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The film set for SS Rajamouli's “Baahubali” at the Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad, India.

The film set for SS Rajamouli's “Baahubali” at the Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad, India.

 Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Pursuits
Screentime

Bollywood Is Threatened by India's Other Movie-Making Powerhouse

A new genre of over-the-top action flicks, loaded with toxic masculinity, are setting India’s box office on fire.

Bollywood has a serious rival now in India. It’s bigger, louder and is making more money than its prolific, glitzy Hindi-language cousin known for its signature dance moves and opulent wedding scenes.

A new genre of films from southern India — epic, big-budget, over-the-top action flicks, some of them served with a dollop of toxic masculinity and gory violence — are increasingly dominating the country’s $24 billion media and entertainment market, and in some cases, making their mark beyond India. Though shot in regional languages like Telugu and Kannada, they are drawing millions of viewers to theaters screening dubbed versions and to streaming platforms carrying subtitles.