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The pressure to succeed

Bhanu Mehra with Allu Arjun in 'Varudu'

Bhanu Mehra with Allu Arjun in 'Varudu'

When Shruti Haasan made her debut with Anaganaga Oka Dheerudu , all eyes were on her. The social media branded her as the ‘star with the best of DNA from both her parents’. The moment the film sank at the box office, followed by a series of disastrous films, people were quick to label her as ‘unlucky’. There are other similar examples; take the case of Nikisha Patel, a newcomer who bagged the heroine’s role in Pawan Kalyan starrer Puli and is now doing C grade films after the film failed to click at the marquee. Bhanushree Mehra’s was the most talked-about debut with her face hidden from all the publicity material in Allu Arjun starrer Varudu and when the film hit the screen, she slipped into oblivion and never got a decent film after that. Now she stands beside a hero as his sister-in- law or a friend in a two-minute scene. Ditto with Sheela who worked in Parugu too.

The industry is very unfair to the fair sex, though their role in the film and their contribution to its success is minimal. The producers and directors keep them at bay if the film doesn’t work for whatever reason but in case it works big time like Gabbar Singh did for Shruti Haasan, then she instantly turns a favourite. Talent manager and producer Mahendra says, “This industry runs on sentiments. If the film is a success, the producer and directors will come in droves and book them and the actor will have at least ten films on hand. If it fails they think a hundred times to cast her again as it is a business worth crores. Usually they wait to see the result of her second and third film. If they fail, she loses the chance to return big time.”

But a few filmmakers exploit the situation — they look out for good looking girls who have been part of unsuccessful films and can perform. The production house capitalises on her non-happening career, as she is not in a position to demand big money and needs a break. It is in fact a win-win situation for both of them.

Movie buffs first select the film based on who the director and hero is, the heroine comes last. Paruchuri Gopalakrishna says, “I don't agree with the concept. Those days they would talk of Simran in a condescending manner but with Samarasimha Reddy there was no looking back for her. There are people who don’t believe in such flops, Ramanaidu was one of them — he trusted the story alone and would rope in the director, hero, and heroine despite they having a few flops. If the girls are not talented, nobody can do anything but I feel given an opportunity and a good role, they will bounce back. Those days we had excellent roles written for Jayaprada, Sridevi and Jayasudha. Now the roles are just driven by the concept of love and attraction. So the heroine gets to do very less.”

“It is a blind belief,” says Ramani, writer in Telugu film industry. She cites the example of Madhuri Dixit giving a string of flops before Dayavan and Tezaab happened and says young heroes are not an exception. “It happens with men too actually. If there is a strong background and support they become heroes. If their first film or second or even fifth flops, it is okay they will return because of their producer fathers. Pawan Kalyan’s Akkada Abbayi Ikkada Ammayi did not work, so also Vishnu Manchu’s. Producers should not worry about the previous work of the artiste. If one is talented, they should go ahead and rope them in after a make-up test. Publicity also plays a big role. If the film fails and media highlights the heroine’s beauty and performance, she still stands a chance.

She adds, “The so called ‘unlucky girls’ become golden girls in other language films, then it is our people’s turn to run behind them whom they first rejected. It has happened many a time.”


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Printable version | Jun 30, 2022 1:15:31 am | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/debut-films-success-makes-or-mars-the-career-of-heroines/article6697429.ece