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Exodus From Down South With Love & Vice Versa


Jyothi Venkatesh

Today, every other actress from down South is making her debut in Bollywood since it has become a fad here in Bollywood not only to procure the rights of the Tamil hits and churn out hit after hit like Simbba, Kabir Singh, Rowdy Rathore etc but also launch the Hindi versions with popular South heroines.

Asin made waves when she bagged the offer to act in the Hindi remake of the Tamil hit Ghajini opposite Aamir Khan when the Tamil film with the same title was remade in Hindi with Aamir had Asin. Asin followed up her Ghajini act with several films in Hindi including Bol Bachchan, London Dreams etc, before she decided to get married and settle down. Already Kajal Aggarwal made her debut opposite Ajay Devgn in the Hindi remake of the Tamil hit Singham and is now following it up with Special Chabbis opposite Akshay Kumar. Tamannah Bhatia who is a big name down South tried her lucky once again  in Bollywood with the remake of the 80’s hit Himmatwala which was made by Sajid Khan with Ajay in the role that Jeetendra did in the original and Tamanna playing the role that Sridevi did.

Priyamani, cousin of Vidya Balan made her debut in Hindi films with Ramgopal Varma’s Rakta Charitra and followed it up with a special appearance in a dance number in Chennai Express but could not click the way she has been able to in the South. Priyamani has now staged her comeback with the web series The Family Man as Manoj Bajpayee’s wife.

The list does not end here. Today lured by the prospects of getting International fame by working in Bollywood, more and more young girls who have already made a name for themselves down South are inching ahead towards Bollywood. There is Taapsi Pannu who shot to fame in South with the Tamil hit Aadu Kalam opposite Dhanush of Why This Kolaveri fame, established herself in Bollywood too after making her debut in Hindi films with David Dhawan’s remake of the 70’s hit Chasme Buddoor.

Why do girls from down South end eventually up as ruling box office queens in Bollywood whereas actors like Kamal Haasan and Rajanikant seldom get to continue to work in Hindi films? The reason is simple. As Rohit Shetty who cast Asin in Bol Bachchan and Kajal Aggarwal in Singham puts it succinctly, “There is always a demand for girls because a vast majority of the audience happens to be males who are susceptible to fantasies spawned by the damsels on the screen. It is always the males who drool over the unattainable females and not the other way round.”

There have been very few damsels from down South who have been able to sashay in Bollywood and achieve instant success as reigning queens till date. Vyjayanthimala Bali was perhaps among the first few who made it big in Bollywood, when she breezed in Hindi films with Bahaar which was the remake of the Tamil hit Vazhkkai. Though of Tamil origin, Vyjanthimala was also fluent in Hindi. After her success in Tamil films, she got roles in Hindi films like Ladki and Nagin (1954). The music by Hemant Kumar and her dance to the “Man Dole Mera tan dole” song in Nagin made the movie a huge hit and helped her break out of B grade movies.

Bimal Roy noticed her and cast her as Chandramukhi opposite Dilip Kumar in the critically acclaimed Devdas. She also made it to Bimal Roy’s most commercially successful film Madhumati again with Dilip Kumar, with whom she also had several other successful films such as Ganga Jamuna and Leader. She also worked with Raj Kapoor in Sangam, and there were rumours of an affair with Raj Kapoor during this film (causing a stir as she was believed to be from the Dilip Kumar camp). She also worked with Dev Anand in Jewel Thief ,with Rajendra Kumar in Suraj ,with Shammi Kapoor in Prince and with Kishore Kumar in his inane and zany comedies.

After getting married to Raj Kapoor’s personal physician Dr Bali, she took a mutual decision that she would quit films. She moved to Chennai and brought up her son Suchinder. She joined politics later and won an election to become a Lok Sabha (lower house) M.P (Member of Parliament). She later got nominated to the upper house as an M.P. She refused to accept the Best Supporting Actress Award from Filmfare in 1956 for her performance in Devdas, saying that she was not a supporting actress, but the heroine, so she should get the award for Best Actress. It was the first and only time someone ever refused a Filmfare Award.

Saroja Devi was a flavor in the Hindi films of the 60’s like Bharosa but could not click in a big way in Bollywood like she did in the South though she was teamed opposite a jubilee star like Rajendra Kumar. Rekha who made her debut with the Hindi film Sawan Bhadon has also stood the test of time in Bollywood. Hema Malini breezed in her way to Bollywood through Sapno Ka Saudagar opposite none other than Raj Kapoor way back in 1967 and has been able to firmly entrench herself as a part and parcel of Bollywood.

Today, Hema Malini wants to forget that she had made a small appearance in the Tamil film Idhu Sathiyam and had been rejected by director Sridhar when she was auditioned for a role in his film Vennira Aadai. The role went to Jayalalitha and Hey Raam is till date the only Tamil film that Hema Malini condescended to act after she shot to greater heights fame –wise. Hey Raam was made by Kamal Haasan. Not many are aware of the fact that Kamal had approached Vyjayanthimala too to make a special cameo in his film Vishwaroopam 2 but she turned it down and the role went to Waheeda Rehman, who, by the way, is yet another actress from the South who made it big in Bollywood.

While Jayaprada made it big in Bollywood with her first film Sargam itself, Sridevi began her tryst with Hindi films as a child star with K Sethumadhavan’s film Julie in which she played the younger sister of Laxmi, when she was just twelve, before she made her debut as an adult with Solva Sawan opposite Amol Palekar. Though Solva Sawan flopped, Himmatwala, with Jeetendra as her hero, established her overnight as an actress, who can work magic at the box office.

Padmini could not sustain her success though at one time she was the dream girl in the real sense of the term even before Hema Malini had arrived in Bollywood . Like Hema Malini, she had Raj Kapoor as her leading man in films like Mera Naam Joker, Aashiq, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai etc. A terrific danseuse, Padmini proved that she was a good actress with her film Mr Sampat (Hindi) in which she had Motilal pitted in the lead opposite her.

Though  Jayalalitha, the late Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was a buxom beauty in the 70’s, she unfortunately proved to be a one film wonder as far as Bollywood is concerned, since after her debut in Izzat with Dharmendra as her leading man, she did not pursue her career in Bollywood and decided to stick to Tamil films where she proved to be a demi Goddess and worked in several films with the reigning Gods there – Sivaji Ganeshan and MGR. Jayalalitha had also acted in the English film called The Epistle way back in 1961 when she was just at the age of 15. Nadiyai Thedi Vandha Kadal was her last film as an actress before she quit acting and plunged headlong into politics. Like Jayalalitha, Trisha Krishnan also disappeared from Hindi films after debuting with Akshay Kumar in Priyadarshan’s film film Khatta Meetha.

The temperamental Laxmi could not consolidate her position in Bollywood and disappeared after her super duper debut film Julie, a remake of the Malayalam hit Chattakkari  in which she had essayed the same role that she was asked to play again in the Hindi remake. She was seen again in dismal flops like Aangan Ki Kali and Charandas and Bollywood lost a good actress in the bargain.

 Bhanupriya began her film acting career when she was just 17 years old. Her first film was Mella Pesungal (1983) in Tamil.  T. Rama Rao introduced her in Bollwood with Dosti Dushmani and she followed it up with Insaaf Ki Pukar, Khudgarz, Tamacha, Dav Pech, Mar Mitenge, Gareebon Ka Daata, Kasam Vardi Ki, Surya, Zehreelay and Bhabhi. However, poor Bhanupriya could never become a Sridevi or a Jaya Prada in Bollywood. Tamil Cinema’s ace actor, Sivaji Ganesan, whom was also seen in Hindi in Dharti, which was a remake of Sivandha Mann (Tamil), had mentioned in one of his interviews that Bhanupriya was the only actress from the younger generation who could match her acting ability with Savithri and Padmini. Superstar Chiranjeevi mentioned that he enjoyed the chemistry with other actresses while dancing but with Bhanupriya he missed out on that as she always concentrated on the technical aspects of her footwork and treated him as a competitor instead of a co-star. Khushboo had mentioned in an interview that one role that she would not be able to do justice was the role Bhanupriya enacted in Aararo Ariraro (Tamil).

Shanthi Priya, the sister of Bhanu Priya made her debut with the Akshay Kumar starrer Saugandh. She acted with Mithun Chakraborty in many hit movies like Mere Sajana Saath Nibhana, Phool Aur Angaar and Meherbaan. After Hamilton Palace along with Mahakshay Chakraborty, son of Mithunda. Shanti Priya married actor Siddharth , who had acted in films like Baazigar and Vansh. Unfortunately, Siddharth died of a massive heart attack, leaving behind his two kids Shubham and Shishya. Incidentally, Siddharth alias Sushant was the grandson of V. Shantaram.

Though it was with Manoj Kumar’s Painter Babu that Meenakshi Seshadri was introduced in Bollywood, it was Subhash Ghai’s Hero that catapulted her to the top echelons of stardom. Meenakshi was quite a popular actress of her times and had acted even with Amitabh Bachchan in Ganga Jamuna Saraswati. It was only after she married to an investment banker in USA that she quit films and settled down to a life of domesticity

 Sumalatha made her debut in Hindi films with K.C. Bokadia’s Jawab Hum Denge in which her costars were Jackie Shroff and Sridevi. She followed it up with films like Sawrag Yahan Narak Yahan and Dushman Duniya Ka, Aaj Ka Goondaraaj, Pratibandh and New Delhi but after her marriage to Kannada super star Ambarish, she decided to take a sabbatical from acting in films. Now though she has quit acting in films, after the death of her husband Ambareesh, she is an M.P now

After a failed 2003 debut Tujhe Meri Kasam, Genelia moved down South and hit the box office with a bang. She established herself as a leading actress in Telugu cinema, before returning back to Bollywood with the film Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. Genelia is now happily married to actor Riteish Deshmukh.

Shreya Sharan is one actress who not just rules the throne in Tamil and Telugu movies, but has also made a mark whenever she has appeared in a Bollywood film, to cite Awarapan and Drishyam as two examples. Like father, like daughter. Though she is yet to give a blockbuster in Bollywood, Kamal Haasan’s darling daughter Shruti Haasan ought to get brownie points for her hotness and singing talent. She shows spark though she is still waiting for her big film. On the other hand, Kamal and Sarika’s second daughter has not been seen in any film after she made her debut with Shamitabh and followed it up with Laloo Ki Shaadi Mein Laddoo Deewana. Ileana D’Cruz entered Bollywood with Barfi, but only after making a strong base in Telugu industry. She has been only taking up Hindi projects ever since.


From the chocolate-boy in Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein to the boxing coach in Saala Khadoos, Madhavan has proven his versatility. He was spotted by Mani Ratnam in a Hindi TV serial and that’s where his cinematic journey began. While maintaining a footing in the South, he also kept churning out remarkable Hindi films like Rang De Basanti3 Idiots and Tanu Weds Manu.

He entered Bollywood with a bang in Dum Maaro Dum. Then he did Department, Baby and a lovely cameo in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Even while he kept his footing in Telugu cinema, Rana Daggupati’s personality and chiseled physique has impressed us all. To top it all, he played Bhallaladeva in Baahubali. Do we need to say more? Rana is now waiting to make a mark in Hindi once again with Sajid Nadiadwala’s Housefuil 4 in which he had replaced Nana Patekar.

Dhanush too captured everyone’s imagination with Raanjhanaa and then Shamitabh, but unfortunately for Rajinikanth’s son-in-law who is so talented, he has not been able to survive in Bollywood though he set out to produce the Hollywood film The Extra Ordinary Journey of The Fakir.Prakash Raj is so good in playing the bad man! He is one of the most sought after actors to play negative roles in South Indian films. He prefers to take up big projects and has been appreciated in Khakee, Wanted, Singham, Buddha Hoga Tera Baap and Dabanng 2.After he tasted failure with his political stint, Prakash Raj is now back to films and is now turning a director with Tadka starring Taapsi Pannu and Ali Fazal with Nana Patekar.

The list of Tamil actors who tried their luck in Bollywood does not end there. There were also actresses like Sadhana and Akhalya who had made their debut with the C grade Hindi film Badnnaam but luck did not favor their tryst in Bollywood. So did Radha, sister of Ambika try her luck but could not make it at all after she appeared in a Hindi film with Jeetendra, though the producers tried to cash in on the brand name of Sridevi by having hordes of hoardings all over town  proclaiming at that time that “She is Radha, not Sridevi.” Today, the scenario has changed completely and films which are being made in Hindi are also being dubbed in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. You could watch Pehelwaan in Hindi dubbed version as well as its dubbed versions in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam, besides the Kannada original version Pehelwaan. Similarly War has also been dubbed in Telugu and Tamil while Sye Raa Narasimha Rao produced by super star Chiranjeevi has been made in Telugu and dubbed in not only Hindi but also Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.

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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, South Indian Stars, South Indian Films, Dhanush, Chiranjeevi, Rana Daggupati, Sridevi, Rekha, Asin, Taapsee Pannu, Kajal Agarwal,