The travails of being a 50-plus director in Tollywood

Deccan Chronicle.  | BVS Prakash

Entertainment, Tollywood

Are ‘senior’ directors losing their edge while young blood has a better feel of the pulse of new-age cinema-goers?

Although directors like V. V. Vinayak, Puri Jagannadh, Gunasekhar, Teja, Krishna Vamsi and others have ruled the roost for many years with numerous blockbusters, few of them are able to draw audiences to the theatres on the strength of their names alone now

With the advent of around 10 talented new-age directors and the tastes of the Telugu audience undergoing a change, a few directors who are over 50 have lost their Midas Touch.

Despite pocketing anywhere between Rs 6 crore and Rs 8 crore per film, these directors have been unable to recover even their pay from the movies, leave alone the budgets of their films.

Although directors like V. V. Vinayak, Puri Jagannadh, Gunasekhar, Teja, Krishna Vamsi and others have ruled the roost for many years with numerous blockbusters, few of them are able to draw audiences to the theatres on the strength of their names alone now.

“Legends like Dasari Narayana Rao and K. Raghavendra Rao used to be crowd-pullers in their heyday, but there are no such names these days, except ace director S.S. Rajamouli,” says producer C. Kalyan, who lost big time after investing in movies by two 50-plus directors — V. V. Vinayak (Intelligent) and K. S. Ravikumar (Ruler).

“I don’t want to blame only the directors since there were other factors which led to the films failure. In one film, I was unhappy with the second part of the script and in another, the projection of the hero wasn’t satisfying,” explains C. Kalyan, who however feels that it’s just a matter of time before Vinayak delivers another big hit.

“I also realised that I shouldn’t make films just because a star had allotted dates, but should rather wait for the appropriate script,”he adds.

Puri Jagannadh delivered flops like Rogue and Paisa Vasool before bouncing back with iSmart Shankar. Gunasekhar redeemed himself with Rudramdevi after duds like Nippu. He is now, banking on the big-ticket mythological movie Hiranyakasipudu to prove his mettle.

Director Krishna Vamsi is going through a lean patch after a series of duds like Paisa and Nakshatram.

Similarly, Teja, who returned to the reckoning with Nene Raju Nene Mantri, ended up delivering another dud, Sita.

On the stiff competition offered by young directors, Teja says, “Frankly, I am not threatened at all. Barring one or two young directors, most of them are ripping off content from Korean, French and Hollywood movies and turning out to be poor imitators, not even proper copycats. No doubt a few young directors are busy because stars want to hire directors who listen to their ideas, which seasoned directors resist.”

On challenges of attracting the new-age audience, Teja  admits that audienecs are smart and knowledgeable and are exposed to world cinema.

“Now audiences are spotting and trolling first look posters not just movies, which is a more ominous factor than the age of the director,” Teja adds.

Read more...