Entertainment Tollywood 07 Feb 2017 The ‘cheap&rsq ...

The ‘cheap’ US dream

Published Feb 7, 2017, 12:00 am IST
Updated Feb 7, 2017, 6:29 am IST
The charm of shooting abroad has become pronounced in Tollywood, with America still a favourite.
A still from Subramanyam for Sale, shot at Times Square in New York.
 A still from Subramanyam for Sale, shot at Times Square in New York.

The Telugu cine goer’s imagination has always been captured by the image of their favourite stars dancing in exotic foreign locales. With time, it wasn’t just songs but entire stories weaved around these destinations.

While there are many favourites, many filmmakers are partial to the US. In fact, six upcoming films — Varun Tej’s Fida, Mahesh Babu’s next with Vamsi Paidipally, Avasarala Srinivas’ film with Vijay Maddhala, Nithiin’s next two films with Hanu Raghavapudi and Chaitanya Krishna and Nani’s next with director Siva Nirvana — all are being shot at various locations in the US. And surprisingly, most filmmakers find the country budget-friendly.


A still from Chintakayala Ravi shot at New YorkA still from Chintakayala Ravi shot at New York

Director Vamsi explains, “I have shot in Europe for Oopiri and comparatively, I find the US cost-effective. In Europe, talent is scattered and getting logistics together can be expensive. But in the US, only one person handles the jimmy jib. Their expertise is high and hiring one man is always cheaper than getting a group of people on board. In fact, even in India, we need around six-to-seven people at times for the jimmy.”

Line producer Prasad Bobba echoes him and says, “The guys are pros and very knowledgeable about the equipment and usage. They give suggestions on how our work can become easy. We end up saving quite a lot of money because of their advice.”

Makers hire equipment in the US as it is impractical to carry them from India. There are several studios which rent equipment like cameras, high quality photography and production equipment, and light and edit systems. “The good thing about foreign shoots is that they are completed in one stretch, as no one has any other diversions and work begins and finishes early,” reasons producer Nallamalapu Bujji, indicating that this facilitates completion of shoots within the time period the equipment has been rented for.

A still from Ye Maaya ChesaveA still from Ye Maaya Chesave

But Prasad, who earlier worked on Subramanyam for Sale in the US and is currently busy with Fida, explains that things aren’t as rosy as they seem. “When they say it costs less to shoot in the US, it is necessary to understand that the cost-cutting happens only when planned well in advance. In the US, everything has to be done according to the system and that can be a task. Permits, recommendations from unions, visas and a lot more need to be completed. One wrong document, and you can’t finish your work there,” he adds.

Vamsi Paidipally, DirectorVamsi Paidipally, Director

Interestingly, Prasad also explains why New York is a special favourite. “For many, the great American dream is linked to the Statue of Liberty and so, many filmmakers desire to capture it in their movie,” he signs off.