Last Updated: 10.39 AM, Jan 27, 2023
Marathi romantic drama Ved directed by Riteish Deshmukh and featuring him in the lead role has emerged as one of the highest grossers in the language, making over Rs. 55 crore at the box office at last count.
The breather comes after several months of dry spell at the box office. Bollywood isn’t the only one affected by the growing penchant for southern cinema across India. Cinemagoers have also been giving a tepid response to films in other regional languages such as Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati and Bengali.
Trade experts say these smaller regional films have been slow in recovery from the pandemic, garnering less than 40% of pre-covid traffic at the box office. Except for a few hits in Punjabi and Marathi in the first half of last year, the second half was witness to more flops.
Also, just a handful of OTT players such as SonyLIV, ZEE5 and Amazon Prime Video are showing any interest in acquiring streaming rights of these films, which in turn is affecting the ability of producers to invest in new productions. Experts feel that the current scenario is making producers go slow in resuming the flow of regular releases as audiences have become more selective.
Regional language film hits have been pretty scattered so far and even regular slate of releases haven’t resumed like pre-covid times, at least in languages like Marathi and Bengali. The last big Punjabi money-spinner, Saukan Saukne starring Ammy Virk made Rs. 22 crore within a fortnight of its release in May in markets like Punjab and Delhi NCR, as per trade website Box Office India.
Marathi cinema too has seen titles like Sher Shivraj, Chandramukhi and Daagdi Chaawl 2 perform decently, but the hits have been few.
Just like Hindi cinema, viewers of regional language content too have been exposed to programming from across the world and have become selective.