Southern invasion!

By HT

New Delhi, June 1 -- There's always been that one odd hero from the Tamil or Telugu film industry in Bollywood every now and then, but never have there been so many, until now. This seems to be the year of debuts for Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam male actors in the Hindi film industry.

While Malayalam actor Prithviraj, 31, made his Bollywood debut last October in Aiyyaa, alongside Rani Mukerji, it's only with his recent release, Aurangzeb, that his arrival has been acknowledged. This month will see Chennai's heartthrob Rajinikanth's son-in-law Dhanush, 31, and Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi's son Ram Charan, 28, strike Bollywood with Raanjhanaa and the remake of the 1973 hit Zanjeer, respectively.

And, by the end of this year, popular Telugu actor Mahesh Babu, 38, will be seen in the yet-to-be-named project by the Go Goa Gone director duo, Krishna DK-Raj Nidimoru. A

d-man and image consultant Prahlad Kakkar feels that all of these men have a fair possibility to woo Hindi cinema audiences. "Actors from the regional films are no more those paunchy, moustached heroes. These new breed of men are all good-looking, smart, and have everything it takes to cut a niche and survive in Bollywood," says Kakkar.

He adds, "Mahesh Babu and Ram Charan are both handsome fellows and brilliant actors, so there's no reason that they won't be accepted here. Dhanush is a wonderful actor too and he tends to grow on you, so he'll certainly be popular among the masses."

Agrees industry analyst Atul Mohan, "Nothing creates more impact than a good story and good actors. All these men are top notch actors, and both Raanjhanaa and Deewar have great storylines too, so I'm sure the audience will love them. Prithviraj has done an excellent job in Aurangzeb so he's here to stay. And for Dhanush of course, his Kolaveri Di fame is an added advantage," says Mohan.

In the recent past, male actors from Tamil films who have made a mark in Bollywood include R Madhavan (3 Idiots) and Siddharth of the Rang De Basanti fame

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