Are South Indian Movies Gaining Popularity On OTT Platforms?

In recent months, South Indian films have soared in popularity among Indian audiences. Even though many people do not speak the languages, and Hindi material is scarce, audiences are flocking to the theaters, obviously with support from subtitles.


Although South Indian cinema is vast and diversified in terms of consumer trends when it refers to cinematic windows, the trend has not lessened when it comes to the OTT space. Experts believe South movies grasp the heartbeat of the audience better.

Recently launched films, as well as those that were initially released in theaters years ago, have found a new perspective in the OTT arena. Whether it's loaded with significance (as in Dhanush's Karnan), hard-hitting as well as socially aware (as in Parvathy's Uyare), or a household drama (as in Kumbalangi Nights), the public is now getting a dose of South Indian film, courtesy to OTTs like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Hotstar.

In this blog, we’ll go over the key factors and reasons that have contributed to the success of South Indian movies on popular OTT platforms.

Why South Indian Movies Work Well On OTT Platforms

Many predicted that the closing of theatres for the most part of the year will make 2020 the worst year for cinema. However, good movies kept coming. The true fact is that OTT platforms became the main outlet for the movies produced during the pandemic.

Surprisingly, the year proved out to be one in which regional content became a focal point. According to Hotstar India data based on the broadcasting giant's pan-India customer base, regional-language entertainment accounted for more than 40% of media consumption, with Tamil, Telugu, and Bengali leading the viewership patterns.

Renowned stars launched their long-awaited work on OTT without sacrificing regional flare and flavors. Whilst Tamil actor Suriya was featured in Amazon Prime Videos' Soorarai Pottru, Telugu sensation Nani's 25th film, V, bypassed the usual distribution path in favor of a digital release. Some notable titles that got an OTT broadcast were Ka Pae Ranasingam, starring Vijay Sethupati and Aishwarya Rajesh, as well as Miss India and Penguin, starring Keerthy Suresh.

There appears to have been a seismic change in the number of regional titles reaching the digital realm in recent months, especially when it comes to South Indian movies. Jyothika, a prominent face in Kollywood whose film Ponmagal Vandhal similarly went the OTT route, sees this as a significant shift in the way we watch films. In a statement, the actress stated, "It is a boon to regional filmmaking and content-oriented movies."

Language film performers like Pratik Gandhi as well as Jisshu Sengupta, who often pursue Bollywood glitter, became household names this year, contending with big names such as Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol, as well as Pankaj Tripathi. Harshad Mehta as portrayed by Gandhi Scam 1992, Hansal Mehta's web series, catapulted him to prominence overnight, whereas Shakuntala Devi and Durgamati fans couldn't get enough of Sengupta's intellect.

According to market analysts, movies with a great story essence are attracting attention to South Indian films. In fact, some of the best South Indian movies are now dubbed in Hindi on various OTT platforms as well.

As per market analyst as well as movie critic Taran Adarsh, the major USP of South Indian cinema has been its substance and audiences are only just now waking to that content and narrative art.

In this section, we’ll cover some of the most popular South Indian movies that you can find on Amazon Prime & Netflix.

1. Gantumoote (2019)

Director: Roopa Rao

Cast:

  • Teju Belawadi
  • Nischith Korodi

IMDb: 8.2/10

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

In her feature film debut, Roopa Rao weaves a beautifully poignant coming-of-age narrative of love, separation, and desire; a delightful romantic drama we haven't seen in a long time. In reality, Gantumoote works better as a glimpse into someone's profoundly intimate memoir, whose pages are filled with more sorrow than delight.

Its English title translates to Burden, and it is this baggage that Meera takes with her throughout the film and maybe beyond. Gantumoote may be viewed in two ways: as a filmmaker discovering a personal tale for her feature film, or as a teenager overcoming the sadness that has enveloped her life following the death of the boy she loved to the moon.

In this perfectly harmless love story, Roopa Rao explores the loving relationship of high school lovebirds Meera (Teju Belawadi, in a wow performance) and Madhu (Karthik Achari), pointing out the brutalities of ‘romance' motifs through Meera's eyes, providing a much-needed female experience on a culture that is male-dominated.

Gantumoote is without a doubt the most powerful moment of filmmaking in recent memory, and that is what you get when the film's principles match with the filmmaker's vision rather than the other way around.

2. Nila (2015)

Director: Nambirajan

Cast:

  • Jayaram
  • Vineetha
  • Yuvarani
  • Goundamani
  • Senthil
  • Ganthimathi
  • Vijayakumar
  • Manjula Vijayakumar
  • Prakash Raj

IMDb: 6.8/10

Streaming on: Netflix

This independent film made by Selvamani Selvaraj may be the least-known on this list, but it is an emotional love drama that follows the lives of two childhood friends, Vimal (Vicky R) and Nila (Sruthi Hariharan), who are given the opportunity to revive their friendship.

Vimal's life is filled with loneliness because he shuttles passengers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In Mumbai, he works as a taxi driver. There is an unexplained sensation of emptiness in him until he happens to run across Nila, the girl he had just seen in school uniform, who re-enters as a lady in saree.

He abandons her. She sits and waits for him. At this point in their lives, they tend to revisit memories and find each other. Vimal had never dared to propose. After all, life provides you with second opportunities. But there's another side to Nila that he should be aware of. Nila is more devastated than Vimal when he learns the truth. She finds solace in his gaze and presence.

This heart-touching movie may not have many big names behind it or have a complex storyline with a big budget. But, it is, without doubt, one of the best South Indian movies on Netflix. The simplicity portrayed in this movie is also one of the key reasons that explain the boom of South Indian movies in the OTT industry.

3. Ee.Ma.Yau (2018)

Director: Lijo Jose Pellissery

Cast:

  • Kainakary Thankaraj
  • Chemban Vinod Jose
  • Vinayakan
  • Dileesh Pothan
  • Arya Salim

IMDb: 8.4/10

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

This isn't quite "secret," but it is a treasure of a film. Cinephiles all around the country are proud to declare that they are fans of Lijo Jose Pellissery, having seen his widely admired films Angamaly Diaries as well as Jallikattu. But Pellissery's masterpiece would have to be Ee. Ma. Yau, a profound and contemplative look at life and death.

Vavachan (Kainakary Thankaraj) has a vision that he would die and begs that his son Eeshi (Chemban Vinod Jose) bid his father farewell. His demise sets off a chain reaction of events that exposes the murky parts of our minds that are both humor and tragedy – in the notion that the humor is inspired by awful conditions, yet we laugh nonetheless.

No other filmmaker in modern Indian cinema has explored as many subjects as Lijo Jose Pellissery has. If you've never seen Ee. Ma. Yau yet, you will be astounded by its opening scene.

4. Awe! (2018)

Director: Prasanth Varma

Cast:

  • Kajal Aggarwal
  • Nithya Menon
  • Regina Cassandra
  • Eesha Rebba
  • Priyadarshi Pullikonda
  • Srinivas Avasarala
  • Murali Sharma

IMDb: 7.8/10

Streaming on: Netflix

This Telugu mystery is a lot of fun. Six unique pieces dealing with a variety of psychological and societal themes dominate the story, leading you to assume Awe! is a collection at first. However, this is not the case, as filmmaker Prashanth Varma attempts to weave these storylines together with a superb ensemble that features an ensemble cast.

A lot occurs in Awe!, which has a convoluted narrative structure that might leave you feeling exasperated and claustrophobic at points. However, if you stick around for the first half-hour, you'll find a slew of fascinating concepts performed practically flawlessly.

If you’re looking for more films like these, you can find the best Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu movies on various OTT platforms.

Regional OTT Platforms For Your Daily Entertainment Fix

The introduction of internet channels has not only aided filmmakers in releasing their films in the midst of the epidemic, but it has also promoted regional material, which previously had a restricted audience. People all throughout the country may now watch series and movies made in Marathi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Assamese, Odia, Telugu, as well as other regional movie industries.

So, if you want fantastic material in any language, look outside Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, as well as Disney Plus Hotstar and investigate these localized web platforms that have sprung up in the last year.

Sun NXT (Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali)

Sun TV Network owns the on-demand service, which was established in 2017. There are four South Indian languages available to its viewers: Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, and Bengali.

The streaming network's content collection is jam-packed with movies, TV series, music videos, including comedy videos, all of which are available for streaming. Live TV is available to subscribers.

Aha (Telugu)

There is a wide variety of Telugu material on the OTT platform, including premium content in various categories. On March 20, 2020, Allu Aravind's Geeta Arts will launch a streaming service to coincide with the Telugu New Year.

In order to give excellent information to the Telugu-speaking public, Allu Arjun backed his father's effort. Twenty web series have been developed particularly for the platform in addition to other popular Telugu movies.

Regal Talkies (Tamil)

Regal Talkies is a pay-per-view platform founded by Tamil movie producer CV Kumar. It also serves as a forum for aspiring filmmakers to exhibit their work to an audience.

Koode (Malayalam)

Koode, which translates to "With You," is the very first standalone OTT platform to offer Malayalam content. Studio Mojo debuted in December 2020, and its collection includes original web series and also content chosen from YouTube. The site intends to implement a pay-per-view model for films and premium content in the near future.

Neestream (Malayalam)

The Malayalam streaming site, which is managed by JKH Holdings of the United States, was introduced in November of last year. Isakkinte Ithihasam was the first movie to be released on the platform. It not only delivers Malayalam movies but also material from other television stations.

Talkies (Tulu, Konkani, Kannada)

Tulu, Konkani, Kannada, plus Beary linguistic movies, web series, as well as TV shows, are available on the streaming site. For all those who enjoy theatre plays, the site also features Yakshagana, a traditional style of Kannada cinema.

Conclusion

While we are all eagerly waiting for theatres around the country to open again, OTT platforms have surely helped us widen the content we consume. With the top South Indian movies streaming on various platforms, movie-lovers don’t only have more content to consume, they also are able to learn about various cultures from our country!

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