After Padmaavat, actor Ranveer Singh will be back on the big screen with Simbaa, which is likely to release in December this year. The film, however, does not have a virgin script; the story has already been told in a 2015 Telugu film, starring Rama Rao Jr and Kajal Aggarwal and was well received by audiences. It collected Rs 74 crore with a budget of Rs 35 crore.
But Simbaa is not a one-off story. The trend of remaking south Indian films in Bollywood has been going on for long and it looks like the trend is here to stay as majority of the remakes have seen commercial success.
The first south Indian remake in Bollywood was produced as early as the 1960s. Dilip Kumar-starrer Ram aur Shyam was a remake of Telugu blockbuster Ramudu Bheemudu. But the trend almost died in the 1990s when Bollywood had more love stories to tell and romance dominated screen space.
It was Priyadarshan's directorial Hera Pheri, which released in 2000, that revived the trend of remaking south Indian films in Hindi. Made at a budget of Rs 7.5 crore, the film went on to collect Rs 20 crore in India. Hera Pheri is the Hindi remake of 1989 Malayalam film, Ramji Rao speaking. And then there was a flood of comedy films like Garam Masala, Hulchul, Hungama, Bhagam Bhag, De Dana Dan, Chup Chup Ke, among others which were adaptations of south Indian films.
But south Indian remakes took a big leap in Bollywood with the action genre when Aamir Khan-starrer Ghajini not only became a box office hit but also became the first film to start the coveted Rs 100 crore club. Ghajini was inspired from a Tamil film of the same name.
Then came along Salman Khan’s Wanted, remake of Telugu film Pokiri, that gathered Rs 83 crore in India. The business done by these films led to many filmmakers attempting the same success formula and their effort did not leave them disappointed.
Salman Khan-starrer Ready, that amassed Rs 164 crore, is an import of a 2008 Telugu movie by the same name. Another offering from Khan, Bodyguard, is a remake of a 2010 Malayalam movie by the same name and the film earned Rs 196 crore.
Other films like Force, Kick, Rowdy Rathore, Singham, Bhool Bhulaiyaa — all tasted success at the box office.
According to film trade analysts, there is an advantage in doing a remake. If the film has already tasted commercial success with the audience, the chances of success are higher.