A staggering 1,907 films in 41 languages were certified in India in the 2015-16 timeframe. The Hindi-language industry led the way with 340 films, followed by Tamil with 291, Telugu (275), Kannada (204), Marathi (181) and Malayalam (168). The Indian film industry grew overall by 3% in the financial year 2016-17, but domestic theatrical declined from $1.6 billion in the previous year to $1.5 billion, according to the annual KPMG industry report. This is due to the continuing underperformance of Bollywood, which contributed just $575 million. The growth is largely powered by the regional industries led by Telugu- and Tamil-language productions, followed by the Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi and Gujarati languages.A telling indicator of the strength of regional cinema is April 28 release “Baahubali: The Conclusion,” the sequel to 2015’s “Baahubali: The Beginning” that collected $100 million worldwide. The Telugu-language film was also released in Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi versions and grossed a mighty $81 million in its opening weekend, including $10.1 million in North America where it bowed in third place at the box office.
“What regional cinema does really well is to tell stories rooted in its culture and is aimed at a specific audience,” says the mono-monikered Vetrimaaran. “In my opinion, this rootedness helps regional cinema travel globally. Hindi cinema, in trying to cater to multicultural audiences across India, loses that and sometimes becomes confused and generic.”
Read more: Variety