On Twitter, I tweeted about Allu Sirish who is astonished that us, non Desi, watch South Indian films. So I asked the Blogger community to blog on why they like South Indian films. What attracts them to watch South Indian films?
Even my North Indian friends wonder why I've gone down South. What is it about South Indian films that appeal to me?
For me, it's Allu Arjun ;P
Okay. Okay. In all seriousness, what attracted me at first is some of my favorite older Hindi films were remakes from South Indian films. I wrote it a little on my blabber post and about my attraction towards Allu Arjun & Siddharth.
I didn't think much about the difference of Tamil and Hindi in India. Honestly, I just thought it was a different dialect like how the Hmong language is. There are two major dialect in the Hmong language - White & Green (I know, colors). I am White Hmong. Usually a Green Hmong could understand when a White Hmong speaks but not always the other way around. I remember when I first heard Green Hmong, I thought it was a different language! Accents are different, even a few words. So because of this, I thought that's how Tamil and Hindi were.
Years go by until I re-surfaced and was associated with Tamil again. I was looking for Sapnay, the Hindi dubbed version of Kajol's Minsaara Kanavu. Then the more I learn about Hindi films having the dubbed versions or even the remake versions befounded me! Another one of my all-time favorite Hindi film, Beta, was a remake of a Kannada film, Mallammana Pavaada. I mainly loved Beta because I thought it was so "different" for Bollywood but I was wrong. That did it. After all these years, I just found out that Ek Duje Ke Liye was a remake of Telugu film, Maro Charithra!! It will be my journey...I just have to watch more South Indian films.
But yeah right. You know how hard it is to find South Indian films?
When I go to the Desi store, they would question why I want to watch a South Indian film, they change the subject and tell me that they have Bollywood!
Okay, fine. You know a little more history on how I got into South Indian films. But what is it about the South Indian films that really attracts me? (Besides Allu Arjun?)
As many of you may know, I grew up with dubbed-Hmong Bollywood films. However, for the past 4-5 years, South Indian cinema has taken me to another level.
When I first saw Ek Duje Ke Liye, I was so in love with that film. The guy at the Desi store recommended me watching it because I was already a Rati Agnihotri fan since Star. After watching it, I was curious about this moustached hero. I never seen him before and I liked him a lot! At that time, I was young and didn't understand much. I didn't have the wonderful Internet and resources to help guide me. What was this language Tamil in the film? Then I started to watch more of Kamal Hassan's films....but his Hindi ones that were available to me.
For me being a Hmong American, our history has never been written down. Many of my ancestors were involved with the Secret War with the USA. My parents tried to adjust living in the USA and struggled to teach me Hmong and English. But eventually being Americanized won. Being torn in two unknown worlds, I turned to films to escape reality. Bollywood helped me do that. The magic that it used to have is not there anymore.
I miss what made me fall for Bollywood in the first place. The traditional colorful outfits, family customs/values, and classical/traditional dancing. All that is missing from Bollywood. Now, don't get me wrong. I love me some Wake Up Sid but I want to see more Ghajini (remake with Desi style). But almost every film releasing in Bollywood isn't the same as how I remembered it.
For the past decade, I've been seeing more Hindi films trying to please the Western hemisphere. As happy as I am that more Westerners (especially Americans) are watching Hindi films. Many of the films releasing lately is just like Hollywood, nothing is "Indian" about it anymore. It doesn't stand out. No more uniqueness.
I watch a lot of films from different industries for many reasons. My to-go-to films have always been Hindi films but is rapidly changing to Telugu and Tamil films. Asians films, particularly Hong Kong, have slick action with weak or overplayed storylines. For the Korean industry, I watch Korean films mainly for romantic comedies and a few of their dramas (equivalent to soap operas but actually end in 16 or 20 episodes, but as many as 50 episodes). As for Thai films, horror films are what attracts me. Although my interests in Japanese and Filipino films have never peaked my interest as high as the other Asian industries, I still will watch some their films.
The Asian industry don't have many films that have the traditonal family value that I admire in South Indian films. Many Asian films are very modern...just like what Bollywood is becoming. From singing hip hop to 6-pack abs to minimal modern outfits, Asian films usually have these elements. If you take out the Asians, you would just get another Hollywood film.
You cannot do the same for an Indian film...until recently (Bollywood).
Besides a few of my favorite Hindi films that were remakes of the South, the more South Indian films I watched, the more I liked. Many of the heroines do not have the whiney characters, which is one of my reasons I prefer South Indian films. Some will have small roles but their characters are tough and stick up for themselves. Many of them still have their sexy curves and not worried about being a size zero.
Masala. I love a mixture of everything in a film -- fighting, dancing, love, drama, you name it. That's what the secret ingredient in South India films!
Since I'm a huge martial arts fan, I love the one-on-one fight scenes in South Indian films. I prefer physical body contact rather than gun shooting for an action film. In addition, I love the macho-ness from the South Indian studs. When the hero beats up 20 villains with a jump kick, I just knew I found *my* hero. He will fight for you.
The dancing. Where do I even begin? It's a known fact that Prabhu Deva is one of the best. Guess where he's from? That's right. South India. There is more footwork and better choreography. Even though I cannot dance, I love watching dancing. The effort, passion, energy, and hardwork that goes in a dance need to be commended more.
I personally do not like metrosexual looking guys. Hot, studly, manly, appealing guys still exist in South Indian films. Allu Arjun fits that category for me :)
Many of my Hmong friends have been complaining about the Bollywood films lately. One of them saw Wanted and loved it. Immediately, I told her Wanted is a remake of the Telugu Superhit film, Pokiri. She wishes that South Indian films were available for her to watch.
A Filipino friend of mine told me that her favorite are Tamil films, which she finds more realistic and have better storylines.
Heck, if my 13-years-old niece who won't watch anything subtitled ends up watching a Telugu film, you know something is going right. She's even passing the news on to her cousins and friends about Telugu films and making sure to tell them the differences between South Indian and Bollywood films.
My first introduction to an Allu Arjun film is from a Greek friend. See, there are many non Desi fans of South Indian films. Just wish they were more accessible for us to get. My South Indian film collection is growing.
My love is gone for South Indian films. I recently bought a memory card for my cell phone just so my ring tone could be "Ringa Ringa" - Arya 2. On top of that, I added hubby's ringtone as "Mr Perfect" - Arya 2, alarm 1 as "Bangaru Kodipetta" - Magadheera & alarm 2 as "Jorsey" - Magadheera.
So South Indian industry, keep doing what you do best. Entertaining your fans! All I ask for is English subtitles in the theater so I could drag and convert more people to watching your films :) Don't change at all. Don't go the Bollywood way. Bollywood is not able to pull a Magadheera.