‘Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare’ & ‘Kousalya Supraja Rama’ rekindle Sandalwood’s BO success

With five more months to wrap 2023, Sandalwood witnessed the release of 90-plus movies and is inching closer to the century mark.

ByShashiprasad S M

Published Aug 03, 2023 | 5:58 PMUpdatedAug 09, 2023 | 3:17 PM

Sandalwood's box-office back on track

At the beginning of 2023, elections were around the corner for Karnataka; and of course, the political heat was at its peak.

While the film industry was slowly bouncing back to normalcy post the pandemic, including multiple lockdowns, Sandalwood struggled badly with elections and also the latest season of the Indian Premier League.

Though it started with a big-budget star-studded movie — Challenging Star Darshan’s Kranti — it turned out to be average at the box office.

Amid this, South First reports on how Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare and Kousalya Supraja Rama — the latest releases — have once again turned the tables for Sandalwood.

Related: ‘Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare’: This hostel boys’ crazy escapades promise unlimited fun

About to touch century mark

With five more months to wrap 2023, Sandalwood witnessed the release of 90-plus movies and is inching closer to the century mark.

Despite the post-pandemic scenario, elections, and months-long cricket league, many moderate and low-budget production ventures kept hitting the screens in Karnataka; at times, five-six films were released in a week. Reason: a backlog of projects.

The pandemic resulted in the piling up of films that forever waited to see the day of light. However, once the restrictions were lifted and life slowly returned to normalcy, producers could no longer wait for the right time and took chances.

Hence, the success rate of the Kannada film industry dipped drastically to its lowest.

Related: ‘Kousalya Supraja Rama’: An entertaining prescription for male ego

Good is not enough

Lead pair of Kousalya Supraja Rama

Lead pair of ‘Kousalya Supraja Rama’. (MilanaNagaraj/ Twitter)

Director-producer Shashank, who is basking in the success of Kousalya Supraja Rama, told South First that Kannada audiences proved time and again that they will watch and support any film with good content and quality making.

Kousalya Supraja Rama is doing great. So far, the investments have been more or less recovered. The second-week collections will determine how much it will end up making profits,” he revealed.

Though it’s a good sign that Kannada audiences are visiting the theatres, the director-producer points out that it’s a difficult task to achieve.

Shashank elaborated: “Though some good films were released in the past six-seven months, ‘good is never enough’ for our audiences. But it really feels good to make them return to theatres at a time when the world cinema is easily available at their fingertips.”

Related: The idea for ‘Kousalya Supraja Rama’ struck my mind on Women’s Day, says Shashank

Marketing matters too

While decoding the first true blockbuster hit of Sandalwood in 2023 — Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare (which was released two weeks ago — industry insiders pointed out that the marketing strategy did work initially in favour of the film, but it succeeded because of its good content.

The makers of Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare did almost everything right from the beginning. From revealing the title by the Powerstar late Dr Puneeth Rajkumar to the ‘quirky and funny’ promotional videos featuring actor-politician Ramya, all worked in getting the attention of the younger lot — their target audience, the industry insiders said.

Also, some felt that the legal case by Ramya against the makers of the film over the alleged violation of “artistic agreement”, just before the release date, did help the audience notice the project.

Asked about the marketing approach of Kousalya Supraja Rama, director Shashank said it was more of a traditional one.

“We solely believed in our content and did everything needed to promote its content. Two songs were already popular; When the film was released in theatres, the word-of-mouth publicity did the magic.”

He added, “It is also true in the case of Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare. Though their strategy was quite different, it is content that eventually won the hearts of the audience.”

Also Read: Shooting for ‘Slum Dog Husband’ was fun: AR Sreedhar

Honourable mentions

It’s not like Sandalwood did not produce any good films in 2023 so far, but many simply failed to make a greater impact on the audience’s minds.

While Daredevil Musthafa was one of the rarest successes of the year, it nearly failed to become a blockbuster film.

Previously, Kranti and Kabzaa, both star-studded films that took off on a grand scale, failed to meet expectations.

Other honourable mentions of Kannada films that did their best in terms of content and making include Orchestra Mysore, Hondisi Bareyiri, 19.20.21, Dooradarshana, Gurudev HoysalaPentagon, Shivaji Surathkal 2, Raghavendra Stores, Pinki Elli?, Nanu Kusuma, and Damayana.

Last but not least, PRK Productions’ Aachar & Co., spearheaded by women, is the latest “good” film that was released alongside the very good (Kousalya Supraja Rama).