The state bifurcation, piracy, Anjali controversy and Pawan Kalyan’s political entry kept Tollywood busy in 2013. The year saw the industry’s biggest hit and some films also threw up pleasant surprises.
Corporate entities like Eros entered Telugu cinema and created a new business market after they bought the Mahesh Babu-starrer ‘1’ Nenokkadine for Rs 75 crore.
The year also saw the comeback of multi-starrer films like Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu after 25 years
Meanwhile, Telugu actors boycotted the celebrations of 100 years of Indian cinema held in Chennai, and the event came under a lot of criticism for being organised like a normal Telugu film audio function.
Nearly 200 Telugu films released in 2013 though the success rate was only 8 to 10 per cent. The year started with two big hits, Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu and Nayak, which were released on Sankranti.
The Blues of Bifurcation
The Seemandhra agitation against the bifurcation forced many Tollywood producers to postpone their releases. Not a single big film released in the two months of agitation. With most of the theatres remaining shut in the Seemandhra region, the producers didn’t want to take any risks. August and September months were the most affected by the strike.
Small film producers, meanwhile, used these two months to release their films, which had been lying in the cans. None of them, however, could make a mark.
Hit by piracy:
The Pawan Kalyan-starrer Atharintiki Daredi, which was supposed to release in August, was postponed because of the bifurcation. However, the industry was shocked to see pirated copies of the film on the Web before its release. The producers wasted no time and released the film, which went on to be a blockbuster. In fact, Atharintiki Daredi is the industry’s highest grosser till date. The Trivikram and Pawan Kalyan team became a stupendous combination after the film’s success.
Small films, big money
Some small films like Swami Ra Ra and Prema Katha Chitram did very well and set new trends.
Directed by Sudhir Varma and Maruthi respectively, these two films created a buzz this year. Prema Katha Chitram was made with a budget of Rs 2.5 crore and did business of around Rs 12 crore. Later in the year, other small films like Anthakumundu Aa Tharuvatha, Venkatadri Express and Uyyala Jampala also tasted success.
Director Maruthi of Prema Katha Chitram emerged as the most sought-after director in Tollywood. He paved the way for others and showed how to make successful films with limited budgets. He now has his hands full with projects and is also producing half-a-dozen small films. Another young debutant director, Sudhir Varma of Swami Ra Ra fame, is also going great guns.
Merlapaka Murali of Venkatadri Express and Virinchi Varma of Uyyala Jampala have also put their stamp on the industry. Another promising director is Vijaykumar Konda who delivered the hit Gunde Jaari Gallanthayinde with Nithin. He come up with a new concept and has bagged a big project with Naga Chaitanya.
Actress Anjali, who tasted success with Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu, dominated the headlines in 2013. The actress reportedly went into hiding after marrying her long-time boyfriend as she was harassed by her aunt and uncle. A Tamil director later filed a case against her and a Chennai court issued an arrest warrant. She was in the news throughout the year and the scandal died down only towards the end and Anjali is now back at work.
Hit trailers, flop movies
Films like Ramayya Vasthavayya, Varna, Bhai, Masala, Action, Greeku Veerudu and Iddarammayilatho, all created big hypes with their trailers. And in all these cases, while the trailers were hits, the films sank without a trace. Even the multi-starrer Masala starring Venkatesh and Ram, which was a remake of the Hindi film Bol Bachchan and was expected to be a hit, disappointed.
The year also saw Ram Charan’s disastrous Bollywood debut with Zanjeer. The Telugu version of the film, Toofan released simultaneously. Though Priyanka Chopra played the female lead in the Telugu version too, both films sank without a trace.
It was a similar case with Nagarjuna’s Bhai. Most had expected the film to be a hit but it did not even do average business.
The Highs and lows
Most of the top stars tasted success in 2013. The gamble of Mahesh Babu and Venkatesh, who were seen together in the multi-starrer Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu, paid off and the film became the second highest grosser after Atharintiki Daredi.
Prabhas tasted success with Mirchi, followed by Jr NTR’s Badshah and Ram Charan’s Nayak. These were the top five films of the year. However, Allu Arjun’s Iddarammayilatho and Ram’s Ongole Githa failed to make an impact while Nagarjuna disappointed with Greeku Veerudu and Bhai. Venkatesh’s Shadow and Jr NTR’s Ramayya Vasthavayya were also flops.
Shikarama wins honours
Nag Gottap’s Shikharama won the Golden Nandi award for the best children’s film, 2014. It also bagged the international jury award at the Children’s Film Fest held in Bengaluru.
Hyderabad at Cannes
Two films from Hyderabad were screened at the Cannes film festival this year. The contingent included Tharun Bhascker and his business partner Ranjith as well as independent filmmaker Priyanka Dutt’s team.