ALL you need for a movie is a girl, a gun, lots of singing, melodrama and never-ending dance sequences. Or so a big chunk of the Indian audience believes. But Bollywood, the cosmopolitan Hindi-language film hub that is the spiritual home of the song-and-dance routine, has been bested by an upstart rival. “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion”, a fantasy epic shot mainly in two southern Indian languages, has smashed the country’s box-office records. Once in Bollywood’s shadow, the likes of Kollywood and Tollywood are coming into their own.
India puts out around 1,500-2,000 films a year, according to industry estimates, more than anywhere else in the world. Hindi fare of the sort Bollywood cranks out from Mumbai makes up less than a fifth of that, but accounts for 43% of national box-office takings, which are worth around $2bn. That leaves a long tail of regional films, which must split around $1bn across 1,000-plus releases shot in…Continue reading