Small films hold their own in Telugu film industry

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Corporates’ entry augurs well, feel industry watchers

“Happy Days was a very big hit commercially this year. There will be a lot of small movies in 2008.” – Mr Sekhar Kammula

K.V. Kurmanath

Hyderabad, Dec. 29 Small movies, which have been looked down upon as underdogs, have proved in 2007 that they are second to none when it comes to success.

Happy Days, Mantra, Anasuya and Mee Shreyobhilashi are among the small films that were received well in 2007.

The huge success of Happy Days, directed by techie-turned-director Mr Sekhar Kammula, is case in a point. It proved that the strength of story-telling and not the budgets is the key for success of a movie. The low-budget film was made with new comers.

“Happy Days was a very big hit commercially this year. There will be a lot of small movies in 2008,” Mr Sekhar Kammula told Business Line.

He, however, cautioned that the attribute ‘small’ is not a sure-shot formula for success. “One should be careful with their scripts and cast,” he warned the prospective directors.

Corporates move in

He also hinted at the increased activity by corporate firms in film production.

Happy Days is not the only small film that tasted success in 2007. Mantra, Seema Sastry, Anasuya and Chandamama too turned out to be hits.

Mr Tammareddy Bharadwaja, President of Producers’ Council of AP Film Chamber of Commerce, echoed his views. “Entry of corporates (into film production and exhibition) is obvious. There will be a considerable change in the way the films are made in Telugu,” he said.

Telugu industry is among the top-three industries in the country with a tally of 217 films in 2007.

The year 2007 can be regarded as a watershed year for the industry, with the foray of UTV into film production in Telugu by making Athidhi with Mr Mahesh Babu.

Pyramid Saimira too entered the fray by not only supporting production of several small films but also building up a network of cinemas.

Athidi, however, proved to be a disappointment. Will it deter the corporates?

“No way,” Mr Bharadwaja asserted.

“Pyramid has succeeded. Their (corporates) entry is inevitable and obvious. Their entry would result in a variety of changes in the industry,” he felt.

On piracy, he said the industry might have to struggle with this problem for some time. “It will continue to dog us until digital film making arrives. Besides, helping the industry curb piracy, digitisation will also mean moderate reductions in budgets,” he observed.

Big grossers

The big grossers of the year were Yamadonga (Junior NTR), Desa Muduru (Allu Arjun), Dhee (Vishnuvardhan), Lakshyam (Gopichand), Chiruta (Ram Charan) and Tulasi (Venkatesh). The list also includes the Chiranjeevi-starrer Shankar Dada Zindabad (the remake of Lage Raho Munnabhai), Maharadhi (Balakrishna) and Annavaram (Pawan Kalyan).

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 31, 2007)
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