The dubbed Hindi version of the Kannada film KGF starring Yash and directed by Prashanth Neel, is doing better business than the new Shah Rukh Khan starrer Zero.
This should be a cause for concern for not just Shah Rukh but the other Bollywood superstars who have dominated the pan-India box office.
According to trade sources KGF is not only a certifiable blockbuster in its home state Karnataka where its collections are next only to Rajamouli’s Baahubali, it has also scored a telling victory in the Hindi belt with its dubbed Hindi version.
The film’s leading man Yash who is known as the ‘Rocking Star’ in Karnataka says he is most gratified by the response. “I won’t say that doing better than a Shah Rukh Khan film in Hindi speaking belts is something I aspire to do. Ideally I would want both the films to do well. But yes, the way North Indian audiences have responded has surprised all of us in the KGF team. In North India they don’t know who I am.Yet they are clapping and cheering at my entry.”
Did Yash expect this level of success for KGF? “We knew we had made a film that would do us proud. We wanted to take Kannada cinema to another level. So far we were seen as underdogs. We wanted that to end. And we’ve succeeded in doing that.”
Yash says the Hindi , Tamil and Telugu dubbed versions of KGF were not treated as typical dubbed products. “We worked really hard on the dubbing to ensure there were no overlaps in the lip-sync. Also the cultural references in the dialogues had to be changed. Certain words and phrases in Kannada have an entirely different connotation in Tamil or Hindi.”
Bollywood trade expert Girish Johar feels the tag of regionalism must be completely removed after Baahubali and KGF. “With the advent of mpxs and modernisation regional stories are being watched more by their respective native audiences. Their localisation and connect with their kind of stories is getting stronger and bigger. This is clearly evident from the recently released KGF which has worked superbly in its local belt and has surged strongly ahead of the Global star SRK’s Zero at many places dominated by the local audiences. This is gonna stay now. We have to make pan Indian audience stories and films to attract all audiences else local films will now be taking over more frequently.”
Adds trade analyst Amod Mehra, “After the success of Baahubali more and more South films are being dubbed in Hindi. The success of KGF over Zero proves the point that if the content is good then even if the film is dubbed, it does not make a difference.”