It's a clash of heavyweights in Telugu and Hindi industries. Bollywood alone has Rs 500-600 crore at stake. Sangeetha Devi Dundoo gets the details
Dookudu, which released on September 23, is still running to packed houses, setting new records. Apart from getting the biggest opening for any Telugu film, trade figures suggest that in a matter of days, the film will match the collections of Magadheera. Dasara came in early this year, cheered Mahesh Babu fans. NTR followed that with another roaring opening at the BO for his Oosaravelli. For the Telugu industry, Dasara has always been auspicious. For weeks earlier, the industry had no big releases and the numerous small budget movies failed to keep cash registers ringing. A slew of dubbed movies that tried to emulate Rangam's success also ate humble pie. Looks like the industry saved some of its big ticket releases for the end of the year.
2011 is poised for an interesting finish with big films lined up. Go on a cultural sojourn with Balakrishna's Sri Ramarajyam, which may also be Nayantara's swan song. This November release has Balakrishna as Sri Rama and Nayanatara as Sita and is based on Uttarakanda chapters from the Ramayana. Watch the story unfold in Bapu's direction with Ilayaraja's music, starring Akkineni Nageswara Rao as Valmiki.
Among the other November releases are Dil Raju's production Oh My Friend starring Siddharth and Shruti Hassan and Venkatesh-Trisha starrer Ganga – The Bodyguard. What worked in the original Malayalam flick directed by Siddique did wonders for Salman Khan, and the hit duo Venkatesh-Trisha hope the romantic comedy would be a joy ride for the Telugu audience too. December, as always, is marked for Akkineni Nagarjuna. Watch him as Rajanna, taking us back to post-Independence Hyderabad.
Is this a case of too many too soon? Sureshbabu, president of AP Film Chamber of Commerce, feels the situation cannot be avoided, considering that the industry now has 10 to 15 heroes who hold their own at the box office. “With each of these heroes doing two movies a year, it may not be possible to give long gaps between their releases,” he points out. The neck-to-neck releases, Sureshbabu adds, are also the result of schedules getting disrupted during the two strikes in the industry this year. “We have a good line up of films and the business should be good. Early 2012 also looks promising with Mahesh Babu's The Businessman, Ram Charan's Racha, Naga Chaitanya's Bejawada and Rana's Naa Ishtam expected,” he says.
In between all this, there will be a jostle for screen space as Bollywood and dubbed releases from Tamil will also vie for attention. First to arrive will be Nagesh Kukunoor's Mod, enjoying plenty of box office time before Shah Rukh Khan's much-hyped Ra.One keeps its date with Deepavali. No Bollywood producer wants to clash with SRK, barring Himesh Reshammiya's Damadamm. The industry is debating whether SRK, who has spent extravagantly on his dream project, will deliver a hit.
History meets science
Also brazen up for Suriya-Murugadoss magnum opus 7th Sense (dubbed from 7am Arivu) on Deepavali day. Suriya essays a double role — Buddhist monk Bodhidharman who lived in the 5th century and a contemporary role.
Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar will arrive on 11.11.11. Bollywood looks to sign off the year in style with Vidya Balan's Dirty Picture, Yash Raj's Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl and finally, Farhan Akhtar's Don 2 featuring Shah Rukh in a bolder, meaner avatar. Both Ra.One and Don 2 will release in 3D versions. Producer and distributor Riaz Hyder says, “At least Rs. 500 to 600 crores are at stake with the forthcoming releases, of which Ra.One and Don 2 are expected to take historic openings. 2011 has been a good year with hits like Yamla Pagla Deewana, Tanu Weds Manu, Ready, Murder 2, Delhi Belly, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Singham and Mere Brother ki Dulhan doing good business.”