Karan Johar, Arjun & Kartk, Anand Pandit, Siddharth Anand Kumar and Mani Ratnam are among the many creators whose cinema is transcending linguistic barriers
Within the realm of cinema, language barriers often stand as formidable obstacles, yet a select group of makers have skilfully surmounted these odds by making films that resonate with audiences across India.
Here are six visionary makers who have created a new cinematic idiom that brings together various film industries, languages and narratives to create entertainment that is truly pan-Indian.
Karan Johar is riding high on the success of ‘Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani’ and has a knack for churning out hits but his Dharma Productions has been supporting many fledgling writers and directors.
He also co-produced Ritesh Batra’s sleeper hit ‘The Lunchbox’ in 2013 and in 2015, distributed the Hindi versions of S. S. Rajamouli’s epic ‘Baahubali: The Beginning’ and its sequel, ‘Baahubali 2: The Conclusion,’ originally made in Tamil and Telugu.
He has also been adapting regional hits like Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film ‘O Kadhal Kanman’ (as ‘OK Jaanu,’) and Nagraj Manjule’s Marathi blockbuster ‘Sairat’ (as ‘Dhadak’). He has ingenious bridged the language gap for audiences and also supported good cinema across industries.
Arjun & Kartk
Creators of the recently hit series Taali starring Sushmita Sen & the duo behind the production house ‘GSEAMS’ have come a long way, transitioning from creating Marathi narratives for the big and small screen to achieving success in the Hindi mainstream entertainment industry.
After crafting 17 Marathi hits, they have now delivered two resounding Hindi OTT hits like ‘Rafuchakkar’ and ‘Taali.’ The first was a conman thriller starring Maniesh Paul in a career-defining role and the second was headlined by none other than Sushmita Sen who essayed the story of transgender activist Shreegauri Sawant.
The series directed by Ravi Jhadav won huge critical acclaim for Sushmita Sen’s performance and the gritty and sensitive portrayal of the challenges faced by the transgender community. The duo seem determined to push the narrative and thematic envelope in Indian entertainment. Their other notable projects include- ‘Samantar’ -Season 1 and 2, ‘Naxalbari’, and ‘Raktanchal’- Season 2.
Anand Pandit Motion Pictures, helmed by producer, distributor, real estate magnate and philanthropist Anand Pandit, has established itself as a pan-Indian entity with Marathi films like ‘Well Done Baby’ (2021), ‘Victoria (2023)’, ‘Baap Manus’ (2023), Gujarati super hits like ‘Fakt Mahilao Maate’ (2022) and ‘Tron Ekka’ (2023) and even a Kannada action thriller like ‘Kabzaa’ (2023) which was dubbed in Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu.
Recently, he has presented the Hindi version of ‘Drishyam 2,’ originally created in Malayalam and distributed ‘Doctor G’. He also produced the Amitabh Bachchan starrer ‘Chehre’ and the Abhishek Bachchan starrer ‘The Big Bull.’
Right now, he is savouring the record-breaking success of ‘Tron Ekka’ in Gujarati, starring Yash Soni, Malhar Thakkar, and Mitra Gadhvi and has many diverse projects in the pipeline.
Siddharth Anand Kumar
Siddharth Anand Kumar, Senior VP, Films, Series & Events at Saregama India Ltd, believes in backing independent films like Kanu Behl’s ‘Agra’, which recently received a standing ovation at Cannes and garnered acclaim at prestigious international film festivals. Saregama’s film division Yoodlee Films has produced over 17 films in various languages, including Tamil, Urdu, Marathi, Malayalam, Punjabi, and more.
Their production credits include ‘K.D’ and ‘Super Senior Heroes’ in Tamil, ‘Abhiyude Katha Anuvinteyum’, ‘Kaappa’ and ‘Padavettu’ in Malayalam, ‘Zombivli’ in Marathi, ‘Hamid’ in Urdu, ‘Oye Makhna’ in Punjabi and Hindi films like ‘Ajji’, ‘Noblemen’, and ‘Music Teacher’ among many others.
Their slate is teeming with exciting projects including films headlined by Malayalam biggies like Mohanlal and Mammootty and the next few months seem all set to cement Yoodlee’s stature as a truly free-spirited and versatile production house.
Not many people know that legendary film director Mani Ratnam’s first film ‘Pallavi Anu Pallavi’ (1983) was in Kannada and then he also dabbled in Telugu and Malayalam cinema before Tamil romantic drama ‘Mouna Ragam’ (1986 ), starring Revathi and Mohan established him as a maker to watch out for.
The film was dubbed in Telugu and was remade in Hindi as ‘Kasak’. With Nayakan (1987), he arrived as a maker of national stature and the film was remade in Hindi as ‘Dayavan,’ starring Vinod Khanna, Feroz Khan, and Madhuri Dixit. Roja (1992) and Bombay (1995) were dubbed in Hindi and were huge pan-Indian success stories.
In 2007, he made ‘Guru’ starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai. And his 2010 film ‘Raavan,’ had a Hindi and a Tamil version too.
His latest blockbusters ‘Ponniyin Selvan: I’ and ‘Ponniyin Selvan: II’ have also been dubbed in Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.