HYDERABAD: For far too long, the Telugu film industry has been the popular punching bag for critics who constantly vilify it for producing uninspiring, re-hashed and formulaic commercial films.
In a panel discussion interestingly titled ‘Moving towards Meaningful Cinema’ at the seventh edition of the Hyderabad Literary Festival, actor Prakash Raj and director Nandini Reddy lamented the lack of literary awareness among the younger generation, which in turn is reflected in the films they make.
“There is no literary base in Telugu cinema compared to other languages in the south and that bothers me,” Reddy observed.
Nandini Reddy, who won the Nandi award for her directorial debut Ala Modalaindi, felt youngsters today are seeking inspiration from films and not good literature, which is the root cause of problems in films nowadays.
“Earlier, we would read a lot of books and that would shape our thinking and give us fresh ideas. But young filmmakers these days just keep watching the same films and don’t read literature. So their films only reflect the same old formulaic content,” Reddy said.
Prakash Raj, undoubtedly the celebrity of the day at the fest, walked in fashionably late in his inimitable swagger and observed that it’s important for budding filmmakers to have the freedom to explore with content.
“There is no dearth of talent in the Telugu film industry, but there is a dearth of connectivity. We are not giving filmmakers the space to nurture, grow and explore their creativity. At the end of the day, something has to connect on a human level,” Prakash Raj expressed.
Director of films like Ulavacharu Biriyani and Mana Oori Ramayanam, the actor feels that commercial films are also made by filmmakers to survive in the industry. “When we make different films, the audience don’t watch them. Filmmakers end up losing money. After a point, they make films not to make business but to survive. Bringing a change is not one person’s job. It has to be done collectively by the audience as well as filmmakers,” he added.