The Indian film industry has mainly been dominated by the Hindi film industry based in Mumbai, known as Bollywood. On the other hand, Tollywood refers to the regional film industry based in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Superstars and high-grossing films have been the hallmark of Bollywood for decades.
In recent years, Tollywood has broken its regional limits and captured the imagination of the Hindi-speaking and worldwide audience. From Bahubali to Pushpa to RRR, Tollywood has come up with hugely popular movies that rocked the box office in India and abroad, outshining Bollywood movies released in the same period.
In 2021, the Tollywood industry grossed Rs. 1070 crore, while Bollywood settled for just Rs. 771 crore. As per film industry experts, the trend will not change in 2022, with Tollywood expected to get over 50% of the total box office collections this year.
There are several reasons why Tollywood has stolen a march over Bollywood. Let’s have a look at some of the major reasons.
Lack of Original Content in Bollywood
Content is the king, which is why Bollywood is stumbling while Tollywood is reaching newer heights. Tollywood is known for unique stories, thrilling action sequences, and elegant love stories. Dubbing in Hindi and other languages has expanded the reach of these movies drastically, leading to widespread appreciation. As a result, Tollywood movies are successful in attracting an audience.
Bollywood is known for plagiarising content. Bollywood filmmakers are by and largely unable to create their content has caused immense damage to the industry’s reputation. There is no dearth of Bollywood movies that are nothing but remakes of Tollywood movies. Many top actors and producers are currently engaged in remaking many Tollywood movies.
The modern audience wants original content, which Bollywood fails to provide. On the other hand, Tollywood movies have succeeded in fulfilling this demand. Bollywood needs to create original content rather than copying films made in Tollywood and other film industries.
The Negative Image of Bollywood
Accusations of a certain cliche of celebrity superstars and their children dominating Bollywood and stifling talented actors have always been hurled at Bollywood. Bollywood is accused of promoting nepotism, hurting religious sentiments, and promoting anti-India forces. However, Sushant Singh Rajput’s death proved to be a tipping point because the public perception is that Sushant was the victim of nepotism, leading to his death either by suicide or design.
Bollywood has a penchant for portraying the majority community of India in a bad light. The culture and traditions of the majority community are ridiculed in most Bollywood movies. This has led to a backlash in the last few years, especially due to the advent of social media. As a result, Bollywood has acquired a reputation for hurting religious sentiments, leading to boycott calls that are finding traction among a large audience.
The tendency of many top Bollywood actors, directors, and other members to speak in favor of forces inimical to India and associate themselves with campaigns against the sovereignty and integrity of India has led to the industry being labeled anti-national. The anti-national image of Bollywood has started to hurt it immensely.
The Tollywood industry enjoys a much better reputation as compared to Bollywood. Tollywood is free from such criticisms. The movies made in the Tollywood industry neither hurt religious sentiments nor portray the culture and traditions of India in a negative light.
Reasonable Fees of The Tollywood Actors
Tollywood actors have a flat fee structure which also depends on their movie box office performance. Since a large part of the production cost is not taken away by the actors, the producers can invest more in perfecting the quality of the movies.
Bollywood’s celebrity stars charge huge fees. They also get a share of the profits in addition to the fee. A celebrity actor gets huge fees regardless of the movie’s performance at the box office. Many talented filmmakers cannot procure astronomical funds to cover the fees of hiring celeb actors and other production costs.
Performance of The Big Stars
Bollywood’s big stars such as Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Kangana Ranaut, Ranbir Kapoor, and others have failed to shine at the box office for some years. The big releases before and after the Covid-19 pandemic, such as Radhe, Thalaivi, 83, Dhakad, Prithviraj Chauhan, Shamshera, and others, failed at the box office. The slide of the A-listers has damaged Bollywood significantly.
Tollywood stars such as Alla Arjun, Prabhas, Ram Charan, Pawan Kalyan, and many others have become immensely popular even among the Hindi-speaking audience. The massive hits such as Bahubali, KGF, RRR, and Pushpa have catapulted them to greater stardom.
In the current scenario, Tollywood’s prospects appear much brighter than Bollywood’s. The Bollywood industry has to develop better films to arrest its slide.