Happy birthday Allu Arjun: How Pushpa’s overnight pan-India success was years in the making


Some film work well, others are hit and a rare few become blockbusters. And then there are phenomena that make the pundits sit up and take notice, and which set the standards for all future success. Allu Arjun’s Pushpa The Rise was one such film that kept the cash registers ringing when India was still dealing with 50 per cent occupancy in theatres. A film that was supposed to get the Telugu audiences back to the velvety darkness of movie halls had people dancing in theater aisles from Gujarat to Bihar. Celebs and cricketers made Instagram reels as they mimicked Allu’s dialogues and dance steps from the film. It has already entered that rare club — a pan India success.

They would want you to believe that Allu’s success was an overnight sensation. His loyal audience, however, knows better. In the Hindi belt, it was years in the making. Allu had been making and breaking records when no one was watching, until it all came to fruition with Pushpa. The star accepted as much in an interview. Allu Arjun spoke about how the ‘multi-genre format’ of the Indian cinema worked well for the Sukumar directorial. He said people crave for a mass entertainer, which Pushpa The Rise delivered. He also spoke about how the success of the film is a result of what’s been happening for the past 10 years. In an interview with Pinkvilla, Allu Arjun opened up on how people in Hindi belt have been consuming Telugu films dubbed in Hindi for several years now. “They have been seeing dubbed films. This (success) didn’t happen overnight. It is the 100th sugar cube effect,” he said.

Before the pandemic closed most of the world, Allu Arjun’s Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo was one of the last entertainers that people experienced at the theaters. The film released a day after Mahesh Babu and Rashmika Mandanna’s Sarileru Neekevvaru and yet managed to make and break records at the box office. The Trivikram Srinivas directorial is one of the top 10 highest grossing Telugu films of the country. While the first and the second position in the list is occupied by SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali 2 and his latest release RRR, Pushpa and Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo have managed to grab fifth and sixth spot, respectively. Pushpa has reportedly earned Rs 365 crore worldwide, while Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo managed to collect a total of Rs 262 crore.

Apart from box office records, Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo became of the most streamed film on OTT in 2020. It also registered a record TRP (Television Rating Point) with 29.4 rating, highest for a Telugu film ever. Another film of Allu Arjun that made him popular among the non-Telugu speaking audience is Boyapati Srinu’s Sarrainodu. As per a ETimes report, Sarrainodu and Allu Sirish’s ABCD – American Born Confused Desi were one of the most-watched movies on television in 2021. In 2018, the dubbed version of Sarrainodu became the most watched Indian movie of all time on YouTube. The film is also getting a Hindi remake. Titled Shehzada, the film will star Kartik Aaryan in the lead role.

Post Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo release, Allu Arjun commented on its success in the Hindi belt and opened up on exploring the opportunity to star in a full-fledged Hindi film. The actor called Bollywood “aspirational” and told Film Companion that he “wouldn’t mind doing a straight Hindi film.”

Talking about his popularity in the Northern states of the country, Allu Arjun said during a press meet that he is “absolutely fortunate to be loved in another language because I do not speak that language.” “We were making a Telugu film. It just happened that it got dubbed in Hindi. And it was received with amazing love. Now that so many people are watching it, we want to give you the best quality film possible. Bhaiyyo aur behno, thank you for all the love,” he said. He also spoke about how with Pushpa’s Hindi dubbed version, the makers were “testing waters” as the actor himself had observed how some of his (and many other) Telugu films did amazingly well on satellite and YouTube.

At an event, he also spoke about how his focus is going to be on picking “authentic scripts.” He said his focus would be on making “great Telugu films that will have appeal to people who speak other languages.” As far as the title of being a pan-India actor goes, Allu Arjun concluded, “Why just limit ourselves with Pan-India? Lets make multi-lingual films and see how it works.”

On the work front, Allu Arjun will soon start working on Pushpa The Rule, the second part of the 2021 release. The film, directed by Sukumar, will see Allu Arjun return to screens as Pushpa Raj. Rashmika Mandanna, Fahadh Faasil, Sunil, Anasurya Bharaddwaj and others will also revive their respective roles in the film.

Here’s wishing Allu Arjun a very happy birthday!