100 crore rupee loss in just three months

| SURESH KAVIRAYANI
Published Mar 28, 2014, 4:50 am IST
Updated Apr 8, 2019, 8:43 am IST
A still from 'Yevadu' starring Ram Charan and Shruti Hassan. File photo.
 A still from 'Yevadu' starring Ram Charan and Shruti Hassan. File photo.

The Telugu film industry is going through a very rough patch. While last year’s problem was external the Telangana and Samaikyandhra agitations, this year the filmmakers simply haven’t come up with good movies, costing the industry Rs 100 crore in just three months.

What’s more shocking is the failure of nearly 50 movies that released since January this year. Except for one or two, all of the others were flops. Single screen theatres remain the worst hit as they rely solely on Telugu films for revenue. If this trend continues, insiders claim that several enterprises may shut shop altogether.

“A few theatres have closed in rural areas like Miryalaguda and many are not in a position to pay even the salaries of their employees. The big producers are not making movies and the films that are releasing are not good,” says Vijayender Reddy, president of Telangana Film Chamber of Commerce.

Where are the stars? There have been only a couple of films this year featuring big stars, but even these disappointed.

Mahesh Babu’s 1, with a budget of nearly Rs 70 crore, bombed at the box-office and Ram Charan’s Yevadu was in a no profit-no loss position. Only two films, Bheemavaram Bullodu and the Nithiin starrer Heart Attack, did well.

“In some parts we cancelled many shows because of less audience. This is the worst situation that I have seen in the last 15 years. A few theatre owners are not even in a position to pay the electricity bills,” says Sunil Narang of Asian Cinema and Multiplex. When asked why he was coming up with even more multiplexes, Sunil said he was now depending on other languages to bring in some much-needed cash. “We are depending on other language films like Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam,” he says, adding, “We are hoping for a better future.”

Failure of ideas

Till a few years ago, there were more than 3,500 single screen theatres in AP but now that number has come down to a paltry 1,800. “If this situation remains, more theatres will face a shutdown,” says Vijayender Reddy.

So what’s the primary reason for this slump? “We are just not giving good content and have been unable to produce good films,” says Suresh Babu, producer, exhibitor and distributor. He adds that the budgets are increasing and the top 15 actors in the industry are not doing many films either.

“This is indeed one of the worst times for Tollywood in recent years. I don’t think it will improve in the coming days as I don’t see any big releases in the near future except for a few. It’s going to be losses upon losses for the producers and theatre owners. There are many new multiplexes coming in the Andhra region and they are going to face serious problems with this situation,” adds Suresh Babu. “Also, we can’t take the excuse of bandhs and strikes any more. The only thing we can do is to stop complaining and make good films with controlled budgets,” he suggests.
 

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