It’s a clash that has led to a tu tu main main situation between producers with one side saying they are not getting enough screens for their film while the other says their only goal is giving Telugu films priority, and caught in the crossfire is the dubbed version of the Rajinikanth film Petta. The other two Telugu films being released this Sankranti amid lots of hype is F2 (releasing January 11) produced by Dil Raju), who is also interestingly part of the Ram Charan- starrer Vinaya Vidheya Rama (releasing January 12), to which he bought the rights in some areas.
Dil Raju is believed to have taken most of the theatres for his two films. Producer Vallabhaneni Ashok put big money for the Telugu rights of Petta but he has complained that influential film distributors are not giving him the required good theaters to release his film.
Another producer and distributor is also fighting on his side.
“There is a big mafia behind all these theatres and they only want to screen their films. Dil Raju, Allu Aravind, Bunny Vasu, Vamsi of U.V. Creations are the most influential taking many theatres on lease in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Most of the theatres are occupied by their films Vinaya Vidheya Rama and F2,” says Prasanna Kumar. He added that when he put pressure, this “mafia” allotted some corner theatres which were not patronised by the regular crowd.
Bunny Vasu, a staunch supporter of Allu Aravind, responded to Prasanna’s allegation on his facebook and posted, “Prasanna garu, you are talking with half knowledge and with your loose talk you are testing our patience. It’s just a matter of time when we too cross the borderline and abuse you (sic).”.
Prasanna accused Dil Raju, who is from Telangana, of dominating even in Andhra Pradesh. “He threatened some of the theatres owners when they came forward to offer their screens for Petta,” says Prasanna.
Dil Raju in response said that they always give priority to Telugu films.
“All Telugu films that are releasing this Sankranti announced their dates nearly six months back and we were all well prepared for them. Still, we are struggling to allot theatres for them, and in the meanwhile, a producer announced a dubbed film just 15 days back, so how can we adjust?” says Dil Raju, who claims to have lost big money last year as a distributor. He pointed out that when the same producer released three to four dubbed films in recent times, he got the maximum number of theatres. “So why did he not raise the issue at that time? We are giving priority to Telugu films now and asked him to release the film one week later, so that he could get more theatres,” says Dil Raju.
Sunil Narang, one of the distributors and theatre owners in Telangana confirmed, “We were committed to Telugu films long ago and in fact, we requested Petta’s filmmakers to release the film one week later, so that we can provide many theatres.” To which Prasanna’s response is, “If Dil Raju brought the distribution rights of Petta he would have allotted more theatres.”
Suresh Babu is the other producer who owns many theatres in both the States. So a film which stars Venkatesh, which F2 does, has no problems because Suresh Babu, being his brother, allots most of the theatres owned by him.
Balakrishna’s biopic NTR: Kathanayakudu has an advantage because it is releasing on Wednesday without competition, and therefore the film has got many theatres on the first day. From the third day, some theatres will replace it with Ram Charan’s Vinaya Vidheya Rama.
So the thing is everyone has their eyes on festival holidays because cash registers ring loudly then. It’s all about the money, honey....