Bollywood is rife with new project announcements and many of them happen to be the remakes of Telugu movies. From Wanted and Kick in the 2000s to the recent Simmba and Kabir Singh, the Hindi film industry has always shown its fascination with Tollywood by remaking several movies over the years. Unsurprisingly, the reverse scenario of this phenomenon is also pervasive. The upcoming Maestro starring Nithin and Tamannaah, which is a remake of Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun, is one amongst the long list of films to be remade from Hindi to Telugu.
Here’s a list of the best 10 Hindi to Telugu remakes, in chronological order:
Akbar Salim Anarkali (1979) from Mughal-e-Azam
Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam is an epic historical drama that is considered as one of the finest works in the history of Hindi Cinema. Starring Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Madhubala, the film became a huge sensation and was recorded as the highest grossing Indian film for 15 years. Mughal-e-Azam is a love story between Prince Salim and Anarkali, a dancer in Emperor Akbar’s court, and the subsequent drama that ensues when the Emperor finds out about it.
Almost 19 years after the release of the Hindi version, the Telugu remake Akbar Salim Anarkali was released with N.T. Rama Rao playing Emperor Akbar, Balakrishna playing Prince Salim and Deepa as Anarkali. The film holds its own ground with extraordinary performances, music and engaging drama. N.T. Rama Rao himself produced and directed the film as an ode to the original classic.
*Streaming on Amazon Prime Video
Thammudu (1999) from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar
Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar is now regarded as a cult film by many Hindi film audiences. The coming-of-age romance drama hits all the right notes when it comes to the masala genre with great emotional beats, outstanding music and an engaging final cycling race sequence. Amir Khan’s Sanjay was a very relevant character at the time of its release and his transformation in the movie resonated with the audiences.
The Telugu remake of this classic starring Pawan Kalyan has had the same impact. The film was immediately well received and became a huge sensation at the time. The cycling race in the original has been replaced with a boxing match and Pawan Kalyan’s training montage sequence with the “Travelling soldier” song was a huge sensation. Ramana Gogula’s music was an instant hit and the songs are still fondly remembered.
*Streaming on MX Player
Shankar Dada MBBS (2004) from Munna Bhai MBBS
Munna Bhai MBBS by Rajkumar Hirani can be considered as a trademark for comedy dramas in Hindi cinema. The film set a new direction in Hindi cinema which intermixed disparate genres into comedy.
Shankar Dada MBBS starring Chiranjeevi, Srikanth and Sonali Bendre was a refreshing change from the violent renditions of gangster genre films that the Telugu audiences were accustomed to. The Shankar-ATM friendship in the film has gathered many admirers and the music by Devi Sri Prasad was a huge sensation. The film managed to combine the gangster genre with comedy seamlessly and managed to be emotionally engaging along with churning out laughs from the audiences.
Eenadu (2009) from A Wednesday
A Wednesday is a movie about a common man (played by Naseeruddin Shah) going to extraordinary lengths in an attempt to kill the terrorists involved in the 2006 Mumbai bombings and a police officer (played by Anupam Kher) who has to deal with the situation.
The film is remade into Telugu with Kamal Hassan taking on the role of the common man and Venkatesh Daggubati playing the cop. It manages to recreate the atmosphere of its source material and equally memorable performances. The film plays out to be a gripping thriller with subtle humour sprinkled throughout and a superb climax confrontation scene between both the lead characters.
*Streaming on ZEE5
Billa (2009) from Don
Don (1978) is Hindi cinema’s one of the most iconic action thrillers. This Amitabh Bachchan’s rendition of Don has inspired several remakes not just in other languages but in Hindi too.
Billa, starring Prabhas, Anushka, Krishnam Raju and Namitha, is a stylized rendering of the cult classic and it measures up to the original in every right. The style and swagger of Billa and his gang are perfectly recreated by the cast. Krishnam Raju, who plays the police inspector, gives his character depth and the needed emotional gravitas. The action scenes and the music of Billa were record-breaking at the time.
Teen Maar (2011) from Love Aaj Kal
Love Aaj Kal by Imtiaz Ali is a story that focuses on two parallel love stories set in two different time periods. It beautifully portrays how the changing times have changed the way people love. Perhaps this was one of the reasons, along with the infectious soundtrack, that made the film so relatable and was instantly embraced by the audiences.
Teen Maar starring Pawan Kalyan and Trisha sincerely tries to recreate the magic of its source material. Albeit making a few changes to lend itself to Pawan Kalyan’s star persona and mass sensibilities of Telugu audiences, the film still makes for a refreshing watch and strikes the right chords.
*Streaming on Disney+ Hotstar
Gabbar Singh (2012) from Dabangg
The 2010 Salman Khan and Sonakshi Sinha starrer Dabangg is an action comedy that went on to become a huge hit with the masses. It was a full-on masala action movie with over the top antics and catchy song and dance.
Gabbar Singh is the official remake of Dabangg, starring Pawan Kalyan and Shruthi Haasan. This Telugu remake makes its own version of the Hindi original by adding stylized touches of Pawan Kalyan’s iconic tropes and drama relevant to the Telugu audiences. The music by Devi Sri Prasad became a huge sensation and many of the tunes are still popular.
*Streaming on Amazon Prime Video
Anaamika (2014) from Kahaani
Kahaani was a film by Sujoy Ghosh about a pregnant woman (played by a terrific Vidya Balan) who comes to Kolkata to find her missing husband. The film is an investigative thriller with a bombshell climax twist and well defined characters.
The movie was remade into Telugu as Anaamika by Sekhar Kammula starring Nayanthara. Sekhar Kammula was until then known for his feel-good films and him taking up the job of remaking a thriller like Kahaani was shocking. But the end product was a well-rounded film with considerable changes from its source material. Anaamika retains the essence of Kahaani but takes a refreshing tangential direction without diminishing the impact of the original.
*Streaming on Netflix
Gopala Gopala (2015) from OMG–Oh My God!
OMG is a satirical fantasy comedy starring Paresh Rawal and Akshay Kumar. The film is about an atheist who sues God for the destruction of his shop during an earthquake. It is quirky, funny yet touching and inspiring. The film was thought-provoking and has gathered quite a number of admirers over the years.
The film was remade into Gopala Gopala starring Venkatesh Daggubati as Gopala Rao and Pawan Kalyan as Gopala Govinda Hari (who is actually Lord Krishna). Venkatesh plays Gopala Rao with utmost conviction with a combination of satire and helplessness. Pawan Kalyan is also apt for his role as the mysterious “consultant” helping Gopala Rao win his case. The film makes for an enjoyable watch and measures up to the original.
Vakeel Saab (2021) from Pink
Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s Pink is regarded as one of the most important films to have been made in the Hindi film industry, and rightfully so. Impactful performances were put forth by the cast which includes Taapsee Pannu, Amitabh Bachchan, Kirti Kulhari, etc. The film discusses the concepts of consent, women’s freedom and speaks against victim blaming, etc. and is relevant in any part of India, which makes it “remake worthy”. There has already been a Tamil rendition Nerkonda Paarvai led by Ajith.
Pawan Kalyan’s Vakeel Saab turns this gripping story into a star-led masala-esque film without letting go of the power and intensity of its source material. This combination makes this remake a perfect fit for the Telugu audience. The film also stars Nivetha Thomas, Anjali, Prakash Raj and Ananya Nagalla. Although it introduces many masala tropes like adding a love angle to the titular character’s track and portraying him as this avenger of injustice, the film never fails to deliver its punches.