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Dubbed films rule yet again

M.L. Narasimham

Fresh scripts and novel treatments are what the audience want. This was the message sent out by the massive success of dubbed films.

It was history repeating yet again. The hits were few and far between and the flops just piled on into a dismal heap which, when broken down to statistics, put the previous year's performance in better light. A dubious record, despite the abolition of slab system of tax and the sops doled out by the State Government to the film industry.

This was the year of dubbed films, especially those taken from Tamil. It is an irony that a handful of dubbed hits collected more revenue than the combined box-office moolah of the `biggest hits' in Telugu. And this despite every film being a "super hit" or "100 days guaranteed" in audience opinion polls. What a shame!

The star power has diminished for sure but not the asking price of actors! The illusion about their image and crowd pulling "capacity" doesn't seem like fading. As for concentrating on content, who's bothered? That explains the state of affairs and the big-budget debacle. But there is a rosy side to the picture too, thanks to a couple of young talents and the audience sending clear signals that they would appreciate any fresh thought irrespective of star power.

Of the 131 films released, only three big hits and a little over half-a-dozen commercial successes recovered their costs and earned profits. There were about 64 dubbed films, of which four huge hits, one hit and half-a-dozen films made profit.

Though the star syndrome didn't hold good this year as far as box-office barometer was concerned, here is a peep into how the top guns fared. Chiranjeevi had two releases, his dual role attempt, Andarivaadu, disappointed while Jai Chiranjeeva (released on December 21) opened to huge collections thanks to the increase in the balcony rates for the first two weeks by a recent Government Order. It is early to predict this film's BO stamina. Balakrishna too met with a dismal result with his dual role in Allari Pidugu.

The much successful Nagarjuna too had to contend with an average grosser Super, confined to a few major cities. Venkatesh had a mixed year with one hit Sankranthi and one flop, Subhashchandra Bose. Ravitheja salvaged his image with Bhadra and followed it up with an average grosser, Bhageeratha. Junior N.T.R's two attempts (Naa Alludu and Narasimhudu) proved disasters. Srikanth (Bapu-Ramana's comeback film Radhagopalam) and Jagapathi Babu (Anukokunda Oka Roju) met with some success. Tarun, Uday Kiran, Nitin, Sumanth and a few other young aspirants drew a blank.

Fresh faces

The find of the year is undoubtedly Siddharth (Nuvvosthanante Nenoddantana). M.S. Raju's smash hit has also one more find, Prabhudeva as a filmmaker. Mahesh Babu's big hit, Athadu, finally made the producers to forget its deficit release. The film also stated ace writer-director Trivikram's ability to handle action films with ιlan. Putting behind a flop (Chakram), Prabhas has clearly arrived with Chatrapathi, another big hit directed by S.S. Rajamouli. Allu Arjun continued his success story with Vinayak's Bunny, Kalyana Ram finally clicked with Athanokkade, a finely cut narrative from debutante Surendra Reddy.

S.V. Krishna Reddy threw a surprise success package, Hungama with Venumadhav and Ali. The Lagadapati couple proved that publicity gimmicks still works with E.V.V.'s runaway comedy hit, Evadi Gola Vaadidhi. Gopichand's Andhrudu, directed by Paruchuri Murali, fared well too. Among the heroines, Trisha made a mark with two big hits followed by Sindhu Tolani, Sneha and Charmme.

Other directors who met with success are Muppalaneni Siva (Sankranthi), debutante Boyapati Srinu (Bhadra). Krishnavamsy (Chakram) and Puri Jagannath (Super) could not live up to the expectations. The former, however, came up with a slick thriller, Danger, a low-budget proposition that went well with the multiplex kind. Apart from his attempt, two novel presentations by Chandrasekhar Yeleti (Anukokunda Oka Roju) and Sekhar Suri (A Film by Aravind) were lapped up by the audience, clearly stating that they are in for a change from the routine. Indraganti Mohana Krishna's Grahanam won national honours.

Resurgence of dubbed films

This big change in the audience perception is evident with the huge success of Rajnikanth-Jyothika starrer, the haunting supernatural Chandramukhi, directed by P. Vasu, Shankar's Aparichithudu, with Vikram in a split personality triple role, A.R. Murugadas's Ghazini with Surya, the Erragulabeelu-type psycho thriller Manmatha with Simbu in a dual role and the off-beat love story Premisthe, directed by Balaji Shakthivel for Shankar with debutantes Sandhya and Bharath.

Ace producer Allu Aravind put his stakes on Ghazini and Gemini Film Circuit dubbed Surya's recent Tamil film Aru. Apart from the above five films, over half-a-dozen other films dubbed from English and other languages fared well too. As of now, the wave of dubbed films looks set to carry over to the coming year too with many Telugu producers vying for film rights at huge stakes.

It is heartening to note that as many as 60 new producers entered the field in 2005. But how many of them did manage to complete their films? Are these gullible glamour-struck investors falling into the hands of a few proposal makers without an iota of knowledge about films and filmmaking? Can the A.P. State Film Chamber of Commerce or the Producers' Council guide these new entrants and make them understand the nuances of film business? Can our popular film personalities ever learn that "image" and "star pull" are myths? The abolition of slab system was supposed to help the low-budget filmmaker. Is he getting the best of theatres at reasonable rents? How many theatres in the State being controlled by big groups are enjoying the sops? Does the film fraternity constantly need to `beg' the government to come to help when the need of the hour is to put their own house under order? Content and formwill decide the fate of any film. Learn it from the dubbed hits. That's the lesson for the New Year.

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