film is based on a group's search for secret societies existing for centuries such as the Illuminati and the Freemasons. Apparently, Abhay Deol was so impressed with the script that he also decided to co-produce the film.

Check out the quirky teaser here:

Disha Patani in Sanghamitra

Disha Patani looks chic.

After Baaghi 2, Disha Patani has been signed on for Sundar C’s magnum opus, Sanghamitra in the lead role.

Shruti Haasan had earlier been roped in for the film which was announced at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017, Patani eventually stepped into her shoes. Reportedly being made on a budget of Rs 400 crore, the period drama is set to go on the floors in July 2018.

Sunny Leone in Veermahadevi

Sunny Leone in Veermahadevi.

Sunny Leone is also making a big splash down south with a period drama titled Veermahadevi. Shot primarily in Tamil, the film will also be dubbed into Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi for a wider release. Directed by VC Vadivudaiyan, Veermahadevi will feature Sunny in the role of a warrior princess. The first look of the film, which was released recently, shows the actor on horseback all set to lead her army into battle.

Before the current trend, Riteish Deshmukh, too starred in the Marathi film, Lai Bhari in 2014. The film reportedly became the highest grossing Marathi film of the time.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who began her career with Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film Iruvar, also worked with Rajinikanth in Robot (2016). Not to forget, Deepika Padukone’s Tamil language motion capture computer animated historical action drama, Kochadaiiyaan (2014) with Rajinikanth.

With the success of films like Baahubali, this list is only likely to grow.

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