After the huge success of S.S. Rajamouli’s multilingual blockbuster Bahubali, Tollywood’s big ticket filmmakers are eyeing the vast Hindi cinema market. The latest one to join this list is Power star and Jana Sena Party president Pawan Kalyan whose film Sardar Gabbar Singh’s Telugu and Hindi versions will be released worldwide on 8 April. The dubbed version in Hindi will hit 800 screens.
Eros International’s Sunil Lulla, who is one of the producers of the film, will be distributing mostly the Hindi version in 45 countries. The Telugu version will be released in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and some cities in the US and the UK. Made at a cost of around Rs 75 crore, the film’s producers, Lulla and Sharat Marar, are expecting the two versions to make a business of around Rs 200 crore.
Tollywood filmmakers have been jubilant after the roaring success of Bahubali- The Beginning which raked in around Rs 550 crore last year. Its sequel, Bahubali – The Conclusion, currently being shot, is expected to surpass the collections of the first installment when it releases on 14 April 2017.
Tollywood filmmakers have realised that unless they tap the vast Hindi market, they cannot enter the coveted Rs 100 crore-club, which is essential for the big budget films to break even. Till recently, commercial Hindi cinema, which commands 1,200 theatres on an average in the first two weeks, used to depend on remakes from the south – Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. But now, most Telugu films are made into Hindi and vice-versa. Gabbar Singh, prequel of Sardar Gabbar Singh, is a remake of Salman Khan starrer Dabangg.
However, Sardar Gabbar Singh is not a remake of Dabangg-2, which too was a big hit in Hindi. “Pawan Kalyan has written the story and screenplay for Sardar Gabbar Singh and it will be different from Dabangg-2,” said Sharat Marar, at the audio launch of the film on 20 March. Marathi actor Sharad Kelkar is playing the villain in the film, keeping an eye on Hindi audience. Kajal Agarwal is the heroine.
“Releasing Hindii versions has become vital for Tollywood producers as they want to grab the vast Hindi market and cross the Rs 100 crore mark. Tamil remakes are a commercial success in Telugu market, but not other-way round,” said Tollywood trade analyst P.V. Naidu.
Telugu story lines and treatment are a big hit in the Hindi market, he pointed out. Moreover, simultaneous production of Telugu and Hindi versions is cheaper as Hyderabad is a major production centre for Hindi films too. “It is easy to make a film in Telugu and Hindi and then release its dubbed version in Tamil and Kannada,” said award winning Telugu filmmaker Kallu Raghu.
Earlier, Pawan Kalyan’s Attarintiki Daaredi, a 2014 Telugu film, was dubbed into Hindi and secured good collections. His blockbuster, Gopala Gopala in Telugu is a remake of the 2012 Hindi film, OMG- Oh My God. While shooting Sardar Gabbar Singh, Pawan Kalyan kept the Hindi market in mind.
Reaching the Hindi market will also give wider recognition to Pawan Kalyan, whose newly launched Jana Sena Party is expected to contest the 2019 elections in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Pawan Kalyan has openly canvassed for BJP candidates and backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership in the 2014 elections. Modi had personally thanked Pawan for his support.
Though details of Pawan’s political strategy are yet not known, Jana Sena Party is expected to become an ally of the BJP in the coming days. Pawan hinted this during the audio launch function in Hyderabad where his elder brother and mega star and Chiranjivi of the Congress party was the chief guest. “I respect my brother, but our political lines are different,” said Pawana at the function.