Ram Charan, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Tamannaah Bhatia, Dhanush, Kajal Aggarwal and Prabhas — names such as these are among the many from South film industry who have cemented their acting credentials in Hindi cinema as well. Taking inspiration, many from the newer crop are making their foray into Bollywood, especially after the game-changing success of SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus, Baahubali, starring Prabhas. The latest entrant is Malayalam actor Dulquer Salmaan, who has bagged Ronnie Screwvala’s untitled film, alongside Irrfan.
Trade experts give this influx of regional actors into Bollywood a thumbs-up, as both the film frat and Hindi film audiences are welcoming them with open arms. “People see immense potential in South Indian actors after what they saw in Baahubali. Some of them are already so desirable, thanks to their social media presence,” says trade analyst Omar Qureshi.
Trade expert Atul Mohan agrees. “Whenever there is a national poll on something, we always see South stars like Mahesh Babu leading the list. So, their desirability quotient has increased. And filmmakers think it is wise to cast them in mainstream cinema,” he says.
Check out who all are entering Bollywood:
Veteran actor Mammootty’s son — known for his roles in Malayalam films Bangalore Days, OK Kanmani and Charlie — is making his Bollywood debut alongside Irrfan, and Mithila Palkar in Ronnie Screwvala’s untitled project. Mithila confirmed the news on Instagram with a picture collage and wrote, “Living the Bollywood Dream alongside these supremely talented superstars.”
After the phenomenal success of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, Prabhas has become the most sought-after name in Bollywood. “I’ve been getting a lot of Hindi film offers,” says the 37-year-old actor, who is yet to confirm a Bollywood project. There is speculation that he has agreed to star as a lead actor in Sajid Nadiadwala’s next film.
The son of Telugu superstar Nagarjuna is often spotted chilling with the likes of Bollywood actors Hrithik Roshan, Ranveer Singh and Sooraj Pancholi. Rumours are rife that filmmaker Karan Johar will launch the 23-year-old — who won praise for his 2015 Telugu film Akhil — in Bollywood. “These south Indian actors are on the list of every movie buff,” says trade analyst Atul Mohan.
In February 2017, filmmaker Rohit Shetty visited the sets of Allu Arjun’s Telugu film, Duvvada Jagannadham. News about Shetty signing him for a cameo in his upcoming film, Golmaal Again, gained steam when Arjun visited Shetty’s film’s set in July. He is one of the most popular names down South and has more than 1.5 million followers on Twitter. “Allu Arjun is a big name. Thanks to the dubbed version of south Indian films, we see a lot of him on TV. His star power will definitely add to whichever film he will be a part of,” says Atul Mohan.
After the Malayalam actor’s picture with filmmaker Anurag Kashyap surfaced online last year, there was strong buzz of a collaboration, but neither of the two confirmed it. Lauding Nivin’s acting skills, trade analyst Omar Qureshi says, “People like him are very talented. They should try for Bollywood as it gives them national presence.”