Finally it looks like Telugu heroes have gathered enough guts to attempt Telugu+ Tamil bilinguals. Both Mahesh Babu and Allu Arjun now have a film each which will have as wide a release in Tamil Nadu as in Andhra.
It may look like a very normal thing to do considering that cinema is very similar in both states. But it has been a one way traffic for far too long. It started with Kamal Hasan and Rajnikanth. Then even other Tamil heroes joined the brigade. Whether its Suriya, Vikram, Kaarthi or even a Dhanush and Vishal, a Telugu release for most of their films is almost guaranteed irrespective of its success. Of course some of their Telugu dubbed version films earned almost as much as their Tamil movies did. And for close to 40 years, the traffic from Chennai continued unabated.
All through these 40 years, Telugu heroes remained mute spectators even though Telugu industry functioned out of Chennai till the mid nineties. Films of Telugu heroes hardly had a Tamil release. None from Telugu films attempted a Tamil simultaneous release. They were deeply convinced that Tamil audience were sure to reject anything coming out of Telugu filmdom.
True, there were some sporadic successes. Like Ammoru in late nineties or Arundhati a few years back. But these were not mainstream cinema and actually capitalised on a niche that is always present in Tamil cinema. A niche that consists of films combining bhakti + superstition + evil spirits.
It is to the credit of Rajamouli that this one way traffic road has now been opened in the reverse direction too. His Magadheera ( though released in Tamil a full 2 years after its Telugu release) and the simultaneous release of Eega and Bahubali gave confidence to Telugu film makers that Tamils may not reject a good film out rightly but in fact may make it a roaring success in Tamil nadu too.
To put it bluntly, Telugu heroes are still very sceptical. Both Mahesh Babu and Allu Arjun may be doing bilinguals now but with the a safety belt attached to their backs. That safety belt is in the form of an established Tamil director, Murugadas for Mahesh and Lingusami for Allu Arjun.
Nevertheless, lets us still enjoy the ride. Safety belts are good, particularly when you have a long drive ahead which is prone to accidents.