Vishnu Manchu: Great directors like Rajamouli made us believe in a lie

The popular Telugu actor, producer cites the example of RRR [2022] where the director based his leading characters around two freedom fighters who never met, but came together in a fictional tale of patriotism.

Vishnu Manchu promotes his film Ginna Bhai [2022] in Mumbai.

By Mayur Lookhar

Ah! By now it’s become a cliche to mention about the pan-India success of few South Indian films like Baahubali franchise, K.G.F franchise, Pushpa [2021], RRR.  Maybe the success of these films is now instilling new confidence among other Southern filmmakers to release their films in Hindi belt too.  Unlike in the past, they are now braving to promote the film in Mumbai too.  Nor are they shy to express their broken Hindi too.

Popular Telugu actor, producer Vishnu Manchu came down to Mumbai on 8 October to promote his next Ginna Bhai [2022], that will also be released in [dubbed] Hindi.

RRR, KGF, Pushpa, Baahubali doing well does have an impact, but is their success reason enough for every South Indian film with a star to come down and promote the film in Mumbai? When it comes to target, are there humble expectations or have these films altogether raised the target for other South Indian films too? We asked these questions to Manchu during the Hindi trailer launch. The actor, producer offered a detailed reply, also drawing the example of S. S. Rajamouli to hammer home his point.

“The success ratio of any film industry per se would range between 20-30 % maximum. It would be lesser but not more.  So far Hindi cinema that you have been appreciating is 30 % of its cream. All of a sudden, thanks to pandemic, what would have happened five years later, is happening now. The distribution network, multiplex chains, they are all coming up in every nook and corner of the country,” said Manchu.

South films coming to Hindi belt is not a new phenomenon. Manchu cited the examples of legendary South Indian actor Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, whose films have been releasing in Hindi belt from the 1980s. Manchu felt there was a lull at the start of the millennium but Rajinikanth and Haasan’s films still found their way in the Hindi belt. He felt that S.S. Rajamouli’s Baahubali franchise changed the game.

“I’m proud to say that this a golden era of Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam films. Now with the explosion of social media [word of the mouth], you Hindi speaking audience are able to go and watch our films in multiplexes with subtitles. You no longer deny yourself of a good film. Movie is universal,” said Manchu.

The Ginna Bhai actor though added that not every South Indian film would adhere to the Hindi audience as some could be very native in subject.  He was quietly confident in his own film. He says, “I believe that my movie Ginna Bhai is a subject which would reach out to all the masses. So, here I am, promoting my film. “

Manchu waxed praise on the few South Indian films that did very well in Hindi markets too. He was eloquent in his praise of Rajamouli’s RRR [2022].

N.T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan in RRR [2022]

“The movies you mentioned, they are all phenomenal movies, why should they be limited to Telugu? You all loved it.  RRR [2022] was another great idea on what if these two great freedom fighters met. It brought us in a trance. That is what great directors do. They [director] made us believe in a lie.  You see I’m a liar. I’m an actor. I want you to believe in the lies that I tell you. If you believe in the lie, I’ve done a great job,” quipped the Telugu actor.

But is it Covid and the poor phase for Bollywood that has opened a window for South and other regional cinema to find a foothold in the Hindi belt?

“I don’t think so. Fate of every actor changes every Friday.  If only anybody could crack the code as to which movie actually works, then nobody would work in a bad film. I think probably the stories here [in Bollywood] are not accepted by all,” said Manchu.

The actor reminded us that it not all gloom for Bollywood as films like Gangubai Kathiawadi and Brahmastra have done well this year. He felt that this is just a lull period and in three or four year’s time, there won’t be distinction between South or Bollywood as every good content will be perceived as an Indian film.

Ginna Bhai is set to be released in theatres on 21 October.

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