Bilinguals take a beating at box office

By M Bharat Kumar Published on Sep 08, 2018 03:45 PM IST

Chennai: There are a lot of bilinguals being made in Kollywood and Tollywood these days.

It seems to be the fad as producers want to cash in on another territory to market their films.

After the success of Baahubali, a lot of Telugu actors now prefer to shoot a movie simultaneously in Telugu and Tamil, while there is a same craze among Tamil heroes too.

However industry pundits say, "These efforts seem to have backfired. They work hard on both the languages and in the end, they can’t justify either."

Interestingly, Tollywood heroes like Mahesh Babu, Allu Arjun, Sharwanand and Nani have ventured to do bilinguals. And Tamil artistes are also itching to go that way for the likes of Suriya, Karthi and Vishal command a decent market in Andhra Pradesh.

Even heroine centric films like Bhagamathiee starring Anushka Shetty was made in both languages.

Talking about the success rate of these films, Venugopal, a producer says, "When the tastes and nativity of the audience are completely different, it’s difficult to enthral them both. Bilingual films shoot up production costs. It’s simpler and cost effective to dub and release a movie in another language."

Gautham Vasudev Menon's Neethanae En Ponvasantham was made simultaneously as Ye Maya Chesave, but with a different set of artistes.

Eventually it ended up receiving mixed response in both the languages.

Spyder starring Mahesh Babu was a classic example. Directed by A R Murugadoss, it was shot twice, once in Telugu and then in Tamil, to get the lip-sync right. Yet, the high-budget film didn'’t appeal to everyone.

In contrast, a dubbed film fares well. Bharath Ane Nenu was out as Bharath Ennum Naan and it ended up collected well than Spyder in Tamilnadu.

Allu Arjun's Naa Peru Surya Naa Illu Indiya was released as straight Tamil film, but the poor lip-sync meant it was treated as yet another dubbing flick by audience here, he adds.

Speaking about the success story of Baahubali, industry tracker, Kannan, said, "Rajamouli was very shrewd. Movies made on such a budget have to appeal to people of all languages. Hence he shot few close-up scenes in respective languages and retained the rest. In a way, it was cost effective."

However filmmakers today try to do a balancing act when they plan for bilinguals. They cast a mix of artistes familiar to both Tamil and Telugu audience like NOTA starring Vijay Devarkonda. The film saw its trailer released in Tamil and Telugu.

So what's his advice? "It’'s better to shoot the film in the original language first and then may be dub the scenes in the other language or simply re-shoot only key scenes, if it is to be released in another language."