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New Delhi: Actor Ravi Teja’s Telugu film Khiladi will arrive in cinemas on 11 February, the makers have confirmed. The action crime thriller has been directed by Ramesh Varma and stars Teja in a dual role along with Arjun Sarja, Unni Mukundan, Meenakshi Chaudhary and Dimple Hayathi.

To be sure, southern language films have lit up the box office after the second covid wave, especially over the past few weeks. Rajinikanth’s action film Annaatthe, for instance, is on a record-breaking spree, especially in the home state, Tamil Nadu, where it emerged as the highest opening day earner ever with collections of Rs. 24 crore. Overall, the film made Rs. 30 crore across India on day one. Ticketing site BookMyShow said it had crossed the one million ticket mark on the platform, becoming the first film to do so after the second covid wave.

As things stand today, regional language cinema, driven by Telugu and Tamil films, could make up nearly 50% of overall box office collections, a drastic jump from the 25-30% it would bring in before the pandemic. The rest will be divided equally between Hindi and Hollywood (including dubbed versions) films. Before the pandemic, Hindi films made up 50-60% of overall box office revenues.

In 2019, Bollywood had crossed box office collections of Rs4,000 crore while Hollywood clocked nearly Rs1,225 crore. Regional cinemas had made Rs1,500-2,000 crore.

After the first wave, Telugu cinema was quick to churn out money-spinners like Vakeel Saab, Jathi Ratnalu and Uppena and managed three profitable releases in the past month alone when theatres reopened after the second wave. These include SR Kalyanamandapam, Thimmarasu and Raja Raja Chopra. The industry has been most aggressive among all languages in locking dates for new star-studded titles such as Allu Arjun’s Pushpa, Prabhas’s Radhe Shyam, Mahesh Babu’s Sarkaru Vaari Paata and Pawan Kalyan’s Bheemla Nayak.

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