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Bollywood stars in regional cinema: Barriers falling as A-listers spread their wings

Bollywood stars such as Akshay Kumar and Madhuri Dixit and young talent such as Shraddha Kapoor and Disha Patani are among actors signing films made outside Bollywood, crossing language boundaries.

bollywood Updated: Nov 04, 2017 16:51 IST
Juhi Chakraborty
Juhi Chakraborty
Actors Shraddha Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, and Madhuri Dixit are all doing films that come under the regional cinema umbrella.

Language no longer seems to be a hindrance for mainstream Bollywood stars, as several of them are venturing into regional cinema.

Madhuri Dixit-Nene is doing a slice-of-life Marathi film about a woman’s journey of self-realisation — the language, however, isn’t a barrier for her, as Marathi is her mother tongue. While announcing the film, Madhuri said that she was happy to see the evolution of Marathi cinema and had been waiting for the right project to make her debut.

Vivek Oberoi, who made his Tamil film debut this year with Vivegam, feels that with the success of films like Baahubali (starring Prabhas and Rana Daggubati) and Robot (starring Rajinikanth), the overall viewer attitude towards regional cinema has changed. “It’s 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,” says Vivek.

‘It’s time to redefine the term regional cinema’—Vivek Oberoi

The multilingual sci-fi thriller 2.0, directed by Tamil filmmaker Shankar, also stars Bollywood bigwig Akshay Kumar, yet another example of blurred borders. Then, Abhay Deol is acting in his maiden Tamil film, Idhu Vedhalam Sollum Kadhai, directed by Rathindran R Prasad.

Vivek Oberoi acted with Ajith in the Tamil action thriller, Vivegam. (Photo: Yogen Shah)

Calling the trend of Bollywood stars doing regional movies a positive one, filmmaker Priyadarshan says, “I feel we should not call it Bollywood or Tollywood. We should call it Indian films. It’s nice to see people from the north acting in the [southern] film industry and vice versa. It is a very positive trend.”

Even young actors, whose Bollywood careers are still in the formative stage, are testing the waters of regional cinema. An example is Shraddha Kapoor, who has joined Prabhas in the trilingual film, Saaho; and Disha Patani, who’s in the Tamil period movie Sangamithra.

Actor Adil Hussain has starred in a number of Hindi, Bengali, and Assamese films. (Photo:Yogen Shah)

Actor Adil Hussain, who has successfully dabbled in films in different languages, says that he appreciates the fact that many of his colleagues are doing regional cinema not because they’re out of work but for the genuine urge to experiment. “The audience in the country doesn’t know about actors from Tamil, Telegu, Assamese, or Bengali film industries. I’m glad that regional cinema producers are reaching out to actors from different parts of the country. I think this is what should happen,” he says.

Adil concludes, “We are one country. If more such actors do this, then the market can become so much bigger.”

First Published: Nov 04, 2017 16:51 IST