Bollywood goes gaga over southern flavour

By Hindustan Times

After exploring Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, Bollywood is now going down south, with Chennai having become the hot spot for many film shootings. Shah Rukh Khan’s Chennai Express and John Abraham’s Madras Café will give audience a flavour of the South. If these are not enough, actor Sanjay Dutt too is shooting in Chennai for his upcoming release Policegiri, a Hindi remake of hit south film Saamy.

John’s film Madras Café was earlier titled Jaafna, Did he change the title keeping the trend in mind? “Oh…I did not think about it but it’s an interesting trend. We decided to change the title because we never got rights to Jaafna and Madras Café suited the script best as this café in Chennai plays an important role in the film,” he said. The political thriller directed by Shoojit Sircar deals with terrorism and is primarily shot in south India as well as Sri Lanka and Delhi.

Shah Rukh’s Chennai Express too talks about a man’s journey from Mumbai to Rameshwaram. While most South Indian critics praised the film for incorporating their breed of cinema into mainstream Bollywood, there were some who claimed first posters of the film stereotyped their culture. To this, Khan, who enjoyed shooting down south said “The film’s poster was not meant to poke fun. It has a very interesting concept that in our country there are so many languages, cultures and the idea is that love conquers all that. The whole idea is very positive. I read that we are making fun of South India but we are not.”

Trade expert Atul Mohan decodes Bollywood’s sudden fixation with Chennai: “The flavour of the season changes. Last year it was Kolkata, before that Delhi and now Chennai. It is a clever ploy to attract the south audience by exploring their culture on big screen and earn profits, as right now south Indian films dominate the box office there.”

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