It's been a long time since I last expressed a strong desire to watch a Hindi language movie in theatres. There are several reasons for this. One among them is the COVID-19 pandemic. But also all the Bollywood films these days are more or less the same.

Bachchan Pandey
Source: News18

You pick any one of the recent Bollywood films and they'll revolve around the same old stereotypes of gender, caste, community, age, etc. We watch these movies just for the sake of watching. The excitement and happiness of watching good cinema are not there.

What really has changed? The repetitive old stories, actors, and plots are driving the audience away from Bollywood and towards regional movies, especially the South Indian cinema.

To put it simply, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam movies have made remarkable inroads into the film-watching habits of the Indian audience. As a Hindi-speaking person, I did not get enough exposure to regional cinema. The pandemic changed things for good.

In October 2020, Amazon Prime Video announced an exhaustive list of movie acquisitions from the regional cinema which included Tamil film Maara starring Madhavan, Telugu movie Middle Class Melodies, Kannada movies Bheema Sena Nalamaharaja and Maane Number 13, among others.

Middle Class Melodies
Source: Indian Express

This gave us the golden opportunity to watch films that are different from conventional Bollywood. Honestly, Maara was the first regional language film that I ever watched (of course with subtitles). The film was a romantic remake of the hit 2015 Malayalam film Charlie. It felt surreal. Nowhere during the film did I feel like giving up. Rather it just aroused my inquisitiveness for more regional language films.

Maara
Source: koimoi

Now what happens is if I hear my friends or colleagues talking about a good Malayalam movie on any OTT platform, I will check it out. It feels like I've fallen in love with watching movies all over again.

Every movie gives something new to look forward to. From Jai Bhim and Pushpa to Netrikann and The Great Indian Kitchen, each of these movies was groundbreaking and refreshing. Set apart by brilliant storytelling, acting, cast, and cinematography, these regional language films have been a blessing to those who had lost their interest in movies and not just in India.

netrikann
Source: TNM

Case in point, Jai Bhim, the Tamil legal drama based on a true incident of 1993, that became the highest-rated film on IMDb, ever. In India, the size and scale of the Bollywood industry are unmatched and regional films have remained confined to their geographies for years. But things are starting to change.

Jai Bhim
Source: koimoi

The Great Indian Kitchen, a Malayalam movie based on the story of a newlywed woman, was dubbed as the best Indian film of 2021 by the audience. 

The Great Indian Kitchen
Source: The Quint

The sixth-week collections of Allu Arjun starrer Pushpa: The Rise in the Hindi circuits were the third-highest of all time, just behind Uri and Gadar. The film became a huge phenomenon not just in the Telugu-speaking states but also elsewhere.

Pushpa
Source: koimoi

As someone, who lost almost all interest in watching Bollywood movies, introduction to the regional cinema is like a breath of fresh air. It makes me watch movies that are experimental, innovative, and thought-provoking.

I haven't watched a lot of these films. But I wish to. And that's where the difference lies.