Nation Crime 04 Aug 2017 Dark clouds over Tol ...

Dark clouds over Tollywood

Published Aug 4, 2017, 12:00 am IST
Updated Aug 4, 2017, 12:35 am IST
With the shadow of the ongoing drugs case looming large over Tollywood, the industry is in no mood to even celebrate successful films.
The fact that prominent people from the industry were summoned for questioning surely means that some people are using it
 The fact that prominent people from the industry were summoned for questioning surely means that some people are using it

The ongoing drugs case has put quite a dampener on the Telugu film industry. The month of July was completely dominated by the drug issue, with several prominent film personalities being called in for questioning. And although a few films like Ninnu Kori and Fidaa became blockbusters, the industry is in no mood to even celebrate their success because of this issue.

“Most people are more excited to know what happened to the drugs case because of the celebrities involved. It’s like a 12-episode TV serial which people are watching,” says Sivaji Raja, President of the Movie Artistes Association. When asked if people are actually taking drugs in Tollywood, he admits, “Drugs have been there from the last 30 to 40 years, even when the industry was in Chennai. There are a few people who are taking it, but we don’t know who they are.”


The fact that twelve prominent people from the film industry were summoned for questioning surely means that some people are using it. However, Sivaji Raja defends them and says, “People who were called for questioning say that they have not done anything wrong. The police have to still reveal the names and then only we will take action against them.”

In an interesting development, the film industry on Wednesday wrote a letter to the Government of Telangana about the whole drugs issue and requested it to maintain secrecy, especially when celebrities are called for questioning. 


“The whole industry has become dull and scared after the drugs issue. I can’t say whether people from Tollywood are using drugs or not as the police is still investigating. But if they announce names, then we will definitely take action against them,” says Gemini Kiran, President of the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce.

Elaborating on the kind of action that will be taken, Kiran says, “Though the film fraternity is an industry, everyone is an individual first. We will not provide work to any person found guilty.” 


So, is there any plan to call all the industry people to discuss the issue? “I just assumed office a couple of days ago and have a few plans in mind. I will announce them once things get sorted out,” says Kiran, adding that some more people may be questioned in the future.

Meanwhile, there is also news doing the rounds in the industry that some of the bigwigs are going scot-free as they have links with highly influential politicians. “Even I have heard about it, but I don’t know,” confirms Sivaji Raja.

Talking about how the industry has been affected by the whole drug issue, producer Damodara Prasad says, “Ten years back, if a film was successful, the whole industry celebrated it. But now things have changed and success is confined only to the team. Perhaps out of jealousy, but not everyone celebrates a film’s success these days,” he says.


In yet another interesting development, the other day, the Excise police visited Rama Naidu Studios to check an international parcel addressed to actor Rana Daggubati. Though it turned out to be a machine used to alleviate backache, rumours started swirling that the cops suspect something and that’s why they are keeping an eye on some top film personalities.

Director Teja describes the precautions he takes while shooting his films to avoid any disruptions. “Right from my first film, I make it a point that all the actors and technicians come to the set on time in a normal condition. There’s even a clause in my agreement to that effect. If I face any problem from any of my actors or technicians (on account of alcohol consumption or drugs or misbehaviour), they are liable to monetarily compensate me because I am suffering as a result of that.  So, I ensure that all my unit members walk in to the sets in good health,” he explains.


 — With inputs from Sashidhar Adivi