Even as directors and male leads are capitalising on experimenting with genres for a while now, the Telugu film industry is understood to be reviving the times gone by — an era that acquainted the audience with a series of period, socio-fantasy and spiritual scripts. The constellation of new releases queued up in the near future would only exemplify the swing in Tollywood.
‘King’ Nagarjuna is heading the race with four varied projects. Vijayendra Prasad’s Rajanna, a period flick, has him stepping into the shoes of freedom fighter Hanumanthu, as part of which the makers are not hesitating to shell out crores of rupees on reconstructing the past. Srinivas Reddy’s Damarukam is costing about Rs 40 crore for its producers (RR Movie Makers) on magnificent sets, costumes and visual effects, it being a socio-fantasy. The icing on the cake is his playing God for the first time in K Raghavendra Rao’s Shiridi Sai and the devoutness is carried on in JK Bharavi’s Adisankara too wherein Nag is to do a key role. Writer and soon-to-be director Gopimohan comments on the change in the mode saying, “Public always welcome creative content has become evident with Kodi Ramakrishna’s Arundhati, a visual spectacle. Rajamouli’s Magadheera however set the trend for experimentation in genres.” Movies like Panchakshari, Mangala, Anaganaga Oka Dheerudu, Robot and Nagavalli substantiated the fact that history repeats. Nevertheless, viewers are not falling for hype and hoopla but embracing only those with substance.
No doubt, the second generation superstars like Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna and Nagarjuna reinstated the legacy of Telugu cinema though their earlier works including Yamudiki Mogugu, Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari, Aditya 369, Bhairava Dweepam, Annamayya and Sri Ramadsu. And it’s now time for the youngsters to take the baton. For the moment, Balakrishna yet again is opening the doors for mythological films with Bapu’s Sri Ramarajyam. The venture has him diving in to the golden olden days where he got into the skin of the magical characters of Abhimanyu, Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Lakshmi Manchu’s Ookodatara Ulikkipadatara is learnt to have a couple of fantasy elements and has Balyya doing a cameo. While Pawan Kalyan will be seen as Jesus Christ in Singeetam Srinivasa Rao’s Prince of Peace, Sri Hari will make us remember late SV Ranga Rao and Satyanarayana by portraying ferocious Lord Yama in Jitender’s Yamaho Yama. “And, to drive crowds to theatres, the makers are adopting the old genres and modernizing the content. Imaginative plots, credible narration, powerful characters, high-end computer graphics, richness in backdrop, stylized outfits, pleasing tunes, enthusiastic promos, are all part of the game,” assistant director Veera Reddy, who is associated with Tolisariga and Unixell Neeku Naku Madhya, voiced his opinion.
Suriya’s 7th Sense (original being Tamil 7aam Arivu) is coming out with the necessary packaging. The actor essays three different roles — a circus guy, a scientist and a Buddhish monk. The title itself conveys the scope for graphics undreamt of. Rajinikanth’s Dheera (earlier was named Sultan-The Warrior) is an animated periodical drama and guarantees mannerisms of the superstar apart from incredibly choreographed action episodes. KS Ravikumar’s Rana, a historical action entertainer, is to have Rajini putting up an incredible show. Creative film-maker SS Rajamouli is coming up with a sci-fi this time. Eega is said to have world-class computer-generated imagery (CGI) works amounting to around `5 crore. “Had the budget stayed in limits, Mahesh Babu would have sizzled in a period flick with Mani Ratnam. Thus, the younger generation is found to be keen to shed its image and up for adapting the trend. Consequently, simple entertainers, family dramas, reality bites and slapstick comedy are giving way to old genres packaged with panache,” Gopimohan concludes.