Regional is the New National

Telugu actor Jr NTR caught a lot of eyeballs when he shared that the audio launch of his 2004 film Andhrawala was attended by around 10 lakh fans. The actor revealed this on the popular Hindi comedy talk show, The Kapil Sharma Show, where he was promoting his film RRR. When asked about the number of people present at the event, Jr NTR shared that around 9 to 10 lakh fans had arrived for the audio launch of the film and that the government had to arrange 10 special trains for the same. Viewers of the show were left agape. The fame enjoyed by actors from down south can leave even Bollywood stars dumbfound.

With the success of films like Bahubali, Pushpa, and RRR, it could be said that ‘regional is the new national.’ However, Bollywood still quietly rebuffs the popularity of actors from regional cinema and focuses on a select few actors for roles that could be played better by actors who are not native to Hindi. This bias has been existing in Bollywood for decades now as we still see actors like Anupam Kher come out as hammy and loud when playing the role of a South Indian. Despite calls for reforms from viewers, Bollywood still finds itself enveloped in cliché tropes and frivolous scripts.

Given the sloppy attitude of Bollywood actors towards working in regional cinema, RRR stands out as we see popular faces like Alia Bhatt being cast in the film. It is high time that Bollywood realises the massive fan-following of actors from regional cinema and starts casting actors from different regions and languages if it truly intends to increase its stronghold in other parts of India.

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