Bollywood movies are often known to be inspired by various international movies with some being completely copied while some labelled as official remakes. In recent years, a new trend seems to have taken off, that of Bollywood movies copied from Tollywood. Several regional movies made originally in Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada or Tamil, have received huge acclaim in their respective states.
However, Bollywood decided to bring their successes to the Hindi film industry with some official remakes of these hit films. While some of these may be commonly known, there are quite a few South remakes in Bollywood that will come as a complete surprise.
Here, we take a look at 10 Bollywood movies copied from Tollywood.
1. Wanted (2009)
Starring Salman Khan in the lead role, Wanted is among the most popular South remakes in Bollywood. The movie is a remake of Pokiri, a 2006 Telugu movie, written and directed by Puri Jagannadh. The original movie received huge acclaim for its storyline and direction. The movie was remade by Prabhudeva for Bollywood starring Salman Khan as the undercover cop in the world of gangsters.
With terrific acting and memorable punch lines, including the ever-popular “Mujhe aasoonyon se sakt allergy hai”, this movie soon became a huge Bollywood success too. For actor Salman Khan, remaking South Indian movies seems to have worked pretty well, with ‘Ready’ and ‘Bodyguard’ also being remakes of regional movies by the same name. However, you may be surprised to know that before remaking this movie in Hindi, Prabhudeva also remade the same film in Tamil as Pokkiri.
2. Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein (2001)
Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, fondly abbreviated as RHTDM, is a classic romantic story and highly popular among young college students. The soulful music and heartfelt chemistry between the leads, R. Madhavan and Dia Mirza made this movie one of the most talked-about movies of the time.
However, before this movie made its way to the Hindi-speaking audience, it was originally created in Tamil under the title ‘Minnale’. The original version, released in 2001, also starred R. Madhavan but his leading lady in the movie was Reema Sen.
3. Hera Pheri (2000)
This film may come as a surprise but it is another Hindi movie with origins in regional cinema. A wonderful movie with a great star cast and phenomenal comedy moments, Hera Pheri, is a remake of the Malayalam film, ‘Ramji Rao Speaking’ made in 1999.
Even though this may not be an original Bollywood movie; the leading star cast of Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty certainly gave audiences a lot to laugh about.
4. Kick (2014)
One can safely say that Salman Khan’s enhanced success owes a lot to remakes of regional movies. Another super hit movie by the actor, Kick, is also a remake of the 2009 Telugu film by the same name. The original movie saw Ravi Teja as the main lead and was well received by the audiences.
However, Bollywood’s version of Kick was not only well-received but also smashed several box office records. The huge fan-following of Salman Khan matched with the villainous portrayal of Nawazuddin Siddiqui made this film a much bigger success than its original.
5. Ghajini (2008)
For a lot of fans of international cinema, the Aamir Khan-starrer Ghajini was loosely inspired by the movie ‘Memento’. Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, the use of notes and tattoos by an insurance agent suffering from amnesia, in order to find his wife's killer was only too familiar for the Indian audience.
However, what a lot of people didn’t know is that the actual remake was done by director A.R. Murugadoss in 2005. The Tamil film, also named Ghajini, had Surya as the lead and went on to become a hugely successful film. Bollywood then remade the movie that was originally a remake and once again the film was met with huge success and praise from both fans and critics.
6. Saathiya (2002)
A heart-warming story of a young couple navigating the first few years of married life, this movie resonated with a lot of people. Staying true to oneself and the relationship during challenging times is something a lot of people identified with. The Hindi movie, starring Vivek Oberoi and Rani Mukherjee, was appreciated by audiences. The phenomenal music of the film, composed by A.R. Rahman, further lend a hand to its success.
However, this movie was also a remake of a South-Indian film. The original movie was directed by none other than Mani Ratnam under the title ‘Alaipayuthey’. Starring R. Madhavan and Shalini in the lead roles, the original movie is believed, by some, to be slightly better than its Bollywood counterpart.
7. Singham (2011)
A movie featuring an honest cop looking to weed out corruption and stand up to evil is a hit formula that is loved by audiences. Singham is one such David and Goliath tale featuring Ajay Devgn as a do-gooder and an honest Inspector. Directed by Rohit Shetty, this film was a huge hit with audiences and critics praising Devgn’s performance.
This movie, however, is also a remake of a 2010 Tamil film by the same name. The original saw actors like Surya and Anushka Shetty in the lead roles and became a huge success. With both sets of audiences loving this movie, it came as no surprise that the saga of Singham would continue.
Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn collaborated once more in 2014 for ‘Singham Returns’ while the third instalment of this franchise is scheduled to be released in 2022.
8. Nayak (2001)
What happens when a common man is given the responsibility of running a State for one day? Nayak is a political-thriller that saw one man ‘Shivaji Rao’, portrayed by Anil Kapoor, take on the entire political system when he is challenged by the Chief Minister to govern a State. What follows is a hardship, determination, a quest for justice and also a heart-breaking fall-back that is largely associated with politics.
The Bollywood movie stunned audiences with epic performances by Anil Kapoor, the late Amrish Puri, Paresh Rawal and Rani Mukherjee. While extremely well-received, Nayak is a remake of the 1999 Tamil film titled ‘Mudhalvan’, starring Arjun and Manisha Koirala in the lead. Both these movies received high acclaim for the storyline and performances.
9. Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007)
A psychological thriller with moments of horror and comedy infused in it, Bhool Bhulaiyaa was one of Bollywood’s finest movies that had audiences hooked to their screen. The Hindi movie saw Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan in lead roles, both of whom were commended for their performances.
The movie was a remake of the hit 1993 Malayalam film ‘Manichitrathazhu’. The success and accolades of this movie didn’t just result in a Bollywood remake, instead, the movie was also adapted for the Tamil, Kannada and Bengali-speaking audiences
10. Tere Naam (2003)
Another remake of a regional movie, Tere Naam, was a phenomenal success that brought Salman Khan out of his slump. His portrayal of Radhe, a person obsessed with his love, had a huge impact on audiences.
The movie was a remake of the well-received and hit film 1999 Tamil film ‘Sethu’, featuring Vikram as the lead.