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NEW DELHI : Films in regional languages such as Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam have managed to sustain impressive box office collections despite the big Bollywood line-up having been rolled out since Diwali. Marathi film Jhimma, for instance, had made 5.83 crore within two weeks of release despite the 50% cap in Maharashtra and Hindi films like Sooryavanshi and Antim- The Final Truth running alongside. 

Dulquer Salman’s Kurup has set the cash registers ringing as has another Malayalam film Jan-E-Man. Bengali sports drama Golondaaj was even dubbed into Hindi after a successful run in its home state. Trade experts say the word-of-mouth for these films has been positive and they have benefited from audiences looking for quality content post the pandemic, apart from the fact that ‘revenge viewing’ is taking place in substantial measure with people visiting theatres continually if they come once.

“Regional films have shown great strength not just during Diwali but after the second unlock across various states with sales even comparable to pre-pandemic times. The traction for regional films continues to stay strong and is proportionally parallel to big-ticket Hindi releases," Ashish Saksena, chief operating officer, cinemas at ticketing site BookMyShow said. 

The company has been increasingly observing that audiences’ preference and focus towards the quality of the content rather than the star cast is heightening especially for the regional market, Saksena said. 

“Also, regional movies coming from the south have extremely compelling storylines, visual aesthetics, tighter scripts with a compelling cast lifting the cinema to a whole new level as compared to Hindi and other languages. These films have been showing some fantastic traction nearing pre-covid levels and given their reception in non-native markets, we expect the quantum of regional films to get dubbed in Hindi to increase since they are now breaking language and region barriers effectively," he added.

Rajendar Singh Jyala, chief programming officer at INOX Leisure Ltd said the release of Hindi films does not impact regional markets as local movies come first for them and Hindi is considered over and above these. Rahul Puri, managing director, Mukta Arts and Mukta A2 Cinemas said some single screens in interior regions see regional cinema doing much better and they automatically prefer to showcase that content when available.

“Regional cinema is back in a big way and could reach normal levels of business by end of January," said independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai adding that the month of December will be a big test for both Hindi and Hollywood films with the release of sports drama ’83, superhero film Spider-Man: No Way Home and science fiction action film The Matrix Resurrections.

Both industries are yet to catch up completely. On the other hand, Tamil science fiction action thriller Maanaadu released late last month saw phenomenal advance even though Chennai city was hit hard by rains. 

Meanwhile, Malayalam film Jan-E-Man that started with one show in most cinemas grew with word-of-mouth to four. Dulquer Salmaan’s crime thriller Kurup had earned 50 crore worldwide within the first week despite the 50% cap on seating in Kerala.

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