Leo’s Hindi Belt Disappointment: Here’s how Leo makers missed the golden opportunity to make Thalapathy Vijay’s Film the biggest hit for Tamil cinema in the Hindi belt. Check 5 reasons!
Leo is a highly anticipated Tamil movie with Lokesh Kanagaraj, an exceptional director with a 100% hit ratio, and Thalapathy Vijay, an actor at the peak of his stardom. The movie has a star-studded cast, an exciting trailer, and expectations that are off the charts. It is setting new records globally with advanced ticket sales, and ticket booking trends are on par with blockbuster sequels like Baahubali 2 and KGF 2, except in Hindi.
There is a growing interest in Hindi dubbed versions of Tamil and Telugu films, as audiences seek out “masala content.” Movies like Baahubali: The Beginning, Baahubali: The Conclusion, Robot 2.0, KGF: Chapter 1, Saaho, Pushpa: The Rise, RRR, KGF: Chapter 2, and Kantara have broken box-office records not just in their respective industries but also in the pan-India market.
If Leo makers had promoted the film more aggressively, especially for the Hindi release, Leo could have been a massive success, joining the league of pan-India hits from South India. When Leo was announced, there was a belief that it could help Tamil cinema make inroads into the Hindi market, given the high expectations surrounding it.
Let’s discuss how Leo makers missed the golden opportunity to make Thalapathy Vijay’s Film the biggest hit for Tamil cinema in the Hindi belt
Lack of promotions
One of the primary reasons for the missed opportunity is the lack of promotion. While Leo, directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj and starring Thalapathy Vijay, is highly anticipated in Tamil, the same cannot be said for other languages, particularly Hindi. Tamil cinema has struggled to attract Hindi audiences to theaters, with only a few exceptions like 2.0. Leo has the potential to create a significant impact in Hindi, with the hype and reach of Vikram, and rake in a box office collection of ₹100 crore, just like Pushpa. However, the opportunity was wasted. It’s unfortunate and disappointing that the makers did not promote Leo, especially in Hindi. A little promotional push could have made all the difference, but they chose to rule out this market.
Star cast cut out for Pan-India success
Thalapathy Vijay is already popular in North India, thanks to the audience’s exposure to his dubbed films on YouTube and satellite channels. The casting of Sanjay Dutt showed the intent of Leo makers that they were targeting the Hindi market. Along with Vijay, the presence of Sanjay Dutt is a considerable factor in pulling the audience to the theatres. He was an important part of KGF 2’s success in Hindi. A promo released on his character attracted huge attention. Leo makers could have cashed in on his casting and positioned the movie strongly in Hindi. But there was not a single interview from Sanjay Dutt on Leo.
The presence of a strong buzz
Leo generated tremendous buzz in North India. It was one of the most anticipated movies of 2023. The movie gained considerable momentum in the Hindi belt. The promos of the film which were released on YouTube attracted the viewers. Fans were eagerly waiting for a huge release. While Vikram was not a major success in Hindi, the LCU connection made the audience excited about Leo and looking forward to it. The makers could have banked on the strong buzz and taken the Hindi market seriously.
The universal content of Leo perfect for pan-India
If you look at why Pushpa had a dream run in North India, it’s because the audiences were able to connect with the mass masala content of the film and Allu Arjun’s characterization of Pushparaj.
Leo seems like a tailor-made film for Hindi audiences, it has strong, unique content; talented actors; acclaimed technicians, rich production values, high-octane action sequences, and chartbuster music. This is precisely the recipe for a bonafide blockbuster in Bollywood. The audiences have been deprived of such films for longer in Bollywood.
A major blunder on National Multiplexes
National multiplexes such as PVR, Inox, and Cinepolis have declined to screen the Hindi version of Leo due to the move of the film’s producer to debut the movie on the OTT platform within four weeks of theatrical release, instead of the stipulated eight-week window.
This is a huge setback for Leo as the movie is also releasing in IMAX format and most of the IMAX screens are situated in north India, potentially depriving the movie of substantial box office revenue associated with this premium format.
With the latest news of IMAX India pushing the release of Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon in India by a week to 27, October to give prime showcasing to Leo, it would have been a great advantage for Leo if the National multiplexes in North India screened the movie.
Not all is lost for Leo. The Hindi version is still getting released on 2000 screens in North India and the advance booking so far is really impressive. It can sustain in theatres and have a long run in theatres provided the word of mouth turns out to be good.
Lessons to Tamil cinema producers
Tamil cinema has a long way to go in achieving the pan-India status that Telugu cinema has already attained. This is primarily because Tamil cinema producers do not seem to be making serious efforts to capture the Hindi market. To reach a wider audience, Tamil cinema producers may follow in the footsteps of their Telugu and Kannada counterparts, who have successfully captured the Hindi market by putting in dedicated efforts.