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Rediff News  All News  » Movies » Rajnikanth to Ram Charan: How These South Heroes Fared in Bollywood

Rajnikanth to Ram Charan: How These South Heroes Fared in Bollywood

Last updated on: September 04, 2013 18:42 IST

Image: Ram Charan Teja in Zanjeer

The lure of Bollywood hasn't escaped South.

Though there's no dearth of fame or success, the desire to wow the Hindi-speaking belt has attracted Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada cinema's biggest names.

If some achieved instant fame, others sporadically, some fizzled on the spot while still others strive to make their mark, the degree of popularity is varying.

In comparison, while there's no issue in working on remakes of super hit South Indian movies, it's rare to see a Bollywood superstar doing a full-fledged role outside its Mumbai-based industry.

Ironically, Telugu star Ram Charan Teja is all set to make his Hindi film debut in a remake of Prakash Mehra's 1973 classic, Zanjeer, which catapulted Amitabh Bachchan in the big league.

While his fate gets decided on September 6, here's a report card of how South Indian actors have fared in Bollywood.


Image: Sridevi and Rajnikanth in Chaalbaaz

He stands for all things larger-than-life and cool with his trademark style and part-heroic, part-amusing antics.

But the star of innumerable Tamil and Telugu films struck his magic on Bollywood screen with his undeniable appeal in action, comedy and drama through films like Andha Kanoon, Geraftaar, Hum, Chaalbaaz and, recently, a delightful cameo in Ra.One.

Even dubbed fare like Sivaj: The Boss and Robot met with enthusiastic response underscoring his massive following nationwide.

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Kamal Haasan

Image: Kamal Haasan and Rati Agnihotri in Ek Duje Ke Liye

While Rajni's charisma is inimitable, Kamal Haasan's talent is held high in esteem.

He made his debut in Hindi films in K Balachander's Aaina in a blink and miss role only to follow it up with the leading man's part in the same filmmaker's hit romance, Ek Dujje Ke Liye opposite Rati Agnihotri.

The good run continued with entertainers like Sanam Teri Kasam, Sadma, Raj Tilak, Sagar, Geraftaar and Chachi 420.

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Image: Nagarjuna in Shiva

The handsome hero left an indelible mark with his debut in Ram Gopal Varma's Shiva, a Hindi remake of their earlier collaboration in Telugu. The duo, however, failed to recreate the same impact with Drohi.

Ditto for his subsequent films with major filmmakers like Mukul Anand (Khuda Gawah) and Mahesh Bhatt (Criminal, Zakhm).

Content with a flourishing career back home, Nagarjuna steered clear of any more attempts.

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Image: Mohanlal in company

Malayalam superstar made his entry in Bollywood rather late in the day.

Again, it was Ram Gopal Varma who roped him for the role of a unrelenting cop in Company. Like everything else about the underworld drama, his performance too won appreciation.

Though never the main focus of the film, the Mohanlal impact got diluted in dreadful flops like Ramgopal Varma Ki Aag and Priyadarshan's Tezz.

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Image: Mammootty in poster of Dhartiputra

Unlike his illustrious career in Malayalam cinema, Mammootty's stint in Bollywood is laden with Iqbal Durrani's eminently forgettable Dhartiputra co-starring Jaya Prada and the little-seen Sau Jhooth Ek Sach.

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Image: Venkatesh in the poster of Anari

Telugu star Venkatesh's first Hindi film, Anari where he plays a simple-minded villager at the receiving end of Karisma Kapoor's many pranks, did well at the box office.

He followed it up with the frolicsome fantasy-comedy, Taqdeerwala co-starring Kader Khan and Raveena Tandon. But despite it's droll tone, it wasn't a box office draw and Venkatesh bid adieu to Bollywood.

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Arvind Swamy

Image: Arvind Swamy and Madhoo in Roja

Tamil actor Arvind Swamy caught the eye of a bigger audience with the Hindi dub of Mani Ratnam's Roja and Bombay.

But neither his charms nor his performance could salvage flops his all out Bollywood endeavours like Saat Rang Ke Sapne and Raja Ko Rani Se Pyaar Ho Gaya after which he never returned to try again.

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R Madhavan

Image: R Madhavan in Rehna Hai Terre Dil Mein

Though he first made his mark on the Hindi television scene, R Madhavan hit the big league with Mani Ratnam's Alaipayuthey.

The inevitable transition to Hindi films happened with the much-anticipated Rehna Hai Terre Dil Mein, which despite fair reviews, didn't do well. Nor did Dil Vil Pyaar Vyaar and Ramji Londonwaley resulting in short but significant appearances in films like Guru, Rang De Basanti before getting it gloriously right with 13 B, 3 Idiots and Tanu Weds Manu.

His last Hindi film Jodi Breakers, however, did not find any takers making his Bollywood run unpredictable if not inconsistent.

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Image: Siddharth, Aamir Khan, R Madhavan, Soha Ali Khan in Rang De Basanti

Siddharth, 34, is one of the rare actors who enjoys a good success ratio in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi films.

His Bollywood debut, the critically-acclaimed Rang De Basanti met with a phenomenal response and as a parallel lead to Aamir Khan, Siddharth held his own. While Striker didn't set the cash registers ringing, his effort was acknowledged.

But with the booming business of David Dhawan's Chashme Buddoor remake, he's proved he's here to stay.

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Rana Daggubati

Image: Rana Daggubati and Bipasha Basu in Dum Maaro Dum

Rohan Sippy's drug trafficking drama, Dum Maaro Dum cast Rana Daggubati along with Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Prateik Babbar as a bland sidekick with little to do except look good.

Not the ideal Bollywood debut for an aspiring Telugu hero. Disaster number two followed with RGV's abominable Department, which made on every worst film of the year list.

Daggubati was last seen doing a cameo as Deepika Padukone's friend in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.

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Image: Vikram in David

Given his tremendous magnetism, it's not hard to see why he's so big down South.

Though he's only appeared in two Hindi films so far as well as their Tamil remakes -- Raavan/Raavanan and Bejoy Nambiar's David, Vikram is noticeably impressive.

That said, as far as solo presence and box office draw goes, he's yet to pass the muster.

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Image: Sudeep in Phoonk 2

Kannada star Sudeep, fondly known as Keecha, began his Bollywood innings with Ram Gopal Varma's Rann, Phoonk 2 and Rakht Charitra 1 and 2. The response was far from favourable.

Interestingly, he made his Hindi-film viewers sit up and take notice playing the tormented target of a housefly's ire in Makkhi, a dubbed version of Telugu blockbuster, Eega.

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Prithviraj Sukumaran

Image: Prithviraj Sukumaran and Rani Mukerji in Aiyyaa

The good-looking star of Malayalam cinema sportingly played the lust-worthy object of Rani Mukerji's fantasies in the severely panned Aiyyaa.

Though a flop, his performance as a cop undergoing conscience change in Yash Raj's Aurangzeb earned rave reviews.

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Image: Dhanush and Sonam in Raanjhanaa

National-award winner.

Successful star of Tamil cinema.

Rajnikanth's son-in-law.

The man of many introductions hit popularity charts across India after his infection rendition of Why this Kolaveri di went viral. But Dhanush proved he's no flash in the pan with his unanimously-loved Bollywood debut as Kundan in the intense romance, Raanjhanaa.

He's quite easily the body and soul of its otherwise debatable contents. No wonder everyones eager to learn what's his next assignment in Hindi.

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The Others

Image: Suriya in Rakht Charita

And there are Southern sensations like, they all have one thing in common:

Suriya, the man whose every other second release (Ghajini, Singham, Force) is remade into a Hindi superhit, he appeared in RGV's all sound, no substance Rakht Charita.

Megastar Ajith Kumar who wasted in Shah Rukh Khan starrer Asoka.

Chocolate-faced star of Kadhal Desam and Kandukondain Kandukondain Abbas who tried his luck in Bollywood with the obscure Ansh.

Prashanth who made his debut in the long forgotten I Love You.

They didn't bother returning to Bollywood after a first failed attempt.

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Image: Prabhudheva in ABCD -Anbody Can Dance

There's also the Southern cinema's legendary choreographer-turned-filmmaker Prabhudheva.

The 40-year-old acted, who's acted in over half a dozen Tamil/Telugu films portrayed a demonic figure in Arjun Sajnani's Agni Varsha and an extension of himself in Remo D'Souza's recently released ABCD-Anbody Can Dance.

But mostly India's answer to Michael Jackson has stuck to song appearances and directing super hits like Wanted and Rowdy Rathore.

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