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AP polls dampen prospects of Telugu film industry

K.V. Kurmanath

Hyderabad , April 13

UNLIKE in the past, this summer is going to be very hot for the Telugu film industry, with ensuing polls to the Assembly and Lok Sabha casting a shadow on the Rs 100-crore summer extravaganza, which includes some big budget movies.

Problems are aplenty. Political parties involve more people, more money and occupy all the vantage advertising spots robbing filmmakers off space for their ads. Not only that, a large number of film stars are taking part in election campaign, making producers wait for their dates.

"Political parties spend huge amounts of money on publicity. Film-makers need to spend more than that to make their presence felt," Mr P. Suneel Kumar Reddy, producer and director, told Business Line.

Producers, who usually find it difficult to cope with the increasing budgets, can ill-afford to invest more.

Mr Reddy's second film Megham, which is in the final stages of shooting, has also been deferred due to the elections.

"You will see a spate of releases after counting (of ballots). Even some big films are slated for post-counting dates," he says.

However, Mr Allu Aravind, who owns the leading filmmaking company Geetha Arts, thinks otherwise.

He feels that elections wouldn't have any impact on the collections of general films. He sees a lot of political money flowing into the system, indicating that this will help people spend more on entertainment.

"Even if there is some pact, it will be only on general films. Those (films) targeting the youth will not have any impact at all," he says.

"This is because more and more youth are delineating themselves from politics," he observes.

He, however, admits that there is an apprehension on (the) collections during the poll dates and counting. "They are expecting slack collections during those dates," he points out.

Incidentally, the film Arya starring Mr Arvind's son is slated to be released this month-end.

Mr Vasiraju Prakasam, a senior film critic, said the chunk of filmgoers would be busy with political activity. "This will have a direct impact on the number of people going to watch movies," he feels.

Mr B.V. Reddy, a leading exhibitor and former president of Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce, says elections or no elections films with substance will succeed.

"The first three months proved to be disastrous for the industry. It lost nearly Rs 150 crore," he says.

"If this goes on further, the industry will collapse soon," he asserts.

"Only Malliswari, starring Venkatesh and model Katrina Kaif, could record success. Nagarujuna-starrer Nenunnaanu is also doing well," he says.

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