South Indian film stars

Stars jump borders for South blitz

The southern industry is wooing actors from different states. It needs to be seen if the formula will be a success

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The South Indian film industry is evolving. Actors and superstars from the four Southern states are moving out of their comfort zone to be part of other Southern industries. The latest buzz is that Sandalwood’s Simple Star Rakshit Shetty has been roped in to play a pivotal character in Thalapathy Vijay’s next film.

Rakshit in Thalapathy 67?

Vijay’s next tentatively titled Thalapathy 67 is directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj. The film has a huge ensemble cast, including Sanjay Dutt, Trisha, Gautham Menon, Mysskin and Priya Anand. If the grapevine is anything to go by, the makers have approached Rakshit for a role opposite Vijay. The Kannada superstar is yet to sign on the dotted line.

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As per reports, Thalapathy 67 is an adaptation of the Hollywood flick History of Violence. The makers have bought the remake rights. However, the film will be adapted according to the director’s style. The shoot – mostly in Chennai and Kashmir – has begun.

Rakshit’s crossover might add value to the film. The Simple Star has a fan base in Karnataka. The makers will like to use it to their advantage, given that Thalapathy 67 is a pan-India project.

Pruthviraj in Salaar

This is not the first time Tamil, Telugu or Kannada filmmakers are roping in superstars from other southern industries. Tollywood fans were excited when Malayalam superstar Prithviraj Sukumaran was roped in for Salaar starring Prabhas. Salaar is directed by Kannada filmmaker Prashanth Neel, the man behind the KGF franchise.

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Salaar revolves around Prabhas and Pruthviraj’s characters. Prithviraj had reportedly refused to act in Salaar for nearly 18 months due to date issues. Although Salaar got postponed, Prashant was keen to rope in the actor. Things finally fell into place.

The cast has a wide range of actors from the Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam movie worlds. Shruthi Haasan, Jagapathi Babu and Prithviraj in association with Prabhas and Prashant will certainly draw attention across south India and the Hindi belt.

Shivaraj Kumar in Rajinikanth’s Jailer

The biggest surprise was when Kannada superstar Shivarajkumar or Shivanna as he is fondly known was roped in to play a role opposite Tamil superstar Rajinikanth in the latter’s upcoming movie Jailer. It is directed by Nelson Dilipkumar and produced by Sun Pictures.  Malayalam superstar Mohanlal too has been roped in for Jailer.

Shivarajkumar is the son of matinee idol Dr. Rajkumar, who was considered a demi-god in Karnataka. Dr. Rajkumar had refused to act in any other language except Kannada. But, his son Shivaraj now decided to work with Rajinikanth.

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During a recent interview, Shivarajkumar revealed that he had started shooting for his part of the film and was waiting for the next schedule to begin. The Kannada idol refused to divulge much about his character or the film’s plot. He said Rajinikanth knew him from his childhood days, and he could not say no to the superstar.

Interestingly, Shivarajkumar will play another important role in Dhanush’s next film Captain Miller. He will play the role of Dhanush’s elder brother.

Duniya Vijay in Veera Simha Reddy

Kannada superstar Duniya Vijay played a negative character in Tollywood superstar Balakrishna’s latest film Veera Simha Reddy. Telugu films get a grand opening in parts of Karnataka. With Vijay in the film, the team of Veera Simha Reddy and Vijay held a rally and promoted the movie in Kolar. The team got a massive response in the Telugu-speaking district of Karnataka.

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“South Indian filmmakers casting actors from other industries is not a new phenomenon. Tamil, Telugu and Kannada film industries have always cast heroines from other industries. The south was once accused of casting heroines from Bollywood. That was just a fad to show off their production value and had nothing to do with acquiring territories,” says critic and film journalist Murali.

The southern industries have cast Bollywood’s Aishwarya Rai, Raveena, Tabu and Sonali Bendre among others. Today things have changed, thanks to OTT and the pan-India craze among southern filmmakers.

Star amalgamation and funds

Murali added: “Southern makers feel the overall value of their films increases when they cast actors from other industries. This helps them convince corporate houses to fund them and also opens a market in other states. For example, Prabhas is known in Kerala. With Prithviraj in Salaar, it is sure to get a bumper opening in Kerala as well.”

“It is the same with all states. The locals who are averse to watching dubbed films of other industry’s superstars feel motivated to watch them because it has their local stars. This helps business in a big way,” explained Murali.

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