Cinema

Year of family entertainers

Ala Modalaindi  

A welcome trend set by 2011 is the success of some low and medium budget films as against the star-studded extravaganzas proving a point that well researched screenplay and story content always draws to the theatres, irrespective of the stars involved. On the flip side, the Telugu film industry suffered, mostly due to strikes within and external reasons like political movements, all compelling productions to be stopped for months. Perhaps this could be why there has been a spurt in the release of dubbed films. The Telugu films fell to a decade's low of 105 (as on December 23) while dubbed releases are estimated to be 115. These are mostly dubbed from Tamil and English with an occasional film from Hindi and Malayalam.

Though the number may sound high, this was not the year of dubbed films — as it was in 2005 when three films, Chandramukhi, Aparichithudu and Ghajini, collected more than any Telugu film. Srinu Vytla-Mahesh Babu combo ensured that Dookudu created a new box office record in the history of Telugu cinema.

What clicked

Apart from Mahesh Babu who had a box office bonanza, among other top heroes Prabhas tasted big success with Mr. Perfect while Ram ( Kandireega) and Raviteja ( Mirapakay) also churned out hits. Akkineni Nagarjuna's Rajanna(released on Dec 22) opened to good response and is termed a hit by trade pundits while Nandamuri Balakrishna won critical acclaim in Bapu-Ramana's mythological magnum opus Sri Ramarajyam. Nothing much to say about other top actors despite their talent — weak scripts might have let them down.

Debut filmmaker B.V. Nandini Reddy boosted the confidence of low budget filmmakers with the super hit Ala Modalaindi starring Nani and Nithya Menen while Sukumar renewed it with yet another super hit, 100% Love, starring Naga Chaitanya and Tamanna. The Nuvve Kaavali director Vijaya Bhaskar returned with the hit Prema Kaavali starring Aadi and Isha Chawla. Other films that made the moolah — Aha Naa Pellanta, Jai Bolo Telangana Pilla Zamindar Seematapakay, Solo and It's My Love Story. Sunil Kumar Reddy's Gangaputhrulu and Mohankrishna Indraganti's Golconda High School won critical acclaim.

A close look at these successful films indicates that wholesome family entertainers are back in vogue. Despite its action blocks, Dookudu's success depended largely on its humour and the novel family backdrop.

Among the dubbed films, Kanchana, acted and directed by Lawrence Raghavendra, was termed a super hit while the hit Rangam introduced one more popular Tamil actor Jiiva to Telugu audience. Karthi continued his lucky streak with the average grosser Naa Peru Siva. Released at the fag end of the year, Journey, dubbed by journalist-turned-producer Suresh Kondeti, is termed a hit. Interestingly, two Telugu actors – Sarwanand and Anjali- are in its lead. All these films were dubbed from Tamil.

Actors cross borders

While Tamil actors like Suriya and Karthi are showing an interest to act in Telugu films to widen their markets, our lead actors too are accepting offers from Tamil and other language film industries. Though the trend is not entirely new, Nagarjuna revived it with Gaganam ( Payanam in Tamil) followed by ‘Allari' Naresh, Sarwanand and Nani. Also in the pipeline are films starring Balakrishna, Manchu Manoj, Rajendra Prasad, Ram Charan Tej and a few others. The trend is catching on.

“This is not only to widen their markets, but also to satiate their urge to do different characters,” opines senior film critic V.S. Kesava Rao.

“Take for instance the recent crop of Tamil filmmakers. They are rooted to their native soil and write stories from real life's experiences. Whereas most of our writers and filmmakers though very talented, write hero-centric scripts; from where will they get fresh ideas?” It is also a good sign that our top actors are considering multi starrers. Venkatesh-Mahesh Babu starrer Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu produced by ‘ Dil' Raju is one such. It is a welcome sign that actors are also signing two to three films at the same time - that generates more work for technicians and other cine workers.

The year marked the birth centenary celebrations of filmmakers K.V. Reddy and Kamalakara Kameswara Rao. Nagarjuna and Venkatesh completed 25 years of their acting career and K.J. Yesudas 50 glorious years of his singing career.

On the whole, like in the previous year, 2011 too left the Telugu film industry with only 10 per cent success. With better content, budget control and planning, here's hoping the industry will deliver a better performance in 2012.


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Printable version | Oct 15, 2021 6:08:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/year-of-family-entertainers/article2744543.ece

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