New Delhi: Director Gunasekhar’s 3D historical film Rudhramadevi made an impressive start last week. The film earned 32 crore in its opening weekend, according to movie website koimoi.com. However, the dubbed Hindi version of the Telugu film on the life of the Deccan queen was released in around 800 screens within India and made only a little over 2 crore, as reported by movie website Telugu Square.

“The Hindi release was in keeping with the plan we always had for the film. The thought was to focus the distribution and marketing on those centres where there would be more acceptance by the target group to start with and eventually grow from there," said Sameer Chopra, head of marketing, Reliance Entertainment, who have released the dubbed Hindi version of the film, starring Anushka Shetty, Rana Daggubati and Allu Arjun, in north India.

A lot of south Indian films may be dubbed and premiered on Hindi movie channels. But it takes more for a film to be dubbed and released theatrically even though it may be marked by unique storytelling, great action and typical, traditional portrayal of women.

“Rudhramadevi is headlined by three superstars—Allu Arjun, Anushka Shetty and Rana Dagubatti—all household names in the south and also enjoy recognition in the north due to their box office success and the exposure their films have on prime time satellite. Plus, Rana’s recent Baahubali was a blockbuster," said Chopra. “Besides, Rudhramadevi is an extremely well-made film. The film flaunts its epic proportions on screen in 3D that is being enjoyed not just by pan-Indian but also global audiences," he said.

Baahubali set the benchmark for dubbed south Indian films but will Rudhramadevi follow in its footsteps?

“Baahubali had opened doors for films of the fantasy genre from the south. But Puli was a disappointment two weeks ago. And now for Rudhramadevi, which is nowhere near Baahuabali in terms of grandeur or technology, it is unlikely that even word-of-mouth will translate into box office revenue soon enough," said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema. “And with the Hindi releases coming up now, there will be no screens anymore," he added.

Baahubali opened the market but it would be unfair to compare new films that have their own strengths with it, Chopra said. The S.S. Rajamouli’s war epic, which earned nearly 500 crore worldwide, also enjoyed a huge advantage by virtue of being backed by a name such as Karan Johar.

“That was the film’s biggest turnaround," said Mohan. “Not only did his presence ensure more screens, it also brought the film to the notice of common people who hadn’t heard of it or known of lead actor Prabhas though the film was big news within the film industry. Without him, the movie would’ve taken a lot more time to reach the same mark."

The Telugu and Hindi versions of Rudhramadevi released on 9 October, while the Tamil version releases on Friday.

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