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The curious case of Bellamkonda Sreenivas

Bellamkonda Sai Sreenivas is probably the only South actor who is making his Hindi debut solely on the basis of his huge popularity on YouTube
You probably thought Bellamkonda Sai Sreenivas is “That South actor who is making his Hindi debut with the remake of an old SS Rajamouli film” or “The rumored new boyfriend of Rashmika Mandanna?” However, there is a lot more to Sreenivas. He is probably the only South actor who is making his Hindi debut solely on the basis of his huge popularity on YouTube. In the recent past, Rana Daggubati and Vijay Deverakonda are two Telugu actors who entered Hindi cinema. Within a year of his Telugu entry with Leader, Rana could easily manage a debut in Hindi with Dum Maaro Dum in 2011. Vijay Deverakonda was a rage across the nation with his super hit Arjun Reddy and made a grand Hindi debut with Liger in 2022.
Tamil actors Madhavan, Siddharth, Dhanush have also done few films in Hindi. Madhavan has a huge following in Hindi after hits like Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein, Rang De Basanti, 3 Idiots and Tanu Weds Manu. Dhanush did two impressive Hindi films Ranjhanaa and Shamitabh.
But what sets Bellamkonda Sai Sreenivas apart from all these South actors is that all of them were well established actors in their own film industry and went to Hindi cinema when good projects came their way. Sreenivas, on the other hand, is just 8 films old, with only one commercial hit – Rakshasudu in his kitty. Two of the 8 film were Tamil remakes, including Rakshasudu.
Quite incomprehensibly, all his films dubbed in Hindi and released on YouTube have turned out to be major hits. In fact, the actor currently holds the world record for most views for a movie on YouTube with over 70 crore views for the dubbed version of his Telugu movie Jaya Janaki Nayaka titled Khoonkhar. Two more of his films, with over 60 crore views (Sita) and 40 crore views (Kavacham), respectively, figure in the top ten list of YouTube movies with most views. TV channels like Dhinchaak and Goldmines regularly feature his movies as the viewership remains consistent. The fact that PEN Movies, another production house that has been in the business of dubbing movies, is producing his Hindi debut at a huge cost perhaps supports this argument. His popularity in the Bihar, UP belt increased exponentially after the 4G revolution and cheap data costs in India. The Covid-19 lockdown period also has hugely helped as new movies were not getting released, hence regular viewers kept coming back to these commercial films with good action sequences and well-filmed songs.
Credit has to be given to Bellamkonda Sreenivas’ father Bellamkonda Suresh’s planning for getting Sreenivas this far. Suresh, a producer who has done commercial films with top actors and directors in Telugu, always took care to have the best technicians working on his son’s films. Good publicity and well-planned releases also helped. The director would be one of the top tier – VV Vinayak on his debut film Alludu Adhurs; Bheemineni Sreenivas Rao, Boyapati Srinu, Sriwass, Teja etc. The female lead of a Sreenivas film would be an actor in demand – Samantha Ruth Prabhu in his debut film; Rakul Preet Singh, Pooja Hegde, Kajal Aggarwal, Tamannaah Bhatia and others in subsequent films. Because of this, all Bellamkonda Sreenivas films have high production quality, good action sequences and well-choreographed songs.
Chatrapathi, released in 2005, was the first collaboration between Prabhas and SS Rajamouli. The huge success of the film cleared the path for Prabhas for his superstardom in Telugu cinema. The choice of this film for Sreenivas’s Hindi debut makes perfect sense. Director VV Vinayak, who took action films to new levels in Telugu at one point of time, and directed Sreenivas’ first Telugu movie, is helming his Hindi debut as well.
While Rajamouli and Prabhas die-hard fans firmly believe that Bellamkonda Sreenivas would hardly be a match for the intensity Prabhas brought to the screen, the initial response to the promos of the Hindi remake of Chatrapathi have been positive from the Hindi belt.

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