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Shruti Haasan: They say, 'You belong to the south film industry’

Updated on: 26 April,2022 07:35 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Upala KBR |

Citing reason behind being turned down for Bollywood film, Shruti on how success of Baahubali, RRR have done little to bridge gap between industries

Shruti Haasan: They say, 'You belong to the south film industry’

Shruti Haasan

Asserting that a female Bollywood actor with prominent roles in films starring Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, or Akshay Kumar would be sought-after in  any Indian film industry would be a justified analysis. However, Shruti Haasan would testify that Bollywood doesn’t seem to be equally welcoming of  revered female actors from other film industries. Haasan may have a line-up of projects with the south Indian film industry’s megastars — Prabhas (Salaar), Chiranjeevi (Mega 154) and Nandamuri Balakrishna (NBK107) — but is still frowned upon when being considered for a Hindi film.

Haasan says, “Several southern technicians, like DOP’s and action choreographers, have been working in Hindi movies for years. They don’t blow their trumpets. They complete the work quietly, and return home. That is the work ethic. [This rift] cannot exist in 2022. If south films have made three times the amount of money that Hindi films are making, one wonders why this divide exists?” she asks, referring to movies like Baahubali, RRR, and Pushpa, which found several takers in consumers of Hindi cinema too.

A recent incident has left a particularly bad taste in Haasan’s mouth. “I met [a team] for work in a Bollywood movie, and they said, ‘Oh! But you belong to the south.’ I told them [about my parents], that I made my debut with a Hindi film, I speak the language fluently, and live in Mumbai. When I was shooting for the Hollywood series Treadstone in Dharamshala, I met young monks who had seen all my Telugu films which were dubbed in Hindi. People know Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada actors. The audience is leading the way. They are the ones buying the tickets and making the movies blockbusters.”

While the success of films like Baahubali and KGF: Chapter 2 has played a significant role in erasing the lines demarcating the industries, Haasan says a large chunk of the responsibility also falls on the shoulders of the common man. “We must change how we communicate with people of different cultures. The way we say, ‘Gujarati log aise hote hai’, ‘Tamil log accounting karte hai’, ‘Punjabi log khana khaate hai’ is stereotypical, and should not happen in 2022. Our beauty is in our diversity. Isn’t it sad that we tear down people over differences? Cinema can pave the way for the celebration of these differences.”

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