How southern directors made their Bollywood debuts

New Delhi: It was nearly a week ago that noted Telugu filmmaker Krish made his Bollywood debut, when ‘Gabbar is Back’, released amidst much fanfare. As luck would have it, the action-drama got off to a decent start at the box office, helping the director add another feather to his cap.

Here is a quick look at the maiden Hindi films of some other south Indian filmmakers who have over the years managed to carve a niche for themselves in Bollywood.

K Balachander (Aaina): Considered to be one of the most revered names in the Tamil film industry, K Balachander made his Bollywood directorial debut with the 1977 release ‘Aaina’. A remake of his own Tamil film ‘Arangetram’, this hard hitting movie revolved a Brahmin girl being forced to become a sex-worker. It featured critically acclaimed actress Mumtaz and Rajesh Khanna in the lead.

Balu Mahendra (Sadma): Often credited as the man who introduced realism to Tamil cinema, Balu Mahendra made his Bollywood debut in 1983 with ‘Sadma’. Featuring Kamal Haasan and Sridevi in the lead, the film managed to create quite a stir amongst critics and audiences alike, courtesy his heartbreaking climax and natural performances. Interestingly, Mahendra originally wanted to cast Dimple Kapadia in the lead. However, the ‘Bobby’ actress had to turn down the offer, thanks to a packed schedule.

Priyadarshan (Muskurahat): It was in the 1980s that Priyadarshan established himself as one of the most bankable directors of Malayalam cinema, thanks to successful outings such as ‘Boeing Boeing’ and ‘Aram+Aram=Kinnaram’. Thereafter, in the 1992 he decided to venture into Hindi cinema with a romantic-comedy titled ‘Muskurahat’. A remake of the Mohanlal starrer ‘Kilukkam’, it featured Amrish Puri and Revathy in the lead.

Despite huge expectations, the film tanked at the box office. However, since then, Priyadarshan has made quite a name for himself in Bollywood because of successful outings such as ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’ and ‘Garam Masala’.

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Mani Ratnam (Dil Se): After creating quite a buzz in the Tamil film industry with some simple, yet gripping films such as ‘Bombay and ‘Roja’, Mani Ratnam decided to give Bollywood a taste of his unique filmmaking style with ‘Dil Se’. Starring Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala, it highlighted the terrible impact that terrorism has on human relationships. ‘Dil Se’ proved to be a huge hit with critics and audiences alike.

Shankar (Nayak): Best known for taking a firm against corruption through hard-hitting films such as ‘Indian’, popular Tamil Shankar entered Bollywood with the 2001 release ‘Nayak’. A remake of ‘Mudhalvan, it features Anil Kapoor and Rani Mukerji in the lead roles. Revolving around a journalist’s fight against the corrupt system, ‘Nayak’ failed to find many takers at the ticket window. Since then the filmmaker has limited himself to Tamil films. His last release was ‘I’ which starred Vikram and Amy Jackson.

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How southern directors made their Bollywood debuts

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