Bollywood’s Tryst with Tamils


Any film is autopoietic in nature – fabricated by a team with assistance from technical sources and then finally released for a mass audience. But it is debatable whether “Indian cinema” (consisting of over 18 cinematic cultures) has been suitably exposed to other societies and cultures.

Bollywood is often used incorrectly to refer to the whole of Indian cinema. However, it is only a part of the large Indian film industry and is one of the largest centers of film production in the world.

Tamils – as actors, directors, technicians, musicians, and the audience – have been and continue to be a part of this huge industry.

Tamils were once the butt of jokes in Hindi cinema. But as of late, there has been a leap of change in this industry, experimenting with various genres to keep up with the competition and to gain viewership. Tamil culture, people and cinema have been at the forefront of this change in Bollywood.

Remakes of Tamil hit movies, cameo appearances of Tamil film stars, usage of Tamil words in movies and songs, and dedication to Tamil legends are some of the recent trends in Bollywood.

Ghajini (2008) is a remake of a Tamil movie with the same title, directed by Murgadoss and starring Aamir Khan. It holds the notable distinction of being the first movie to break the 1 billion barrier in Hindi cinema.

Singham (2011) is an action film and a remake of the 2010 Tamil blockbuster with the same title. It was a huge hit at the box office and became one of the highest grossing movies of 2011.

Ra.One (2011) is a science fiction film starring Shah Rukh Khan. It had a cameo appearance by southern film superstar Rajinikanth and a song titled “Chammak Challo” by hip hop artist Akon and Hamsika Iyer. The lyrics of the song are primarily in Hindi and Tamil with a few English lines.

Chennai Express (2013) is an action comedy film of a man’s journey to Rameshwaram. Along the way, he falls in love with the daughter (Deepika) of a Tamil don (Sathyaraj). The film has several Tamil personalities in minor roles and features some Tamil dialogue. It became the fastest movie to gross 1 billion and the second Bollywood film to surpass 2 billion.

The best part of this film was the song “Lungi Dance”, a tribute to Rajinikanth (fondly called Thalaiva), one of the leading actors of Tamil cinema. Lungi Dance is a gaana style song, frequently trumpeting the word “Thalaiva”. It was composed and sung by Indian rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh, who earlier paired up with Hiphop Tamizha for a song in the Tamil movie Ethir Neechal.

Madras Cafe (2013) is an Indian political espionage thriller with the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war. The film was initially titled Jaffna (Yalpanam) and dubbed in Tamil. However, the movie was not released in Tamil Nadu, UK, Canada and a few other places owing to protests by the pro-Tamil organizations in regards to the depiction of Tamils in the movie.

2 States (2014) is a romantic comedy film based on the novel of the same name by best-selling author Chetan Bhagat. The film is about a Punjabi guy falling in love with a girl from a conservative Tamil Brahmin family. The film also includes a loud Punjabi mother who does not get along with reserved Tamilian parents and who continuously make snide remarks about Tamil culture.

According to Anurag Kashyap (Indian film director, screenwriter and producer) known for his realistic hard-hitting films and who draws huge inspiration from the Tamil film industry:

“There’s a whole new wave in Tamil cinema… They’ve made the most extraordinary films in the last two years, and at the national level people don’t even know about it.”

The result is that Tamils, once the butt of jokes in Bollywood, are now the epitome of cool.

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Praveen Suresh

Praveen Suresh

Born and raised in Bangalore, India, Praveen holds a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and master's degree in Engineering Management. He is cuurently pursuing Post Grduate Diploma in Human Rights Law. Praveen is also a Debater, Public Speaker and Emcee.

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13 thoughts on “Bollywood’s Tryst with Tamils

  1. Ahaha Kumar, you have not changed. I agree with some, but honestly half of those remakes were really crappy 😛

  2. This is where I get confused with you North Indians, I got one telling me they are crappy and one telling me they are awesome

  3. Some of the remakes are terrible, but some of them can get pretty good. The movies that use south indians and other tamils get really funny

  4. Enlightening Praveen for one who indulges in occasional Indian cinema, will start on your list.Learnt Egyptian history in school but not Tamil history despite Tamil lands being British territory for centuries like Ireland. Tamil cinema influencing Hindi cinema is interesting considering that Tamils & the alike in the South are considered the indigenous Indians, about time.

  5. Seriously TAMILS rock the cinema scene!!! Why can’t Bollywood come up with their own storiesU0001f604instead of borrowing ours!!! Wait all they think is that partially nude men and women will sell their movies … I don’t think so !! So sad!

  6. Bolywood?Bolywood is only good at remaking tamil movies and nothing else…
    Tamil film industry proved that it has greater creativity and richer in terms of money than bollywood
    its the highest budget with great efforts by actor and team
    Even Bollywood copyin more film from Kollywood only
    see the list of copied films
    * Saathiya( inclding Music remade from Alaipayuthey
    * The Gentleman(1994) remade from Gentleman(1992)
    * Nayak: The Real Hero remade from Mudhalvan
    * Ghajini(Hindi) remade from Ghajini(Tamil)
    * Kambakkht Ishq remade from Pammal K. Sambandam
    * Wanted remade from Pokkiri
    * Virasat remade from Thevar Magan
    * Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein including music remaked from Minnale
    * Bhool Bhulaiya remade from Chandramukhi
    * Billu remaked from Kuselan
    * Run(Hindi)2004 remade from Run(Tamil)2002
    * Rosa dubbed from Roja
    * Abhay dubbed from Aalavandhan
    * Bombay(Hindi) dubbed from Bombay
    * Chor Chor dubbed from Thiruda Thiruda
    * Chachi 420 remade from Avvai Shanmugi
    * Hindustani dubbed from Indian
    * Jeans dubbed from Jeans
    * Aparijit dubbed from Anniyan
    * Tere Naam remade from Sethu
    * Dil Hi Dil Mein dubbed from Kadhalar Dhinam
    * Duniya Dilwalon Ki dubbed from Kadhal Desam
    * Mr. Romeo dubbed from the same title Mr. Romeo
    * Sapnay dubbed from Minsara Kanavu
    * Humse Hai Muqabala dubbed from Kadhalan
    * Khushi(2004) remade from Kushi(2000)
    * Little John dubbed from Little John
    * Lakeer Music remade from Rhythm
    * Yuva is the Bilingual version of Aayutha Ezhuthu
    * 13B is the Bilingual version of Yavarum Nalam
    * Heyram is the Bilingual version of Hey Ram
    * Raavan is the Bilingual version of Ashokavanam
    * Mumbai Express is the Bilingual Version of Mumbai Express
    Just take the best technicians of bollywood all are tamil people or from Kollywood. A.r.Rahman(india’s number one music director and world’s one of the best), Manirathnam,ravik.chandran(black cameraman),niravsha(dhoom cameraman),manikandan(om shanthi om cameraman), without Kollywood no more bollywood.

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