A sneak peek into Tollywood during corona
For an industry which has often been the numero uno in the number of films it churns out year after year in India, 2020 is nothing short of a severe disappointment
For an industry which has often been the numero uno in the number of films it churns out year after year in India, 2020 is nothing short of a severe disappointment. Nearly 30 films had made it to the theatres till the pandemic broke out in the second week of March.
Till then, things were looking pretty bright. The Sankranti releases – Alaa Vaikunthapurramuloo and Sarileru Neekevaru – had lit up the box-office like anything with both of them competing for the top slot in collections with the former having its nose slightly ahead, when the dust settled down.
Allu Arjun had come up with a masterly entertainer with the former, despite the storyline being hackneyed but sustained by a clever mix of action and emotion. Mahesh Babu starrer 'Sarileru Neekevaru', an action comedy film, despite severe hamming by the heroine Rashmika Mandanna and her co-stars still held its space in the minds of the 'Prince' fans, making its producer feeling extremely happy and Anil Ravipudi, the director continued with his trail of success.
Despite Vijay Devarakonda facing a flop with his 'World Famous Lover', the industry felt relieved that an offbeat crime thriller like 'Hit' starring Vishwak Sen found favour with the audience in February. Nitin too returned to form with his 'Bheeshma' which managed to appeal.
Things moved on to the OTT scene for the better part of the year for the Telugu film makers as the viewers were exposed to the new digital platform Aha apart from the national-level ones like Zee 5 and Prime Video, which screened nearly 30-odd films till December.
Other than a few like 'Krishna and his Leela', 'Middle Class Melodies', 'Colour Photo' etc many just sunk without a trace. This included the dubbed ones from Tamil starring leading female stars like Keerthy Suresh (Penguin), Jyothika (Ponmagal Vandhal), Nayanthara ( Ammoru Thalli) and original ones made in Telugu of Anushka Shetty (Nishabdham).
' Miss India' of the Mahanati actress too bit the dust for its amateurish screenplay and narration. With the big ticket venture like ' Solo Brathuke So Better' releasing during the Christmas weekend and cinema theatres permitted to open with 50 per cent seating capacity, the gradual restoration of the theatre crowd is anticipated. For that however the films too need to have commensurate entertainment quotient, something which is not guaranteed ever by makers of Telugu films.
Sankranti releases to watch out for…
Two weeks from now, as the festive atmosphere gives a heady feel, despite the looming presence of the pandemic, Telugu movie fans would be eagerly awaiting the release of Sankranti films. As of now, only three films have been readied for release, if reports in the cine media is to be believed.
Pawan Kalyan is expected to showcase 'Vakeel Saab', a reprisal of the Amitabh- Taapsee Pannu hit 'Pink' in which the role played by Bachchan Sr carries a lot of punch and scope for histrionics. The 'Power Star' fans have not had a major reason to celebrate for a long time, given that his recent releases have been lacklustre.
Ram Pothineni's ' Red', coming after his recent hit 'iSmart Shankar' which gave a lease of life to director Puri Jagannadh too is a big release. A remake of the crime thriller from Tamil 'Thadam', it would have Ram sporting a rugged, bearded look to suit the shadowy character he would be essaying in the venture.
Nithin's 'Rang De' is knocking at the doors during this very phase. Akhil Akkineni, the young hero who is yet to make a mark has his 'Most Eligible Bachelor' in the list of forthcoming releases. Ravi Teja, who also has been going through a slippery phase has 'Krack' co-starring Shruti Haasan.
RaNa Daggubati has 'Aranya' directed by Prabhu Solomon and is a multi-lingual starrer which has great expectations too. It is yet to be confirmed whether they too will join the Sankranti race.