Novel ideas for dream merchants
Deccan Chronicle| BVS Prakash
Tollywood filmmakers are now eyeing polular Telugu books and novels in search for good content
Rakul Preet Singh on the movie sets
A dearth of original stories in T-town has got some new-age directors to start procuring rights of popular Telugu novels. We hear that in the days to come, top filmmakers such as Krish, Mohana Krishna Indraganti, Anil Sunkara and Venu Udugula will churn out content based on popular Telugu novels.
Producer Anil Sunkara, for one, finds nothing wrong in digging into rich Telugu literature given the variety they offer, he says. "In fact, there are 180 novels we can pick from, and I have chosen to make a couple of them. One of them revolves around crime and punishment, while another, on the game of chess," he elaborates.
The filmmaker goes on to recall the success of blockbuster movies such as the 1971-film Prem Nagar based on novelist Koduri Kausalya Devi’s book by the same name; the 1973-film Jeevana Tarangalu based on Yedanapudi Sulochana Rani’s novel; the 1975-film Baleepitam based on Muppala Ranganayakamma’s novel; and the 1983-film Abhilasha based on Yedamuri Veerendranath’s novel by the same name.
Seeking new content in older stories
As if emphasising Sunkara’s perspective, director Krish is now set to make a movie based on the novel Kondapolam by author Sannapureddy Venkatrami Reddy. The movie will feature actress Rakul Preet Singh and actor Vaishnav Tej in the lead. Meanwhile, another director, Venu Udugula, has bought the rights to one of the famous writer Chalam’s most controversial novels called Maidanam. Similarly, filmmaker Mohan Krishna Indraganti has supposedly procured the rights to author Bandi Narayana Swami’s Sapthabhoomi even as another director has apparently procured the rights of Nagesh Reddy’s Oka Najiya Kosam.
Interestingly, all these novels mentioned above belong to different genres, which filmmakers believe will enthral viewers.
However, filmmaker Lagadapati Sridhar shares a word of caution regarding this renewed trend among filmmakers to adapt novels in movies.
"I think filmmakers have to move carefully instead of being in a hurry to turn novels into movies," says Sridhar.
"The 1980s was a different era in terms of Telugu audiences’ taste, but I am not sure we can now get away making family dramas and stories based on interpersonal conflicts as these genres have moved to the small screen."
Sridhar then adds that in such a scenario, only crime stories and murder mysteries might be a playing field, so to speak.
"But even as regard to those genres, one must remember there have been many advancements in forensic sciences and cybercrime has been evolving in real-life, so we can’t pick novels that dealt with crime in an old-fashioned manner," he says.
Getting ahead of the game
Earlier, a few novel-based Telugu movies, such as Indraganti’s 2004-film Grahanam, based on Chalam’s Dosha Gunnam, and Narasimha Nandi’s 2008-film 1940 Lo Oka Gramam, based on Gurajada Appa Rao’s Ghosha, were bold themes, which bagged national honours, too.
However, Narasihma Nandi bemoans that the coveted award didn’t fetch him offers in Telugu movies.
Venu Udugula, who hopes to adapt Chalam’s Maidanam — which talks about a married woman who slips into an affair to fulfil her carnal desires — believes that story will be appropriate for GenNext.
"’Actually, the story talks about a liberated woman and was considered a bold theme, which created ripples at that time. Now, I think the young generation will connect with the topic of women liberation," he reasons.
Incidentally, this year, the digital platform has already explored a few novels even before the film industry did, some of which included Metro Kathalu, based on the short stories written by writer and journalist Khadeer Babu. Others such as Snack Movies, which are 10-minute episodes based on short stories penned by Sri Ramana, promise to be gripping, we hear