Historical movies

Southern film industries offer mythological and historical films

Southern film industries are beginning to ride the Hindutva wave to line up mythological and historical films with strong Hindu figures and heroes, in line with Bollywood’s hyper-nationalist films.

Kantara, the latest Kannada blockbuster, tells the story of a local Hindu demigod while the Telugu film Karthikeya 2, released in August, was a mystical thriller centered on the myth of Lord Krishna. Another mythological film called Shaakuntalam starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu is lined up while Telugu producer Allu Aravind is backing an adaptation of the Ramayana. While the 1960s and 1970s had seen southern superstars like MG Ramachandran and NT Rama Rao appear in mythological films, the genre had gradually died out. Media pundits say the comeback is inspired by the large-scale stories spawned by the Baahubali franchise as well as the need to address strong Hindutva sentiment across the country. The latter is a priority as southern films launch dubbed versions and seek pan-Indian releases.

“The overriding theme for all filmmakers, including those in the south, is to appeal to pan-Indian audiences now and as the wave of Hindutva has been slow to catch on in the south, this (the trend of mythological films and historical) is a nod to the phenomenon,” said senior journalist Ram Karan. or Hollywood superhero movies, which have found huge appeal since the Baahubali franchise.And second, the need to go beyond indigenous geographies and bring Hindi-speaking audiences on board in states as diverse as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. is at stake here. “The costs of making these films are so high that the investment cannot be recouped in the domestic market alone,” Karan pointed out.

Independent business analyst Sreedhar Pillai agreed that Baahubali is the inspiration for large-scale shows belonging to mythological or historical genre, with pro-Hindu themes. “The idea is to talk about familiar legends or tell a story of good over evil, but all with strong Hindu roots. Baahubali has shown the world that an Indian show has universal appeal and can find an allure even outside of India,” Pillai noted. The quest to uncover truths related to the ancient Indian belief system and the essence of Lord Krishna has set the cash registers ringing. He has done more than Rs. 30 crore in Hindi alone, higher than big-ticket Bollywood titles such as Anek, Liger, Goodbye and others.

South Indian films have a tradition of capitalizing on core Indian values ​​and human emotions to appeal to mass audiences, said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema. In this sense, it is not uncommon for filmmakers to take up these subjects already familiar to viewers, say trade experts like him. “Southern movies have always been technically sound, but they come with a very Indian storytelling. That is why they easily attract large segments of the public and are picked up by satellite channels so that they can be enjoyed by families together,” Mohan said.

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