Gradual gain in Indian Regional content


Ever since the advent of OTT platforms in the entertainment space in India, a lot has changed over a period of time especially with the audiences’ outlook towards cinema as a whole. Be it Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hotstar, one significant aspect that has gradually been influencing the tastes and choices of the Indian audience while consuming web-based content. The growing interest towards regional Indian content and exploring the lesser-known gems of mollywood, which have largely remained in the shadow of Bollywood for most part, enjoy a larger mass appeal and outreach… But as winds of change are blowing across the entertainment sphere, even major players of OTT platforms are feeling the breeze and are not shying from taking a plunge into promoting regional content to cater to the changing tastes of audience.

Thanks to the growing competitiveness of regional film industries that people have started taking notice of regional films especially those belonging to the south. In the recent times, when bollywood has been adapting/ remaking several films of the south, the inquisitiveness among the audience to watch the original ones is on the rise majorly because of the easy access to the subtitled/dubbed versions available online thus removing language barriers completely which otherwise acted as a major divide between the non-native audience & films. The demand for viewing of more regional content by the audiences especially from the Tier II and Tier III regions have pushed multiple players into the OTT service sector to cater to the needs of these audiences. The positive outcome of this phenomenon has been the arrival of several India-based streaming platforms such as Voot, Viu, Alt Balaji, SunNxt, etc besides foreign players such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.


Talking more about the aforementioned aspect of adding subtitles to films, we need to consider how the aspect of subtitling has been a game-changing factor. The task of subtitling films has gained much more prominence than before and especially with the arrival of streaming platforms. This task has been taken much more seriously since Indian viewers more often than not tend to prefer watching subtitled movies as opposed to their dubbed versions so as to get an authentic viewing experience which is not always the case in dubbed versions.

https://www.newindianexpress.com/business/2019/jul/07/indian-ott-viewers-prefer-subtitles-to-dubbing-for-other-language-content-survey-2000455.html

https://m.economictimes.com/industry/media/entertainment/how-content-streaming-platforms-like-netflix-have-created-an-economy-around-subtitles-in-india/articleshow/67504613.cms


The surge in the number of regional films added to OTT platforms is an indication of the rising preferences of the Indian audience towards exploring more of regional content.

The rise of ‘Mollywood’


When talking about regional cinema especially with regards to South Indian film industries, Tamil and Telugu movies immediately come into the picture owing to the baggage that they’ve carried on through the years as ‘mass/ commercial films‘, since they’ve managed to establish a small yet significant base nationwide by means of big budget releases in multiple languages across India as opposed to Kannada and Malayalam films. Kannada Cinema still remains in its own cocoon although the scenario is gradually changing. But the curious case is that of the Malayalam cinema or ‘Mollywood‘ which has been grabbing people’s attention more so for the content-oriented films it offers and has created a niche for itself & has become synonymous with ‘quality content’. One can say that, OTT Platforms have turned the tables around for the industry, which until now have had been eclipsed its fellow southern counterparts, let alone Bollywood..


One of the major mantras for being successful on ott platforms is content which is the ‘king’ and that’s what has worked for Mollywood films especially the ones released post-2010. A whole crop of new-generation actors from Mollywood have been the flagbearers of such content-oriented cinema, the most prominent ones being Fahadh Faasil, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Dulqueer Salman, Nivin Pauly, Prithviraj Sukumaran,etc And why confine to only the Actors? The directors, script writers & cinematographers too have played an equally important role & were in fact, the pioneers of the new generation film movement with the likes of Anjali Menon, Anwar Rasheed, Lijo Joseph Pellissery and a lot many names to follow.

The new generation of artistes have been instrumental in heralding the New Film Wave in Mollywood.

Offbeat theme movies


The above-mentioned artistes set the ball rolling at the start of the decade although initially, a few sections from the film fraternity looked at them with a scorn for, they were thought to have simply lifted contemporary ideas and concepts without much thought given to actual relevance in the society but slowly, films with offbeat themes started getting acceptance from the public and thanks to the streaming platforms which have put Malayalam movies on a pedestal and have lifted off the veil of public obscurity that the films were suffering from.
Malayalam films of this decade have shaken off the star-centric approach that majority of the Indian film industries have been grappling with, till date & have shifted their focus to quality of the scripts and storylines which is evidenced when one watches films like Bangalore Days, Kumbhalangi Nights, Take Off, Ustad Hotel wherein the films do not bank excessively much on the star-cast but rather on the content.


The impact created by the surge in popularity of Malayalam films is far- reaching to the extent, that its ripples can be felt even when one follows various social media pages/handles, websites and channels which are either related to content-reviewing or pop-culture influencers. A lot many of these sites and pages have started promoting Malayalam films that have piqued interest & have created awareness in the minds of the larger audiences.


Numerous Social Media pages, blog sites and websites have played a major role in popularizing regional content which was not the case in Mainstream Media9


As mentioned earlier, content being the main factor behind the positive reception of the larger Indian audience, another aspect that I personally would like to mention about Malayalam cinema is the sheer relatability and naturalness of the that the films exude… be it the characterization, the acting and importantly, the backdrop that the films are set against gives an authentic touch to the storyline. Moreover, Malayalam films inspite of holding the distinction of being very experimental in their approach, more or less tend to be rooted in their nativity which gives them a sense of earthliness & understandably so, owing to the target audience being the Malayalis who form the major chunk of the viewers but rarely does one feel the movies being too extravagant & out-of-place in their depiction.

Outsider perspective


Talking from an outsider’s perspective, I, being a film enthusiast myself, had any remote idea about Malayalam cinema. It was only through exposure to social media that I got familiarized with the films and the impression that the first few films such as Ustad Hotel had on me after watching them was simply indescribable. My experience was similar to going by the path that is not oft-travelled and the more I travel down that path, the more inquisitive I become to explore the various marvels that the path had in store for me….& as said, my tryst with Malayalam Cinema still continues strong by having watched around 20+ films & and still counting till date

Another point that I would like to touch upon is, even though Mollywood doesn’t have that much of an audience base and outreach that Tamil and Telugu films enjoy across India, one needs to consider that Bollywood itself has been influenced to a significant extent by Malayalam cinema & little do you all know, that many of the Bollywood films that we’ve enjoyed and talk highly of are remakes of Mollywood or have been helmed by Malayali artistes, involved in the original Malayalam film. Malayalam films have had a soft influence on Indian cinema and has set the bar for the other Indian Film Industries quite high.

A lot many Malayalam films have been remade Into Bollywood and & have turned out to be a success. This shows, how much of an influence Malayalam Cinema has had on shaping and developing Indian Cinema.
Priyadarshan, one of the veterans of Mollywood and one of the most celebrated Indian filmmakers is known for d
having directed quite a few bollywood films which were remakes of Malayalam movies, a few of them which turned out to be successful such as Hera Pheri, Bhool Bhulaiya.

After hearing about these things, it shouldnt be a surprise as to why Malayalam movies are making noises for all the right reasons.
With that being said, what are you’ll waiting for? Hop on to your couch, check out our top recommended Malayalam movies and start steaming them! …

References

https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/how-cinema-was-discovered-during-lockdown/article32446640.ece

https://m.economictimes.com/industry/media/entertainment/problem-of-plenty-despite-fresh-ideas-new-artists-malayalam-film-industry-suffers-rs-150-crore-loss/articleshow/29019120.cms

https://www.onmanorama.com/entertainment/interview/venu-munnariyippu-malayalam-cinema.html

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