This has happened sooner than what one would have expected. When the Hindi dubbed version of Baahubali released around three months back, no one could see it turning into a 100 crore affair. It was an enviable record indeed, what with the film doing over five times the business of the biggest dubbed South grosser till date, Rajinikant and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s Robot (20 crore). This is when it was widely believed in the industry that a new market has opened up for dubbed films in pan-India market.
“Back to back commercial failures of Puli and Rudramadevi has spoilt the party though,” informs a trade guru, “Both very carrying good credentials. First and foremost, they belonged to the same genre as Baabubali while being mythological action affairs. Secondly, they were big budget extravaganzas too. Thirdly, they had Sridevi in Puli and the Baahubali team of Anushka Shetty and Rana Daggubati in Rudramadevi. They were catering to the same target audience as Baabubali, and still failed to bring in any audience whatsoever.”
Puli turned out to be a major disappointment all over with audience down South criticizing it heavily too for its unbelievable narrative and poor plot. On the other hand, though Rudramadevi is doing decent business in South, up North it has failed to take off completely.
“Every film can’t be Baahubali. It is once in a decade phenomenon. Guess trade was too early to jump the gun and began celebrating,” an insider adds, “S.S. Rajamouli created something that was never seen before. For anything to even come close to it, be it Puli or Rudramadevi, they had to be at least at par, if not better. Sadly, that is not the case. The makers can’t just assume that watching a dobbed film in theaters would be a new fad for the audience. For that, viewers have several satellite channels to fulfill the need.”
No wonder, a couple of major South releases in the interim period – Dhanush’s Maari and Ravi Teja’s Kick 2 – didn’t even arrive with a dubbed Hindi version. There is no sign of Ram Charan doing that either for his upcoming film Bruce Lee.
“You can’t forget the major contribution that Karan Johar made in ensuring that Baahubali gets a mega release like any other Bollywood biggie. He went all out with the marketing, promotion and release of Baahubali. He treated the film as his own, and not just a business deal. In case of Puli or Rudramadevi, there was no notable name owning up the Hindi release,” the insider adds.
One hopes though that the market would see a turnaround next year once Rajinikanth returns with Kabali and Endhiran 2. Till then, one waits to see if a surprise hits the screens. Else, this bubble could well have gone bust faster than one would have expected.