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Reviewing the fiery success of Pushpa

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The release of ‘Baahubali – The beginning’ in 2015 marked a new era in Indian cinema. It was not only the cinematic prowess of that movie or the visionary leadership of SS Rajamouli but the reception to a regional movie on a national scale.

South movies in specific have built their cinema on homegrown content and stories from their backyard. Although the number of Tamil, and Telugu movies to release in Hindi in theatres, is still far less, the actors have become a household name, thanks to the boom provided by television.

Jr. NTR, Prabhas, Yash, Ram Charan, Dhanush, and Allu Arjun are prime examples of stardom through TV. After the tremendous success of his movie ‘Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo’, Allu Arjun, a massive star in the Southern states, talked about his interest in venturing into Hindi cinema with the right script. Little did he know that his next release was going to win the hearts of all Indians, that too amidst the pandemic.

‘Pusha – The Rise’ directed by Sukumar, made it to the news right after its announcements. The poster of the movie showed Allu Arjun in a new avatar, and the movie was also going to have a direct release in Hindi, besides three other languages. ‘Pushpa’ was all set to be Allu Arjun’s first PAN India movie.

The entire concept of a PAN India movie is a nuanced one. A movie that is received well across tiers, states, cities, and regions of the country is truly a PAN India movie. The popularity of Allu Arjun was not in question. However, can a story from the deeper part of Andhra Pradesh connect with a country as heterogeneous as India? That was the question.

The movie released in December, in the middle of a pandemic, and did exceedingly well, across languages. With almost close to zero marketing in the Hindi sector, the movie simply reached the last common denominator of the country, through word of mouth, an unusual phenomenon.

The sheer success of the film can be gauged by the number of reels made using the movie’s song. From David Warner to Hardik Pandya to the Great Khali, few people were spared by this rage of a trend.  

In almost one month the Hindi version of the movie alone crossed the benchmark of 100 crores, a rather prestigious milestone in India. The numbers tell a much smaller story here. December to January saw the third wave settling in India, and the country getting locked down, in major phases, yet again. In this period, many biggies postponed their release dates, while others failed terribly, a prime example could be ‘83’ which was praised for its content.

‘Pushpa’ not only sustained in this while but blossomed like a flower indeed, proving yet again that nothing can stop an original, powerful story from finding its audience. With such massive success, it’s a given that there is no going back for Allu Arjun from here. His future movies will be on a scale equal to this or even larger. After Prabhas and Yash, Allu Arjun has become the next PAN India star from the South.

SS Rajamouli once said that the actors in India, regardless of their language, shall be referred to as actors from the Indian Film Industry. Perhaps that time is now.

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