Telugu and other films from South India have enriched Indian cinema for decades. Commonly known as Tollywood, the film industry in the south have given us some of the most noteworthy stalwarts in Indian cinema. Tollywood is often rated as one of the most commercially viable film enterprises. Tollywood also holds the Guinness World Record for the largest film production facilities in the world. Actors and actresses have always tried to channelise their talent and versatility by showcasing their work in different genres, different settings and the same has been the case with actors and actresses from Tollywood. Almost invariably, the lure of Bollywood has proved irresistible, and many south Indian actors/actresses have tried to make a mark in Bollywood – it has been an alluring dream for them. However, Bollywood has not always been a good hunting ground for all those who have tried their luck in Mumbai. There are instances of actors who have done miraculously well in Tollywood but have failed to make a comparable or any impact in Bollywood. Kamal Hassan is one such actor who is extremely successful in Tollywood but could not gain the same kind of acclaim in Bollywood. He did make an appearance in some movies which went on to be successful but he did not have a lasting career in Bollywood. Rajnikanth is another such actor who is close to being worshipped by cine fans in the south for his brilliant performances, but did not get the same recognition in Bollywood. Siddharth is another actor who too has tried his luck in Bollywood but fell short of being a big success. Other well known, popular names like Chiranjeevi and Nagarjuna have not been successful either in making a mark in Bollywood.
On the other hand, some of the gems of Hindi cinema have come from Tollywood. Sridevi is one of the finest examples as she carved out a unique place for herself in Bollywood and her looks combined with some brilliant performances transformed her into a virtual legend in Bollywood. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is another such well known name in Bollywood — at one point of time she was the highest paid actress in the industry. Her performances in various movies have enthralled millions. Some other names who have created their own special niche in Bollywood include the likes of Shilpa Shetty, R. Madhavan and Prakash Raj. These actors/actresses have created new benchmarks for other stars to follow. But despite such success stories, the unsuccessful ones cannot be wished away. So a pertinent question still remains : generally, why is it difficult for successful actors/actresses of Tollywood to repeat their success stories in Bollywood? Is it the language which creates a problem for south Indian actors/actresses ? Northern India pronunciations in particular are very different from those of southern India. Or is it the style of the south Indian actors/actresses which again is different from the north Indian style? One reason which could be termed as a big factor is that very few have a Godfather or Godfathers to facilitate matters for them in Bollywood. The cultural differences and adjusting themselves to the patterns of Bollywood may also be a major problem for Tollywood actors/actresses.
Will the new generation of stars emerging in Tollywood be successful in breaking such barriers and making their names in Tollywood as well as Bollywood ? Without doubt, some of the finest actors/actresses can be found in Tollywood and it is high time they create history once again by winning acclaim in Bollywood as well.