Chennai, Dec 24
From superstar Rajinikanth's Tamil gangster drama 'Kabali' to Mohanlal's Malayalam action-drama 'Puli Murugan', southern cinema thrived on the business made by these biggies and at the same time also witnessed the surprise hits of low-budget, content-driven films such as 'Pellichoopulu' and 'U-Turn'.
Telugu film stars such as Allu Arjun and Jr NTR ruled the roost in 2016 but it was films such as 'Kshanam' and 'Pellichoopulu' that proved commercial success is beyond star value.
According to distributor Krishnam Raju, the success of 'Pellichoopulu' can make for a great 'case study'.
'A lot of producers throw away money on star-centric films and the returns are usually minimal, thanks to the high production cost. 'Pellichoopulu' was made on a shoe-string budget and it was marketed aggressively with over a dozen pre-release screenings which helped in generating buzz organically, and it worked in the film's favour,' Raju told IANS.
In North America alone, Tharun Bhascker-directed 'Pellichoopulu' raked in over Rs 6 crore, much to the surprise of the entire industry.
'Kshanam', another low-budget outing, from first-time director Ravikanth Perepu, clicked at the box office, impressing audiences and critics alike.
Allu Arjun's 'Sarrainodu', rumoured to be made on a budget of Rs 45 crore, grossed over Rs 100 crore and ended up as a very successful venture.
Jr NTR delivered two hits - 'Nannaku Prematho' and 'Janatha Garage' - both proving his box-office mettle.
Other Telugu hits include 'Soggade Chinni Nayana', 'Supreme', 'Express Raja' and 'Nenu Sailaja'. Telugu-dubbed film 'Bichagadu' ('Pichaikkaran' in Tamil) surprised the trade by earning over 15 times its investment, said trade sources.