the hit movie RRRin its Hindi version, it was announced by Netflix as ‘India’s most popular film’ on the platform.
The film, which is original in Telugu, began broadcasting in the main Indian languages, in addition to Hindi, on the Zee5 platform. Its Hindi version, which began streaming on Netflix from May 20, is now crowned the most popular of all time.
According to Netflix, RRR (Hindi), which lasts for 3 hours and 2 minutes, has been viewed for “over 45 million hours” worldwide.
RRR, which opened in theaters on March 25th of this year, was always destined for greatness. Directed by India’s most famous director, now SS Rajamouli, the man behind extravagant hits like eega and the two parts Baahubali Series, RRR it’s a historical epic, so to speak, with spectacular action scenes and unruly, adrenaline-pumping dances and music.
Featuring energetic stars Jr NTR and Ram Charan in the leads, the film also has Bollywood bigwigs like Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn playing second fiddle to the larger-than-life characterization of Telugu stars.
What should Bollywood do?
Jr NTR plays Bheem, protector of a tribe that lives near the Adilabad Forest. His mission in the film is to find a girl who is kidnapped by the British. Ram Charan is Rama Raju, an Indian police officer who works for the British army and has his own motivations that lead him to undertake a secret mission. The two heroes join forces without knowing the other’s true identity.
Both characters are loosely based on real-life freedom fighters from Andhra. Although the two weren’t connected in real life, the director created a make-believe story that takes acceptable cinematic freedom from real events.
The Western media (the United States, to be more specific) were thrilled with RRR and many of the criticisms were exaggerated in their praise and adulation. In India, the success of RRR has rightly been seen as the continued rise and dominance of South Indian films over Bollywood (Hindi) offerings.
But the fact that RRR in its Hindi version it is the most popular globally, strangely (and ironically) underscores the importance of Bollywood. After all, the sheer number of people speaking Hindi, both in India and among the diasporic community across the world, would always make Hindi offerings more popular. It is a numerical reality, nothing more.
The concept of pan-Indian films is here to stay mainly because South Indian films can now be made available in Hindi — through dubbing or subtitles.
And smart directors from South India are taking advantage of the trend by making films with high visual spectacle and striking imagery. The nationally successful Tamil web series visually stunning Suzhal – The Vortex also underscores this point. The series, not surprisingly, was made available in 30 languages.
South Indian filmmakers seem to have a better understanding of today’s audiences. They realized that audiences continue to like stories to be emotional, but they need them to be told in a bigger and better way.
It’s a lesson Bollywood directors would do well to emulate.