Special Report – Tollywood under the threat of nearly 250 Crores loss

Telugu Film Industry is likely to be under ‘high risk’ zone this year, say the trade analysts. The sudden declaration of Telangana and Seemandhra by Central Government has come in a very wrong timing, with all the big budget films lined up to be released in the next few months. The sudden rift and the political disturbance have forced the hands of film makers to push back all the releases of the biggest stars. This is a big blow to the film fraternity if the regional discord continues. There is as much as 250 crores plus in stake with all these films put together, not to forget the small budget films that equally impact at box office. While Pawan Kalyan’s Attarintiki Daredi has been pushed back from its original release date of August 7th, Ram Charan Tej’s two films in line – Thoofan and Yevadu have also been moved to later dates for the fear of turbulence. Nagarjuna’s Bhai, NTR’s Ramayya Vastavayya and Venkatesh – Ram’s Golmal; all have also been affected. The film producers are extremely flustered with this scenario where they had to invest huge amounts and the films affect the viewers all over the two states. While Telangana region remains calm, it will suffer with losses with no big movies releasing this week. The Seemandhra protestors continue to fight for their rights, leaving no scope for film makers to gamble any release at this point of time.

Says BVSN Prasad, the producer of Attarintiki Daredi, in a leading newspaper daily – “We initially planned to release Attarintiki Daredi on August 7th, but had to push it back by a couple of days. But in view of the prevailing political uncertainties, we are forced to postpone the film’s release indefinitely now. We will review the situation and hope that things are restored back to normalcy soon. We will announce the revised date.”

“Political unrest affects the whole industry and not just one or two films. Business to the tune of 250 crores is at stake in the next two months. This is crucial for the industry. Unfortunately, it’s unforeseen and we can’t help but wait it out until the situation calms down.” says D Suresh Babu, the leading producer, distributor and exhibitor.

Interestingly the films that will cash in on this situation are Bollywood flicks and Tamil remakes. Chennai Express releases this Friday with no other major film contesting against it. Likewise Vijay’s ‘Thalaivaa’ being dubbed as ‘Anna’ in telugu will see no impact or threat from local competition if the film makers take advantage of the situation and release in this time slot of empty slacks.

With so much money and speculation on big stars, formula stories and fan groups, one has to wait and watch what the next three months bring in for Tollywood – will the films fare well as expected or plummet due to separation of states? All in all, a deep phase of anxiety and conjecture to haunt the film fraternity for a while.

Deepa Balasubramanian – Team Chitramala

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