When South Directors Made Bollywood Blockbusters

Tamil Director Atlee’s first Bollywood outing Jawan is a mega blockbuster.

Over the decades, directors from the south have tried their luck in Hindi cinema with varying degrees of success.

Though Priyadarshan has been the most successful director from the south with the maximum number of Bollywood hits to his credit, his Hindi film debut, Muskurahat, was a damp squib.

Mani Ratnam started his Bollywood journey with the classy, but unsuccessful, Dil Se.. and has only two Hindi hits to his credit: Guru and Saathiya.

Joginder Tuteja looks at southern directors who started with a big bang in Bollywood.

Director: Atlee
Box Office Collection: Rs 500 crore+/Rs 5 billion+ (expected)

What a smashing start for Atlee! Jawan has crossed the Rs 200 crore mark in a little over three days.

The director of popular Tamil films like Bigil, Mersal and Theri was hand-picked by Shah Rukh Khan for his second action film of 2023, and he delivered — and how!

Just 37 years old, there is a lot Atlee can do in the years to come.

  • The Rediff Review

Kabir Singh
Director: Sandeep Reddy Vanga
Box Office Collection: Rs 278.24 crore/Rs 2.78 billion

After making the Telugu blockbuster Arjun Reddy, Sandeep Reddy Vanga picked the same story for his Hindi debut and Kabir Singh turned out to be a blockbuster.

Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani as well as hit music further played a huge part in Kabir Singh‘s popularity. The result was a Rs 200 Crore Club film.

One expects him to follow it up with the Ranbir Kapoor starrer Animal, which releases on December 1.

  • The Rediff Review


Director: Siddique
Box Office Collection: Rs 149 crore/Rs 1.49 billion

Malayalam Director Siddique’s Bodyguard was a big success, and like Vanga, the Malayali director picked up the same story for his Bollywood debut.

Starring Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor, the film was a major blockbuster. Its soundtrack by Himesh Reshammiya was hugely popular too.

Surprisingly, in the decade that followed, Siddique did not make any more Hindi films though he did direct five Malayalam films.

He passed away last month.

  • The Rediff Review


Director: A R Murugadoss
Box Office Collection: Rs 114 crore/Rs 1.14 billion

Murugadoss’ Ghajini, starring Surya, was a hit, and he directed its Hindi remake with Aamir Khan and Asin.

The film was such a big hit that it started the Rs 100 Crore Club, way back in 2008.

Murugadoss followed it up with another Rs 100 Crore Club hit in Akshay Kumar’s Holiday, but Akira with Sonakshi Sinha didn’t work.

  • The Rediff Review


Gabbar Is Back
Director: Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi
Box Office Collection: Rs 87.50 crore/Rs 875 million

Telugu Director Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi, who is better known as Krish in the industry, was roped in by Akshay Kumar for Gabbar Is Back, an official remake of A R Murugadoss’s Tamil film, Ramanaa.

While Krish did a good job, it is surprising that the film didn’t enter the Rs 100 crore club.

Later, he filmed Manikarnika – The Queen of Jhansi, but after he reportedly fell out with lead actor Kangana Ranaut, she took over the directorial reins. He was credited as co-director.

  • The Rediff Review


Director: Prabhu Deva
Box Office Collection: Rs 60 crore/Rs 600 million

Actor, choreographer and director, Prabhu Deva has been the man of all seasons.

His first Hindi directorial Wanted starred Salman Khan and Ayesha Takia.

It was a remake of the Telugu hit Pokiri and ended up reviving Salman’s career when he was going through a rough patch.

Later, Prabhu Deva directed Rowdy Rathore, another big success, and R… Rajkumar.

His films Action Jackson and Dabangg 3 didn’t work.

  • The Rediff Review


Note: All collections as per production and distribution sources

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