Why has M-wood not been able to give a pan-India movie?

Why has Malayalam cinema not been able to give a pan-India movie?

Mammootty and Mohanlal are the pillars of Malayalam cinema. (Credit:Wikimedia Commons)

The Malayalam film industry, last year, won the love of the target audience by offering several well-received and engaging movies like Kumbalangi Nights, Virus and Jallikattu. Despite this, it has a long way to go before it successfully manages to captivate a pan-India audience. Speaking to DH, trade analyst Ramesh Bala says the industry does not have the budget to make a movie on such a grand scale. Moreover, even when Malayalam movies get a wide release, they are not backed by big distributors, which affects their prospects.

"Unlike a KGF, most Malayalam movies are not made on a grand scale. The makers are also not able to tie up with a big name (for creating a buzz at a pan-India level) and this makes things quite difficult," says Bala.

He adds that, unlike a Rajinikanth, Mollywood veterans Mammootty and Mohanlal do not have much of a fan base outside the South. 

"If you see, Enthiran (dubbed in Hindi as Robot) had Rajinikanth in the lead and he is popular outside Tamil Nadu as well. Similarly, 2.0 had Akshay Kumar as well and he is popular all over. Sadly, Mammootty and Mohanlal are not that well-known outside the South (Kerala in particular)," he said. 

For the uninitiated, Enthiran did reasonably in the Hindi well and re-opened new avenues for Tamil cinema. Thereafter, in 2015, SS Rajamouli's Baahubali made the world take note of Tollywood. 'Jakanna' hit the jackpot again with Baahubali 2, redefining the tenets of Indian cinema. Similarly, in 2018, Yash's KGF did wonders for Sandalwood and emerged as a hit 'up North', despite facing competition from Shah Rukh Khan's Zero

Coming back to 'God's Own Country', Mammootty's Mamangam recently managed to get a pan-India release but it failed to rake in the moolah, outside Kerala. Mohanlal's Marakkar is slated to get a wide release (in multiple languages) this March and this has created a great deal of buzz among movie-goers. However, it remains to be seen whether the Priyadarshan-helmed magnum opus does well outside its traditional markets.