Bollywood Calling: Will Dhanush, Ram Charan Teja Break the 'South Indian Hero' Jinx?

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By sangeetha seshagiri | March 30, 2013 11:51 PM EST

Bollywood, which caters to a wide audience, has welcomed many actors from South Indian film industry with open arms.

Be it the stars of the 70s and 80s like Vyjayanthimala, Hema Malini, Sridevi and Jayaprada, or the current generation actresses including Genelia D'Souza, Asin Thottumkal, Kajal Agarwal and Ilean D'Cruz, all have achieved success in Bollywood films.

However, the popular actors of South Indian films, who are being worshipped by their fans as demi-gods, have not been able to make it big in Bollywood. The two biggest stars of Tamil cinema - superstar Rajinikanth and universal star Kamal Haasan - tried their luck in Hindi films back in the 80s, but couldn't outshine the A-list stars of Bollywood.

Rajinikanth made his debut in Hindi with "Andha Kanoon" alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini. The movie was one of the highest grossing films during that time. Following the success of his debut movie, Rajinikanth starred in some Hindi movies but was not able to achieve the success and fan following that he still enjoys in Tamil Nadu.

Versatile actor Kamal Haasan's "Ek Duje Ke Liye" rocked the box office collections and the actor's popularity soared in Bollywood. Despite experimenting with different roles, Kamal could not break into the top league of Bollywood stars. Kamal and Rajinikanth were followed by top Tollywood actors - Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna and Venkatesh - who tasted moderate success with some of their Bollywood films, but they too failed to maintain their star status.

The current crop of south actors - Suriya (Rakhtacharitra), Siddharth (Rang De Basanti), Rana Daggubati (Dum Maaro Dum and Department) and Prithviraj (Aiyaa) - followed suit. Except for "Rang De Basanti", other films did not do well at the box office.

Despite facing failures, some of these actors still continue to accept projects from Bollywood even if they have to be part of a multi starrer. Actor Siddharth's upcoming Hindi movie, "Chashme Baddoor" has three male leads. Mollywood star Prithviraj will be part of the movie, "Aurangzeb," which features Arjun Kapoor in a dual role.

Besides, the list of popular south stars debuting in Bollywood continues to grow every year. The latest to join the bandwagon are actors Dhanush and Ram Charan Teja. Despite being the son-in-law of superstar Rajinikanth, the actor has managed to succeed on his own in the Tamil film industry by taking up different roles.  

Dhanush is already a popular figure in India, thanks to his "Why This Kolaveri Di" song that became a youth anthem. The actor is debuting in  Bollywood this year through the film, "Raanjhnaa" co-starring Sonam Kapoor. The movie, directed by Anand L Rai of "Tanu Weds Manu" fame, is an intense love story set in the small town of Varanasi.

Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi's son and "Magadheera" hero Ram Charan Teja will also be entering the Hindi film industry with "Zanjeer," a remake of the 1970s film of the same name. The original movie featured Amitabh Bachchan as an angry young police officer. Expectations are high from Ram Charan who is stepping into the shoes of the shahenshah of Bollywood - Amitabh. "Zanjeer" is directed by Apoorva Lakhia and has Priyanka Chopra in the female lead. 

It remains to be seen if these two actors will be able to break the myth that South Indian actors are jinxed when it comes to Bollywood.

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