‘Star war’ in Tollywood as Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna fight it out on-screen

Ch RS Sarma Visakhapatnam | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on January 12, 2017

Fans perform ‘palabhishekam’ to celebrate the release of Balakrishna’s latest film in Visakhapatnam on Thursday CV Subrahmanyam

A ‘star war’ is under way in Tollywood with the pre-Sankranti release of two big-budget films starring mega star Chiranjeevi and Balakrishna, the son of NTR and also a super star in his own right.

The films are Gautamiputra Satakarni, a historical film featuring Balakrishna in the lead role besides Sriya Saran and Hemamalini, and Khaidi No 150 featuring Chiranjeevi and Kajal Agarwal.

Milestones for stars

The films also happen to be milestones for the two stars. Satakarni is the 100th film of Balakrishna, fondly called Balayya by his fans. Khaidi is the 150th film of Chiranjeevi, known as Chiru.

To make matters livelier, the two stars are in rival political camps. Chiranjeevi, who floated the Praja Rajyam Party and merged it with the Congress became a minister of state in the previous UPA Government. Balakrishna is now a member of the State Assembly from Hindupur in Anantapur district, representing the Telugu Desam Party.

Both have huge fan following in AP and Telangana and both hail from coastal Andhra.

On five or six occasions in the past, big-budget films of both the stars were released almost simultaneously before Sankranti, and huge hype created as a marketing strategy, with mixed results. The same strategy is being adopted now.

Chiranjeevi, who is making a comeback after 11 years to do his 150th film, has fallen back on Director VV Vinayak. The script is by AR Murugadoss. Incidentally, the megastar’s role in Khaidi decades ago was a superhit.

The films will not only put to test the present ‘star value’ of Chiranjeevi and Balakrishna, but also show the resilience of the Telugu film field to absorb the shocks in the aftermath of demonetisation. After demonetisation, a big-budget film Dhruva, starring Chiranjeevi’s son Ramcharan, has been released and it is said to be a box office hit.

Both AP and Telangana have exempted Satakarni, directed by Krish, from entertainment tax, as it is a period film depicting “Telugu glory.” The film features the Satavahanas who ruled for 220 years between second century BC and first century AD.

Andhra Pradesh Director-General of Police Sambasiva Rao has issued a warning to the fans of both the stars, cautioning them to rein in their enthusiasm and not to indulge in acts of vandalism such as tearing up of cinema posters or defacing them.

Published on January 12, 2017
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