While we at Andhra nation have been predicting what is not gelling with our audience – we also have a responsibility of telling what clicks. To understand the change that we are speaking about – we need to go back to the dark era we always cry about. Say the 1995 – 2005. All the block buster movies were filled with the faction sentiment. Types of Narsimhanaidu, Indra, Adi – and every other Balakrishna film. While in the heart of these films is Rayalaseema and violence – it carries the unmistakable gene of Basha released in 1995. An extraordinary powerful man leading the life of a normal individual in another avatar. Following the thesis of a magic – we needed the hero to go underground first and then be resurrected – to get an aha moment. The unmistakable criticism of this trend was laughing aloud in the dialogues of Anand, where the character of the Heroine’s friend compares the hero to Indra in a spoof.
While this was the dominant trend – that era saw the rise of other directors who were capturing the Telugu family audience. Their opponent to the macho – violent – justified version of Hero worship was humour. The most important among these are Trivikram Srinivas and Sreenu Vaitla. They were providing the alternate space with freshness and creativity. While Trivikram’s humour has a touch of reality – Sreenu Vaitla’s was comedy.
Now if we look into their filmography – Sreenu Vaitla was attempting to make good films and some examples are Anandam and Sontham. They were good amateur attempts. While Venky I would say was his best balance between movie and humour, Dhee was his first commercial success. This movie marks just not the commercial success of Sreenu but the failure of his genius. All – I mean – all his movies after that – namely – ready, King, namo Venkatesa, Dookudu and Aagadu fell into the same trap. Dookudu saw the saturation point and in Aagadu we lost the elasticity.
In Parallel – Trivikram was working wonders – with Swayamvaram, Nuvve kavali, Chiru Navvutho, Nuvvu naku nachav, Malleswari ( many of these films as a writer) and Athadu. Athadu did to Trivikram – what Dhee did to Srinu Vaitla. He fell into the super hero – high budget trap and honestly I have not seen the Manmadhudu – Trivikram again. May be he has to learn from his co – star Rajamouli – who directed Maryada Ramanna after Magadheera.
So with these two guys failing – the Telugu audience were as much tortured by comedians as by the gory and blood shed. It is exactly at this juncture – Sukumar, Shekar Kammula and Tamil remake directors like Gautham Menon started occupying the slow – romantic space left over by Maniratnam. The humour/ satirical angle of Telugu movies which started off with Jandhyala – replaced by EVV – then replaced by Srinu is now vacant. We don’t have a formula and so there is freshness again.
The proof of this trend in the recent times – Crime comedies are doing well – Run raja run, Bhale Manchi Roju, Express raja. This is another upcoming genre like horror comedies I wrote about. This is in fact a trend in the entire south with movies like Naanum Rowdy than and the upcoming Siddhrath movie being a hit in Tamil. The main time comedians like Brahmi are washed out, replaced by Shakala Shankar and 30 years industry Prithvi.
Another trend is the use of graphics and visual effects that was pioneered by Ammoru – immaculately performed by Saundarya directed by Kodi Ramakrishna. Will write more about this in the next article.