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Kabali to Pulimurugan: Blockbuster that made regional film bigger than Bollywood 2016


21 Jun 2013
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While the biggest Hindi films with leading star cast in 2016 struggled to cross the Rs 100-crore mark, some of the films from down south pushed the envelope in the blockbuster business opening up new possibilities for the regional film industry.

The regional cinema’s roaring performance began with Vijay’s Theri, which became 2016’s first Tamil film to collect more than Rs 100 crore from worldwide ticket sales. And then came Kabali and Pulimurugan, whose collection can put some of the biggest Bollywood films to shame. Not just in the box office collections, but the regional films also made the world stand up and take notice with its strong content-driven and experimental films. Here is a look at Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films, which made their mark at the box office either due to their star cast or strong content.


After delivering a disaster like Lingaa in 2014, superstar Rajinikanth prevailed on the worldwide box office with his gangster drama, Kabali. Although the film received mixed reviews, it went on to create major box office records with a collection of over Rs 600 in its kitty. Rajinikanth will continue to dominate the box office in 2017 with his highly-anticipated film 2.0 gearing up to release in the second half of the next year.


Pulimurugan was expected to have a good run at the box office, but no one foresaw what it was destined to do. The Mohanlal-starrer opened up new opportunities across the world for the films from Malayalam industry in its wake. The film created history by becoming the first ever Malayalam film to rake in Rs 100 crore from the worldwide ticket sales within a month of its initial release. And it surpassed the collection of several biggest Tamil and Telugu films too.


Before Mohanlal unleashed his box office juggernaut, Pulimurugan, he had taken the box office by storm with his crime thriller Oppam, his first Malayalam film in 2016. The film held the title of one of the highest grossers ever in Malayalam, until Pulimurugan was released. The actor is expected to maintain his terrific form with an interesting line-up of movies set to release in 2017.

Janatha Garage:

Janatha Garage became the second fastest Telugu film to collect Rs 100 crore after 2015’s Baahubali: The Beginning, becoming Mohanlal’s first film to make Rs 100 crore at the worldwide box office. The film starring Junior NTR, Samantha Prabhu and Nithya Menen in lead roles recently completed 100 days in theatres.


Vijay’s Theri was a surprise hit of 2016, which reportedly raked in about Rs 150 crore, surpassing the previous collection records of the actor. The film starring Samantha as the female lead was directed by Atlee and was released to mixed reviews from the audience and critics. But that didn’t stop the film from giving the industry the 2016’s first biggest box office hit.

Iru Mugan:

Slow and steady is what helped Iru Mugan become one of the blockbusters in Tamil this year. The combined collection of the film’s Tamil and Telugu versions was about Rs 100 crore at the worldwide box office.


Suriya kick-started the year with a blockbuster film 24, a sci-fi fantasy drama that was made at a whopping budget, It was received well at the box office and soon it joined Kollywood’s 100 crore club. While Suriya was expected to end the year with another blockbuster film, Singam 3 has now been postponed to next year due to various reasons.


After ending 2015 with a bang with Charlie,
Dulquer Salmaan maintained his run rate at the box office with Kali. However, in his critically acclaimed film Kammattipadam, he expanded himself as an actor.

Jacobinte Swargarajyam:

It was a good year for Nivin Pauly . This year he became a producer with his hit film Action Hero Biju, in which he also played the title role. And then came his family entertainer Jacobinte Swargarajyam, which also went to become a major money-churner at the box office.


Director Vetrimaaran’s Visaranai was produced for the international film festivals and it was never meant to become a hit at the box office. Except it did. The film driven by heart-rending story based on real life incidents and power-packed performance of the actors scored a notable commercial success, besides winning several international accolades. And it was also India’s official entry for the Oscars in the best foreign language category.


Telugu actor Allu Arjun , who was the most searched Tollywood celebrity in 2016, had delivered a film that grossed the coveted Rs 100 crore mark at the worldwide box office. Despite receiving mixed reviews, his commercial entertainer Sarainodu emerged one of the biggest blockbusters of Telugu in 2016 with Rs 127 crore in its kitty.

Kabali to Pulimurugan: Blockbusters that made regional films bigger than Bollywood in 2016 | The Indian Express
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