Telugu films: a year of few hits and many flops

NOT UP TO THE MARK: Mahesh Babu and Trisha in Sainikudu

NOT UP TO THE MARK: Mahesh Babu and Trisha in Sainikudu  

K.V.S. Madhav

Mediocrity rules the roost in an industry which produces the largest number of films

HYDERABAD: These are hopeful times for Indian cinema. There is no room for cynicism, but plenty of it for creativity, passionate explorations and uplifting tales. Alas, only the Telugu film industry chose to undulate in the muck and muddle of mediocrity, going back leap years in innovation.

When Bollywood was busy rediscovering itself with tales about the essential goodness of universal love espoused by the Father of the Nation (Lage Raho Munnabhai... ), dark yet riveting drama adapted from Shakespeare (Omkara) and patriotism `Rang De Basanti', the Telugu film industry plunged itself into an abyss of mediocrity. While Bollywood resonated with applause, both critical and from the masses, the self indulgent, audience-intelligence-underestimating Telugu filmmakers fell flat on their faces rejected outright by all.

Dismal record

Such was its dismal performance this year that only a handful of Telugu films hit the bull's eye while about 100 bit the dust. Mahesh Babu's `Pokiri', Nagarjuna's `Sri Ramadasu', Siddharth's `Bommarillu', Sunil's `Andala Ramudu' and Venkatesh's `Lakshmi' were the only genuine hits this year while several big heroes, including Chiranjeevi and Balakrishna, were down in the dumps.

Worse, the endless remakes and rehashes of jaded formulae invariably woven around the heroes did not cut any ice with the audience that has grown over the years in encouraging and accepting good cinema made with intrigue and entertainment.

The desperation of producers was evident in their irrational attempts to check small producers and those making dubbing films. As much as it is proficient in stifling opposition and upsurge of `outsiders,' the producers' clique was equally adept at giving controversies a silent burial, reaching `amicable agreements' with them.

Flop parade

Meanwhile, the big heroes with wigs continued their desperate attempts to look young pairing up with heroines fit to be their grand daughters! The biggest duds that incurred huge losses shattering all expectations include Pawan Kalyan's `Bangaram', Balakrishna's `Veerabhadra', NTR Junior's `Ashok', Nagarjuna's `Boss', Chiranjeevi's `Stalin', and Mahesh Babu's `Sainikudu'. Raviteja's `Khatarnak', Prabhas's `Pournami' that halted the juggernaut of producer M.S. Raju, Siddharth's `Chukkallo Chandrudu' were also on the flop list.

`Bhagyalakshmi Bumper Draw', `Kithakithalu', `Godavari', `Samanyudu' `Pellaina Kotthallo' endeared themselves to the audiences with their simplicity or comic flair. The industrycould churn out only a handful of genuine hits in 52 weeks. What a pity!

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