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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

(M)Allu Arjun rocks ~ Times of India Article

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Telugu star Allu Arjun, a rank outsider to Malayalam cinema, has taken Kerala by storm with the release of the dubbed version of his Arya 2.

The film, which released in 65 screens last Friday, has grossed a whopping Rs 67 lakhs in three days! Says a leading exhibitor in Kerala, “The film has taken an M & M (Mammootty & Mohanlal) kind of opening and is running to packed houses even in smaller centres. To be frank, our young heroes never enjoy this kind of an opening!”

With the success of the film, Allu Arjun — popularly known as Bunny — has become a youth icon in Kerala. In fact, a market survey states that he is way ahead, in terms of popularity, than other young Malayali actors like Prithviraj and Jayasuriya. The stylish star’s earlier Telugu films like Arya, Happy, Desamuduru and Parugu have all been dubbed into Malayalam and turned out to be huge hits. It was his films that started the trend of Telugu mass commercial films being dubbed into Malayalam.

The rights of Arya 2, which were purchased for Rs 1.05 crore, is expected to take a distributor’s share close to Rs 2 crore in Kerala. Allu’s next release Varudu, in which Tamil actor Arya plays villain, is reported to have been sold for Rs 1.5 crore! Meanwhile, Tamil actor Ajith’s Aasal, which also released worldwide last Friday, could not release in the Malabar and Travancore areas, as theatres there preferred to screen Arya 2 instead. Says Ravi, the distributor of Arya 2, who also regularly distributes Tamil films, “Today, among other language actors, Allu Arjun comes second only to Ilaiyathalapathi Vijay in terms of popularity, in Kerala.”

Recently, Bunny was in Thiruvananthapuram to participate in a television channel’s award ceremony. He was mobbed by his fans who lovingly call him ‘Mallu Arjun’. Today, Allu has as many hoardings as any other big Malayalam star.

So, what is it about Bunny that has made him such a rage among youngsters? Says Ravi, “He dances like a dream and all his movies have a romantic touch. Also, he has a Malayali look that gets the girls swooning. His core strength lies in his fan following among the youth, which identifies with him. No other young actor has managed to do this till date.”

Allu, who now has several fan clubs, is planning to tour the state and interact with his fans. His forthcoming movie Varudu, currently in production, was shot in Kochi and Palakkad. M & M will have to rethink their strategies on how to cope with the threat that’s being posed by ‘Mallu’ Arjun, who has been crowned by trade pundits as the new ‘Prince of the Kerala box office’.

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