In the recent months, Tamil stars have been gladly taking on villain roles in Tollywood films for a hefty paycheque. However, some among them, have been growing increasingly demanding, putting forth many conditions to the production houses, pushing producers to the brink.
For instance, Tamil star Vijay Sethupathi, who is essaying the role of a ruthless villain in Uppena, doesn’t want that film to be released in Tamil Nadu. This depsite being paid a huge amount.
Young producer Abhishek Nama, who says Telugu filmmakers consider Tamil stars as villains to offer a variety to their movies, claims that as Tamil stars are a talented lot, he’d like more Tamil stars to do big Telugu films.
“But I have heard a few stars have demands that, honestly, can be avoided. Telugu producers are the best pay masters in the South as well as good hosts. I am hoping Tamil stars will be more flexible because we also sign them to expand our markets in Tamil Nadu. I hope they understand that perspective.”
Professional but unavailable
A Tollywood producer — on the condition of anonymity — talks of a seasoned Tamil actor who used to throw tantrums on the sets, sometimes confirming his travel for the shoot only at the very last minute, which sometimes even affected foreign shootings.
The producer then talks of another Tamil star who insisted on being offered facilities that were on par with those offered to the star of that movie.
That included business class tickets, five-star accommodation, caravan and personal hair stylist and other facilities, all of it adding to the producer’s cost.
Tamil star Arjun Vijay, who is fascinated with Telugu cinema, tells us that he isn’t one of those who likes to lay down conditions.
In fact, according to him, these allegations are just myths. “We are very professional and committed to our work.
However, I don’t want to be regularly doing baddie roles in Telugu; I would rather wait for unique and fascinating stuff from Tollywood, which is my only condition for Telugu producers,” he says with a smile.
Arjun also explains, “I would surely filter movies releasing in Tamil Nadu. We’re doing well in our state and so we need to protect our ‘hero’ image. So we may be cautious about a few movies entering our territory. Otherwise, we are happy to do one-odd role with dark shades in Telugu because working with stars such as Prabhas and Ram Charan has been an awesome experience.”
However, despite his proclaimed love for Telugu cinema, Arjun was reported to have rejected a few Telugu offers recently.
“I had to reject a few Telugu offers as I was preoccupied with the big hits such Kutram 23, Thadam and Mani Rathnam’s Chekka Chivanda Vaanam. There are a few more big ones in the pipeline.”
The effect of inexperience
Producer Lagadapati Sridhar, who worked with Tamil star Arjun Sarja, in his last release Naa Peru Surya, which featured Allu Arjun in the lead, believes Arjun Sarja is one of the most professional actors he has ever worked with.
“He was a sought-after hero in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada for decades and he is multi-talented too, because he is producer, director and writer as well,” says Sridhar. “It’s only fair that we treat such stars with dignity, keeping their stardom in mind.”
That being said, Sridhar goes on to blame a few inexperienced producers for unavoidable situations between stars and producers.
“We need to stick to the payment schedule, put everything on paper and make prior arrangements for shootings and avoid last minute changes for a smooth sailing production. Stars are like glass, and we need to handle them with utmost care.”
Producer Abhishek Nama goes on to share with us how he believes that Tamil stars such as Arjun Vijay, Vijay Sethupathi, Arjun Sarja and Arvind Swami are some of the best options for pairing opposite to new-age Telugu stars.
“A few Tamil stars demand hefty sums, so we now prefer getting actors from the Malayalam and Kannada industries,” explains producer Bogavalli Prasad....