Lately, chartbusters seem to be having more traction than star power in Tollywood. The big success of movies like 30 Rojullo Premichindam Ella and the much-hyped Uppena have caught the attention of viewers with their songs which attracted millions of views on social media before drawing crowds to the theatres in the last few weeks.
“Uppena and 30 Rojullo… revived the genre of pure love stories in Telugu cinema, and both turned out to be big money-spinners, thanks to their soulful music,” says producer Lagapadati Sridhar, who feels ‘a million views’ is the new yardstick for success. “A mellifluous song reflecting the soul and spirit of the story is bound to strike a chord with music lovers initially, and then draw crowds to the theatres, the music acting as a sort of curtain raiser for the movies themselves,” he says.
“Composers like DSP and Anup Rubens could belt out soul-stirring numbers since they had good stories to inspire them. I am banking on young composer Achu’s talent for my upcoming movie Kothaga Rekkalochena on the theme of perfect imperfect love,” Sridhar adds.
The producer’s views are endorsed by young director Munna Dhulipudi, who began his T-town career with a bang, with 30 Rojullo Preminchadam Ella riding on the hit song ‘Neeli Neeli Akasam’. “The song became an invitation card for our movie and ended up as a signature tune,” says Munna.
“Word-of-mouth publicity helped the film to become a superhit and overcame all the hurdles and criticism to give a much-needed break to me and anchor-turned-actor Pradeep,” he stresses, adding, “Our song crossed a record 300 million views. Superstar Mahesh Babu termed our four-minute video song ‘fantastic’ while launching it and producer Bunny Vas described the movie as a heart-wrenching romance,” he says.
Adding a personal note, Munna says, “The first few lines of the song were taken from my love letter to my wife. Top lyricist Chandrabose enriched it further. Special thanks to Anup Rubens for his everlasting tune as well.”
Ace composer Gopi Sunder, who made waves in the Telugu music world with tunes like ‘Inkem Inkem Inkem Kaavaale’ (Geeta Govindam), ‘Adiga Adiga’ (Ninnu Kori), Priyathama Priyathama (Majili) and now ‘Manasa Manasa’ in Akhil Akkineni’s next movie Most Eligible Bachelor, says, “Frankly, I don’t start composing a song hoping that it will be a signature tune for the movie. I just try to give my best to justify the song for a particular situation narrated by the director. I am glad that they are turning out to be chartbusters.” Gopi also has a word of thanks for Telugu music lovers “for patronising my kind of music and also for directors for giving me creative freedom.”
He says, “I believe that good songs emanate from a ‘soulful story’ and then everything falls in place. Although, I have done mass-centric numbers in Malayalam, I have been delivering soft melodies in Telugu as per the requirements of the filmmakers.” Considering himself lucky to have composed songs for new-age stars like Nani, Vijay Devarakonda and Akhil Akkineni, he says he wishes to expand his portfolio in the days to come. Gopi Sundar listens to the music of his arch rivals like Thaman and Manisharma. “Of course, I have to observe other’s work, to belt out better numbers,” he says.
Giving an actor’s perspective on chartbusters drawing crowds, actress Ritu Varma says, “Music has become a part of the young generation’s life, and personally, I am always wired to music. I listen to music at the gym, to boost my mood at times and also for relaxation, so it is not surprising that music albums have become a rage nowadays. At last, composers and lyricists are getting their due.”
The actress’ dream of having a song by ace singer Sid Sriram was fulfilled in her upcoming movie Varudu opposite Naga Shaurya. “Sid Sriram is an endearing playback singer with an inimitable style. I am happy that he sang ‘Kola Kalle Ilaa’ for our movie Varudu and I am sure it will rock music buffs,” she asserts.