The cycle is slowly shifting again to Chennai and it is happening for the third time in a big way, in the world of film making associated with Hindi cinema. Indeed, now Chennai is emerging as the major center of Hindi film making what with major stars shooting in the Mecca of film making of South India.
The most prominent film being shot in Chennai these days is CHENNAI EXPRESS starring Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone and it is in all probability for the first time that Shahrukh Khan is shooting in Chennai. Shahrukh Khan is not alone as John Abraham has also shifted his base to Chennai with his new film MADRAS CAFE and he is followed by Sanjay Dutt who is shooting for POLICEGIRI.
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What appears to have changed on the surface in shifting of the base of the major filmmakers to the city is that they are appearing in attires, which represent South India, most prominently the humble ”veshti”, known in North of India as lungi. So SRK appears in it and so does Sanjay Dutt and in few scenes even John Abraham appears in it. The purists may consider it as lampooning the cultural edifices of South India, but it is more of assimilation with the cultural signposts. The whole idea of sporting locally worn attires by these three film stars is guided by the fact that they are trying to reach out the huge fan base that is available in South India and wean them towards them to make their efforts a successful proposition.
The first wave of shift to South India came during the times when Rajender Kumar started appearing in a series of films down South and as a matter of fact the tag of ‘Jubilee Kumar’ that he had earned for himself was on account of a series of films that he was associated with various studios in South India. During this time even a Dilip Kumar was forced to acknowledge the power of South India especially Chennai as the center of film making and acted in a few films.
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The second wave that swept the world of Hindi cinema was when Jeetendra made Chennai his second home and changed the paradigms of film making in the world of Hindi cinema. Such was the phenomenal presence of South India in the world of Hindi film making that even a Big B during those times acted in a series of films from South India. The tribute to this era is on the way with the remake of HIMMATWALA starring Ajay Devgn.
The third wave of filmmaking that is happening in Chennai is different in the sense that now even the producers and directors from Mumbai are using Chennai as the base to make films, manifest from the fact that Rohit Shetty is making CHENNAI EXPRESS, Shujit Sarcar is directing MADRAS CAFE while POLICEGIRI is produced by T P Aggrawal though directed by K.S. Ravikumar.
May be, the change of centers is an ominous portent as it is indicative of the fact that the current breed of filmmakers want to experiment, introduce new cities into the canvas and give a flavor of the developments happening around the countryside to the fans. Kolkata it was last year, and let Chennai rule the roost this year, who knows it may be a some new city next year! The positive thing is that now the filmmakers are ready to experiment with locations to inject newness, may be one of these days North East would also emerge as the flavor.