The year 2023 promises to be a bumper one for the four film industries in south India. The Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada film industries have, by and large, performed well over the years, giving a lot of hits. If popular perception is to be believed, they have even outshined Bollywood in this period. The industries will look to carry that form into this year and they have every reason to be optimistic. For 2023 brings back screen legends in iconic roles, young stars coming up with big-budget extravaganzas, and movie maestros completing blockbuster sagas. A look at the most anticipated films from down south in 2023.
Release date- January 11, Director- H Vinoth, Cast- Ajith Kumar, Manju Warrier, Samuthirakani
Ajith Kumar will start the year off with the first of the Pongal releases. Thunivu is a heist drama with Ajith in a never-seen-before grey avatar. Given that Ajith-Vinoth combine has already given two consecutive hits, there are high hopes from this one.
Release date- January 12, Director- Vamshi Paidipally, Cast- Vijay, Rashmika Mandanna, Prakash Raj
Hot on Thunivu’s heels is Thalapathy Vijay’s family drama-cum action entertainer Varisu. The film is a slight variation from Vijay’s recent mass actioners but given the star’s red-hot form (he hasn’t given a flop in seven years), it is a much awaited title.
Release date- April 14, Director- Nelson, Cast- Rajinikanth, Shiva Rajkumar, Ramya Krishnan, Yogi Babu
In April, the biggest star of them all – Rajinikanth – returns to the big screen after two years. Jailer is a typical Rajini action comedy, with the added twist of director Nelson’s signature dark humour. A Rajini film always generates buzz and when one comes after such a long gap, it is likely to set the cash registers ringing.
Release date- TBD, Director- Mohanlal, Cast- Mohanlal, Maya
A film over four years in the making, Barroz marks screen legend Mohanlal’s directorial debut. The 3D action adventure film is based on a Portuguese fable about Vasco da Gama’s lost treasure. The scale of the film and Mohanlal’s presence make it a much-awaited title.
Ponniyin Selvan II (Tamil)
Release date- April 28, Director- Mani Ratnam, Cast- Jayam Ravi, Vikram, Karthi, Aishwarya Rai, Trisha
The biggest Tamil film of last year was Mani Ratnam’s magnum opus Ponniyin Selvan: I, which grossed almost Rs 500 crore. The multi-starrer saga returns in April with the concluding part. Industry analysts speculate it will surpass even part 1 in earnings.
Release date- TBD, Director- R Chandru, Cast- Kiccha Sudeep, Upendra, Shriya Saran, Manoj Bajpayee
The Kannada film industry ruled the box office in 2022. This year, the flagbearer of Sandalwood is this pan-India action drama, which features two stars from the industry – Sudeep and Upendra – and a host of big names from the rest of the country.
Release date- September 28, Director- Prasanth Neel, Cast- Prabhas, Prithviraj, Shruthi Haasan
Even though his box office record since Baahubali has not been the best, Prabhas’ star power has not dimmed a bit. This year, he joins forces with Prasanth Neel, director of last year’s biggest film KGF 2. Add to it Prithviraj Sukumaran and Salaar is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Release date- TBD, Director- Amal Neerad, Cast- Mammootty, Dulquer Salmaan, Manoj K Jayan
15 years after the sucess of the cult classic film Big B, Mammootty is returning to his iconic role in the sequel Bilal. Big B is considered a milestone in Malayalam cinema history and hence its remake carries weight. The cherry on top is that Mammootty is co-starring with his son Dulquer Salmaan.
Pushpa 2: The Rule (Telugu)
Release date- TBD, Director- Sukumar, Cast- Allu Arjun, Fahadh Faasil, Rashmika Mandanna
Pushpa was a pan-India blockbuster in the most real sense. The film, which has become part of pop culture across the country, returns to the theatres later this year (hopefully) with its concluding part. It is already touted to be one of the biggest hit of the year by many.
Indian 2 (Tamil)
Release date- TBD, Director- Shankar, Cast- Kamal Haasan, Kajal Aggarwal, Siddharth, Rakul Preet Singh
Indian was a pan-india success before the term had even been invented. Kamal Haasan’s 1996 hit was released in Hindi as Hindustani and developed a cult following nationally over the years. Over a quarter of a century later, Haasan is returning as his iconic octagenarian anti-hero and the audiences simply can’t wait.