July 28, 2020No Comments

Nepotism in Tollywood

Over the past few weeks, the Indian film community has been mourning the death of Sushant Singh Rajput and the topic of nepotism has been under heavy scrutiny. It's well known that nepotism is rampant throughout Bollywood and now people have been questioning Telugu film industry as well when it comes to Nepotism.

Are producers like Dil Raju, Allu Aravind, and Suresh Babu suppressing talent and not allowing them to rise? When you watch interviews with Varun Sandesh and Adivi Sesh, the nepotistic nature of the film industry shows otherwise. But in this article, we will delve into the film families of Tollywood and see if thokkeyadam is actually a thing.

Top 7: Not Pictured- Chiranjeevi


Chiranjeevi- The man doesn't really need an introduction and is the Megastar of Tollywood. He's the son of a police constable and worked his way up without any fil, background. Chances are if you're reading this, then either you or your parents are a die hard fan of him. Being the first Telugu actor who could dance flawlessly and gracefully, Chiru has been entertaining us for almost 40 years and there isn't a role that he can't do. He's proven his versatility so many times and has been so many industry hits to his name. There's no denying his talent, but his success and hard work has paved the way for a lot of nepotism from his family, much to the audiences dismay and annoyance.

Prabhas- The nephew of Rebel Star Krishnam Raju, nothing came easy for Baahubali Prabhas. He delivered a blockbuster with Varsham and is now a Pan Indian, maybe even Pan world superstar with fame and success Baahubali gave him. Prabhas has shown amazing comic timing in roles like Bujjigadu and Ranga from Billa and also possess a screen presence that's simply magnificent. Extremely humble and nice, he's fondly called the Darling of Tollywood and has been encouraged ever since.

Mahesh Babu- The son of Superstar Krishna, Mahesh Babu was a child actor before he eventually debuted in Rajakumarudu. The audience backed him after Okkadu and after Pokiri, the rest is history. Known for his incredible performances and Greek God like looks, Mahesh possesses the largest female and family audience following in Telugu cinema. In the common audience, he's the most liked actor for his performances.

Pawan Kalyan- The youngest brother of Megastar Chiranjeevi, PK is best known for his 4 consecutive hits starting with Tholi Prema and ending with Kushi. He was energetic in the beginning of his career but not so much anymore and seems to have lost interest. He's not exactly the best actor, but mannerisms and charisma have made him last longer than anyone imagined. It also helped that he had a solid fan base beforehand that's extremely loyal to him.

Allu Arjun- The son of producer Allu Aravind and nephew of Chiranjeevi, he was trolled after his debut in Gangotri. So what does he do? He delivers an absolute classic and blockbuster in his next movie Aarya and has been winning hearts ever since. Known for his insane dance moves and relentless energy on screen, Allu Arjun has worked really hard to make a name for himself and emerge a superstar in Telugu cinema, despite coming from a prominent film family.

Ram Charan- The son of Megastar Chiranjeevi, Ram Charan was trolled for a good 10 years until he delivered his best performance to date in Rangasthalam. Burdened by the massive expectations of being the son of the one of the industries biggest stars, Charan is also an example that hard work and grinding will eventually gain you respect from the audience.

Jr. NTR- The grandson of Legendary actor Sr. NTR, Jr. NTR's rise is something one can only dream of. After acting in Aadi and Simhardi, he became a superstar at age 21 and admits he's been struggling with it ever since. Known for versatility in roles, best Telugu diction, and insane dance moves, Tarak was also trolled for his looks, but has worked very hard to make it where he is.

Mega Family

BeFunky-collage (1)

Chiranjeevi- See above

Ram Charan - See above

Pawan Kalyan - See above

Allu Arjun - See above

Sai Dharam Tej- Chiranjeevi's nephew from his sister's side, SDT has some talent in terms of energy and dances, but as an actor is yet to find his identity with heavy PK and Chiru imitation in his first few movies. After delivering 6 consecutive disasters, one wonders how the actor was still getting offers. If anything, it's the Mega tag associated with his name.

Varun Tej- Naga Babu's son, Varun Tej has shown versatility in his script selection with a wide range already and can act. I guess one could say he's a good product of nepotism because he always tries something new when he could easily play it safe.

Allu Sirish- Allu Aravind's younger son and Allu Arjun's brother, the less said about him the better. 0 talent, 0 acting skills, and 0 box office pull. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to get a hit.

Kalyan Dhev- Chiru's son in law from his younger daughter, this dude is a joke. Delivered an utter flop in his debut movie and nobody really cares about him anyway.

Niharika- Naga Babu's daughter, her career ended even before it began. 0 talent and was never encouraged.

Allu Aravind- Allu Arjun's dad and Chiru's brother in law, he acted in Chantabbai and is responsible for some of the biggest hits in Tollywood history. However, he often fakes collections which the audience doesn't like.

Allu Ramalingaiah garu- Legendary actor and comedian. Allu Arjun's grandfather and Allu Aravind's father.

Allu Bobby- Allu Arjun and Sirish's brother, he's turning producer with Varun Tej's next movie.

Vaishnav Tej- Sai Dharam Tej's brother. Making his debut in Uppena yet to be released. He's the 11th actor from Mega family to debut.

Pavan Tej Konidela- Nobody knows who this guy is, but he's the 12th actor from Mega family to enter the industry.


BeFunky-collage (3)

ANR garu- Legendary actor and paved the way for Nag and founded Annapurna Pictures.

Akkineni Nagarjuna- ANR's son, Nag was trolled in the beginning of his career but grew as an actor with movies like Siva and Geethanjali. Known more his charm than acting, the audience loves Nag for his good looks and relentless charisma on screen. The actor himself admitted that he's not a great actor, but a net worth of 2000 crores isn't bad either.

Naga Chaitanya- Nag's elder son, Chaitanya has struggled from day 1 and cannot deliver consistent performances. Girls like him due to the Akkineni tag, but other than he's a liability at the box office almost every time.

Akhil - Nag's younger son, Akhil has never caught a break and he has 0 talent with 3 box office disasters to his name. Despite records openings for Akhil, the film and the audience's interest in him fizzled out very quickly.

Sumanth- Nag's nephew, Sumanth's career didn't quite shape out how it should have. With only Saytam, Godavari, and Golconda High School being successful, Sumanth's genuine and soft spoken attitude didn't get him too far in Telugu film industry. At age 45, his days as a hero are very limited.

Sushanth- Nag's nephew, he finally got a break with Chi La Sow in 2018 and was in Ala Vaikuntapuram Lo. Other than that, he doesn't have much talent at all.

Supriya Yarlagadda- Sumanth's sister, she made a comeback in Goodachari and was very impressive.

Amala- Nag's 2nd wife, she was the heroine in Shiva.

Nandamuri Family

BeFunky-collage (4)Sr. NTR garu - GOAT of Telugu cinema.

Balayya- NTR's son, It's a joke that he still has a career. He's only surviving on caste based fans and ruins the industries reputation with each passing movie.

Jr. NTR- See above

Harikrishna- NTR's son and Jr. NTR's father, may his soul rest in peace. Was energetic in his short lived career.

Kalyam Ram- Harikrishna's elder son, he has 0 talent.

Daggubati Family

BeFunky-collage (2)Daggubati Ramanaidu garu - Legendary producer , Venky and Suresh Babu's father and Rana's grandfather. May his soul rest in peace.

Venkatesh- Ramanaidu's younger son, Venky is one of the biggest superstars of Telugu cinema and is liked by one and all. Venkatesh has proven himself with a wide range of roles and movies and has showcased his legendary comic timing is so many movies. His humble attitude and love for cricket has made him one of the most relatable and loved actors in recent times and his following in families is next level.

Suresh Babu- Ramanaidu's elder son, he now runs Suresh Productions but at times has been accused of thetar hogging along with Allu Aravind and Dil Raju.

Rana Daggubati- Suresh Babu's elder son, Rana has proven himself with movies like Leader and of course his incredible performance in Baahubali 2. He always picks something new and wants to take the industry to greater heights. The audience acknowledges it and has rightfully backed him.

Ghattamaneni Family

BeFunky-collage (7) Krishna- The original Superstar of Telugu cinema, he needs no introduction. His sons are Mahesh Babu and producer Ramesh Babu, and his daughter Manjula is a producer and director in TFI.

Mahesh Babu- See above.

Sudheer Babu- Mahesh's brother in law from his sister's side, Sudheer Babu might be ripped but he has 0 talent. The fact that he couldn't pull a movie like Sammohanam to hit status says everything about how the audience encourages him.

Naveen Krishna- Mahesh's cousin and actor Naresh's son, Naveen made his debut in 2016 and has been seen since. Another gone case of nepotism.

Ashok Galla- Mahesh's nephew, he's the son of Mahesh's brother in law Jayadev Galla who's a famous politician. He's making his debut in a movie with Niddhi Agerwal as the heroine.



1st row (left to right): Mohan Babu, Vishnu, Manchu Manoj, Manchu Lakshmi

2nd row: EVV Satyanarayana, Allari Naresh, Aryan Rajesh, Ram Pothineni

3rd row: Producer Bellamkonda Suresh, Bellamkonda Sreenivas, Bellamkonda Ganesh, and Producer Sravanthi Ravi Kishore

4th Row: Aadi Saikumar, Saikumar, Producer MS Raju, Sumanth Ashwin

Manchu family- Mohan Babu, Vishnu, Manoj, and Lakshmi. They're trolled more than actually appreciated for their acting with their funny comments. Of the lot, Manoj seems to be the most talented and very genuine person.

Satyanarayana Family- EVV Satyanarayana, Allari Naresh, and Aryan Rajesh. EVV was known as a comedy director and Naresh is more appreciated for his dramatic roles than comedy roles. Rajesh had a very short lived career as a hero.

Ram Pothineni- A livewire on screen with relentless energy and an underrated dancer Ram is the nephew of ace producer Sravanthi Ravi Kishore who made Nuvvu Naaku Nachav and Ready.

Bellamkonda Sreenivas- 0 talent and 0 hits, son of ace producer Bellamkonda Suresh. His brother Bellamkonda Ganesh is also debuting as a hero soon.

Aadi Saikumar - 0 talent and almost 0 hits again, the son of versatile actor Saikumar and nephew of famous dubbing artist and actor Bommali Ravi Shankar.

Sumanth Ashwin - the son of producer MS Raju who made Varsham and Okkadu, 0 talent once again.

Non - Nepotism Actors

BeFunky-collage (5)Not Pictured: Vishwak Sen, Nikhil, Siddharth, Sampoornesh Babu

Raviteja- If there's a name synonymous for hard work and dedication, it's Raviteja. Leaving for Chennai at just 22 years old, it took him 12 years to get his big break in Idiot at the age of 34. Known for his flawless comic timing and sincerity in every performance, Raviteja has created a brand of entertainment himself and is loved by one and all

Vijay Deverakonda- Rumored to be a distant relative of KCR, Vijay D had a meteoric rise to fame. Struggling at the age of 24, he got his breakthrough with Pellichoopulu and followed it up with the cult classic Arjun Reddy. Being a part of 3 blockbusters in 2018 further cemented his position as the new age Telugu star and he possesses immense following in the youth and female audiences.

Nani- Known as Natural Star Nani for his natural acting and performances, he made his debut in Astha Chamma and got his breakthrough in 2011 with Ala Modalaindi. Following career fluctuations, he roared back in 2015 with Yevade Subramanyam and delivered an unprecedented 8 straight commercially safe films. He;s also known for his boy next door image which really helps his image and following among family audiences and general public.

Vishwak Sen - A controversial figure as a whole and wanna be Vijay Deverakonda, Vishwak Sen has slowly made a name for himself with movies like Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi and HIT. The youth seem to like his attitude but he proved his talent with a solid performance in HIT. WHether or not TFI decides to really get behind him needs to be seen

Adivi Sesh - The talented actor grew up in USA but speaks flawless Telugu and is known for his excellent work in the thriller genre with that have razor sharp screenplays and terrific twists. With Kshanam, Goodachari, and Evaru, Sesh has proved that whatever film he does is quality. If you think he's gonna be taken down, then watch this interview here 

Sharwanand- The talented actor claims if Gamyam failed, he would have stayed in USA and worked a normal job. Thankfully it was a blockbuster and films like Prasthanam and Run Raja Run do justice to his talents. However, he's known to have a good relationship with Ram Charan and Prabhas which might have helped him in the long run.

Nikhil - Movies like Swamy Ra Raa and Karthikeya help his cause, but his real life personality does him no favors. Full of overaction and buildup.

Siddharth- Bommarillu and Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana. Disappeared after that with every Telugu movie becoming a flop.

Varun Sandesh - The first Telugu American to debut in Tollywood, Varun's career lasted literally 1 year as he delivered Happy Days and Kotha Bangaru Lokam within that span. Despite Yemaindi Ee Vela working, 3 out of 25 movies success rate is atrocious. Apparently, he was the first choice for Sukumar's 100% but it eventually went to Chay.

Uday Kiran - The first non background actor to make it big, Uday Kiran's demise was traced back to his marriage with Chiru's elder daughter Sushmita falling apart. Post that incident, Uday never recovered and took his own life in 2015.

Verdict: Is there nepotism in Tollywood? Yes. Does that mean that talent is not encouraged? No. At least not as much as in Bollywood.

The audience always encourages talent in Telugu irrespective of skin color, ethnicity and height which is why actors like Kelly Dorji are appreciated big time in the industry.  Unlike Bollywood which only cares about looks.

With actors like Akhil, Bellamkonda Sreenivas and Allu Sirish, it proves that it doesn't matter if you comes from a film family or not. The audience will always encourage talent at the end of the day and most actors from the film families don't have that. Sure almost 90% of notable Telugu actors are from established families but that doesn't mean that they're successful. So many have come and gone due to nepotism, but talent always wins at the end of the day which is why actors like Mahesh Babu, Allu Arjun, and Venkatesh have succeeded despite being from prominent film families. Likewise why Raviteja, Vijay D, and Nani have made it big without any background. If you hustle, success will follow.

October 3, 2017No Comments

How Overseas Distributors are losing Money

Photo: ATMUS Entertainment's offer for Mahesh Babu's SPYder premieres on September 26th. 

In the last couple of years, the overseas market has grown by leaps and bounds and is arguably the biggest source of revenue for Telugu movies outside of the twin Telugu states. There are a host of distributors in the movie market such as Bluesky, Nirvana, ATMUS, US Telugu Movies, Classics, Cinegalaxy, Jollyhits, GreatIndiaFilms, and more. Preiovusly the Telugu market was very small in USA for Telugu films.

The first movie to open up the market was Mahesh Babu starrer Athadu which was the first time people in America really opened their eyes towards Telugu movies in America. Previously, films used to be released in about 8 centers and scattered across the US, usually with prime locations in the Bay Area, Dallas, and Edison New Jersey, where a Telugu community is dominant and high in numbers. After Athadu, the market expanded and paved way for the industry hit Pokiri, which collected about $350,000 back in 2006. This is a resounding number considered the amount of prints that were released back then.

It was then that Mahesh Babu started to assert his control on the US Box office and now remains the most popular Telugu star in the US.

I remember I used to watch a Telugu movie with my family maybe once a year or twice a year because of the scarcity of locations that screened the movies. 10 years later with the emergence of technology nd digital streaming, you can watch every Telugu movie at will without having to go to the theater.

Now let's get to the point. Now that Telugu movies now release in at least 90+ locations for a medium range hero such as Naga Chaitanya or Sharwanand, distributors are having to shell out exorbitant amounts of money to acquire the rights. In recent years here are some of the prices distributors have shelled out to acquire big cinema rights.

SPYder- 23.5 crores ($3,525,000)

Mahanubhavudu- 3.25 crores ($487,500)

Jai Lava Kusa- 8 crores ($1,200,000)

Katamarayudu- 11 crores ($1,650,000)

Agnythaavasi- 21 crores ($3,150,000)

Brahmotsavam- 13 crores ($1,950,000)

Saaho - 42 crores ($6,300,000)

Vineya Vidheya Rama - 6.7 crores ($1,005,000)

NTR Part 1 Kathanayukudu - 9 Crores ($1,350,000)

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy 18 crores ($2,700,000)

All of these films listed above are disasters in the overseas market. Producers are quoting ridiculous prices due to the star power or hero name and they believe it's worth to sell the film for such a huge price.

In recent years, Brahmotsavam, Sardaar Gabbar Singh, Katamarayudu, and SPYder have been films that have left deep holes in distributors pockets and failed to recover even 50% of their investment. The films and the content in them were so bad, that audiences outrightly rejected them and just gave a big thumbs down to the movies and essentially boycotted them.

Due to this change in audiences tastes, massive stars like Mahesh Babu and Pawan Kalyan are slowly losing their grip in the overseas market. With Pawan Kalyan and Mahesh both delivering back to back disasters in the overseas market, stars like Nani and Vijay Deverakonda are growing in strength with each passing film.

Gone are the days where a star could single handedly pull a film. Now it's about the content and quality of the movie. Not only Telugu, but even Hindi superstars Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan delivered disastrous results with Jab Harry Met Sejal and Tubelight earlier in 2017 and the audience outrightly rejected them.

With the exception of Baahubali 2, Fidda, Arjun Reddy, and Ninnu Kori, every single Telugu film that has released in the USA market has been a disaster. Jr.NTR has come up with 3 consecutive 1.5 million films but one cannot deny his movies released during dry periods and there was unprecedented hype around them, thereby exterminating any effect on the collections regardless if it got bad talk or not. But the films he has been doing are definitely better than what Pawan Kalyan and Mahesh Babu have been doing. What is the solution? Well it's difficult. And there are probably 2 options:

1) Dont buy the rights- If someone were to tell you I'll sell you something for $2 million but I can't guarantee that you'll get your money back, would you do it? Obviously not. This is something the distributors do not understand. They must be blindly trusting the name of the hero and director and believing that it's worth that much money but in reality, you have no clue as to how the movie has turned out and this puts you under pressure for the film to deliver. While it's hard to say that we don't want to bring this big Telugu movie to the USA audience, I think it's a risk worth taking so that you don't go broke. Another thing I've understood is that producers are very adamant with their pricing and they do not care that the overseas distributor incurs severe losses if the film flops.

2) Renegotiate the pricing- It;s simple business tactics. Low amount spent + big money earned= Huge profit. To my knowledge only 3 movies in the recent past have been bought for low prices and reaped profits for the distributors. They are Pellichoopulu, Fidaa, and Arjun Reddy. All of these movies featured relatively small stars but the content of the movie clicked with the audience and the distributors laughed all the way to the bank. Distributors should try to renegotiate the pricing and make sure both parties understood each other's situations and then sell the rights. because let's be honest here. These prices are ridiculous and not even Mahesh Babu or Pawan Kalyan in a film with Rajamouli would be able to collect $7 million regardless if it was good or not.

3) Stop selling movies to OTT platforms before the release of the movie - Due to the emergence of Amazon Prime specifically and increaisng ticket rates and technology (WhatsApp groups), the life of a Telugu movie in the overseas market is literally 3 days if it's not good. But folks have become so accustomed to waiting for a movie even if it has unaunimous hit talk on Prime because the logo usually plays before the opening credits or talk spreads like wildfire saying movie isn't so good and you can wait for it on prime. Even star hero movies can fall victim to this. For Telugu people, the theater experience is a collecticve viewing experience and these OTT platforms want to kill the theater business and culture. Not only is this killing the theatrical business model, but it also limits exposure for the cinema especially if people like Suresh Babu and Allu Aravind are selling their movies on Aha, Sony Liv, or Zee5. Nobody uses these platforms to begin with and while you might get a good deal, it severely limits the exposure of the film especially if it has good content. Which leads people to pirate the movie and then producers cry about piracy. Just think first and you'll realize why it's happening. But bottomline, analyze the theatrical perofrmance of the movie and then sell the movie to OTT if possible so you can reap the maximum amount of revenue. Also stop marketing the poster with a Prime or Netflix logo on it that also makes folks lazy and wait for it to come on OTT.

Just a thought distributors, just a thought.

-Teja Rao, Telugu movie fan

September 6, 2017No Comments

Director Teja’s Sensational Comments about Telugu Film Industry

Director Teja is one man who is known for his outspoken, no filter nature. He speaks whatever comes to his mind and doesn't give a damn about what others think. He recently made a decent return to form with Nene Raju Nene Mantri but today we are going to talk about the sensational and hilarious comments he made at the Hora Hori audio launch back in 2015.

Here is the video: Watch from 1:30-6:30 


His comments were not only hilarious but they were also vert true. These two formulas have been ruling the industry forever and we as an audience were ok with it. For a quick recap, let's review what he said

1) Babugaaru Formula: A hero comes from another town to this town. When he comes, he takes up odd jobs for money such as cleaning, selling ice cream, driving autos, or some lowlife job. Before the interval he helps a small family. Before the interval, someone recognizes him but he denies his true identity. After the interval, there's a huge flashback which explains that either himself or his father was a bigshot and was a great man and made all these sacrifices and tried to live a better life as a nobody. I will give the list of movies shortly.

2) Gundamma Formula: There's a villain. The hero works in the villain's house. The hero will be flirting or romancing the villain's daughter all the time. The villain is such an imbecile that he doesn't know the hero is trying to get with his daughter. Normal people after knowing such things, will lock the gate and keep their daughter and wife away from them. This guy puts him in his own house. There will be one guy who recognizes everything but he's missing a leg or can't speak. There will be a comedian who knows the truth the whole time but no on believes him. They keep on slapping him. They have made this movie with every hero with the same comedy track and everyone has Bhramandham and all of them are becoming super hits.

Looking back at his comments, Teja garu spoke the truth. We have been making the same story for years with elevated mass moments and a bit of different emotions while the same concept remains the same. I definitely think Teja has the right mindset and really opened up the audiences eyes to what they have been watching. To be honest any movie I watch nowadays, I keep Teja's comments in mind and try to see if he was right. In all honesty the chances are the movie contains shades on Baabugaru or Gundamma formula.  Here are a list of some movies tin the last 15 years that fall into each category

Babugaaru Formula: Baasha, Jayamanade Raa, Bunny, Dictator, Legend, Indra, Simha, Srimanthudu, Baahubali, Rebel, Naayak, Racha, Yevadu, Vikramarkudu, Simhadri, Ramayya Vasthavayya, Oosaravelli, Andhrawala, Lingaa, Pretty much every Balakrishna movie ever, Dubai Seenu, Mass, Ragada, Bengal Tiger, Bhageeratha, Bhadra, Dammu, Power, Bhai, and the list goes on and on 

Gundamma Formula: Dhee, Ready, Baadshah, Dookudu, Aagadu, Namo Venkatesa, Bindaas, Darling, Mirchi, Denikaina Ready, Eedo Rakam Ado Rakam, Cinema Choopistha Maava, Alludu Seenu, Pandaga Chesko, Doosukeltha, Masala, King, Balupu, Loukyam, Soukhyam, Bruce Lee, Akhil, Mirchi, Attarintiki Daredi, and the list goes on and on 

Final Thoughts: Think about Teja's garus comments and see if he was right. But in all honesty, his speech was hilarious and eye opening at the same time. From now on, all I will think about is whether the movie is a babugaaru formula or gundamma or whether it's actually fresh.

As always, thanks for reading and signing off

Teja Rao- Telugu film fan

March 12, 20173 Comments

My Views on North Indians in Telugu Cinema

Row 1:  Kajal Aggarwal, Sonu Sood, Tamannah Bhatia,

Row 2: Lavanya Tripathi, Mukesh Rishi, Raashi Khanna,

Row 3: Kabir Duhan Singh, Ileana D' Cruz, Hansika Motwani

Hello friends and viewers, this is Teja back again. I got a request from an individual to share my thoughts and  views on North Indians in the Telugu film industry and how I feel about it. Let me say one thing, it's all about talent. So I can really go either way here. I will talk about 2 main categories: Heroines and Villains

1) Heroines: This is going to be a long article. In all honesty, it makes me a bit angry and uneasy that most of our heroines are from the North. Two reasons are because they don't know the language and secondly they just look good. Most of the incoming heroines say their favorite actor is Mahesh Babu. I wonder why. But there's a huge difference between him and them. Because not only is he very good looking (no homo) but he is also a phenomenal actor and can do his job properly. The North Indians heroines today I feel take the industry for granted and the first reason I mentioned really makes me angry.

I was born and brought up in America and have been fluently speaking Telugu for about 15 years of my life and I fully understand it. Having a profound knowledge and understanding of the Telugu language makes me a more unique person I feel since Telugu people don't think I understand what they're saying. But in reality , I understand every word that comes out of their mouth whether it be English or Telugu. If I, an American, can understand Telugu and I learned it, then why can't our heroines do the same. To be frank, most Telugu Americans born and brought up here don't watch Telugu films and can rarely speak the language to my knowledge. They may understand Telugu but they can't necessarily speak it.

Outside of Rakul Preeth Singh, Tamannah, and Lavanya Tripathi, no leading actress form the North even attempts to speak in Telugu and only speaks in English. My ears have taken a severe beating from hearing that same dubbing artist over and over again for every heroine in every film (don't worry you do a great job though) and it's getting tedious to listen to. Kajal Aggarwal for example, has been in the industry for 10 years and the only thing she knows how to say is Andariki Namaskaram. Pilla, neeko namaskaram thalli. Mundu baasha nerchuko amma. I feel that in this day and age, these girls are not even making an attempt to learn the language and it's truly sad to see. In terms of their talent, in my personal opinion, the 3 girls I mentioned before actually have acting talent and can do their job well. It amazes me how Kajal Aggarwal gets big film after big film despite having no real acting prowess other than her physique and looks. Rakul Preeth is slowly climbing up the ladder and is doing a massive film with Mahesh Babu in Mahesh23. Lavanya Tripathi will next be seen in Sharwanand's Radha and Naga Chaitanya's new film. Tamannah hasn't been in a big film for a long time but she has Baahubali 2 in hand.

And the 2nd reason is the reason why the industry is losing a lot of respect. The look factor. It is a well known fact that our Telugu vallu are more cynical and have higher expectations for someone to be qualified for an actor. They must be good looking or they must have acting talent. If you don't have the luxury of being good looking, then your acting talent must make up for it. Heroes Raviteja, Nani, and Allu Arjun were not the most good looking actors when they first started. But due to their performances and acting talent, the audience loves them now and could care less about their looks. Telugu audience encourages new actors and actresses, but that's only if they have some acting talent. Besides Rakul, Tamannah, and Lavanya, most of the present heriones have no real acting talent. Because they are from the north and are very white looking and have fair skin, makers think that's an incentive to cast them over a naturally talented Telugu born and speaking girl from Telangana and Andhra. Anchor Anasuya is a Telugu girl and has tried her luck at Telugu films but the audience for some reason trolls her and makes insensitive comments about her. Dude, she can actually speak Telugu herself and you have a problem! It truly beats me.

Hansika Motwani, Raashi Khanna, Sonam Bajwa, Poonam Kaur, Richa Gangopadhyay, Kriti Kharbhanda, Ayesha Takia, Nisha Agarwal, Poonam Bajwa, Aarti Agarwal, Mannara Chopra, Larisa Bonesi (Brazil), Kamna Jethlamani, Saloni, Isha Chawla, Nikki Galrani, Isha Talwar and Dimple Chopade. Just read that list to yourself and you may not even recognize some of the names. That's because all of those names, if not all those names have no acting talent whatsoever and have have entered the industry at the expense of Telugu talent.

We will give Ileana and Sonali Bendre and Shriya an excuse because back then, they not only had some acting talent, but they were also extremely attractive and had svelte physiques so the audience didn't care.

And it messes with the audience and youth because now their perception of the perfect girl is now a white skinned beauty rather than the dark skinned beauty that is common in Andhra and Telangana.

All in all, North Indian heroines dominate the industry and are taking away local talent from naturally speaking Telugu girls. But like I said, it's not all about the looks, you need to have the talent.

2) Villains: The villain in a Telugu movie is always a huge part especially if it is an action film. They are ruthless, scream their lungs out, kill people at will, and in the end get the shit kicked out them by the hero and usually end up dying. But if you look at it, most of the villains in the industry are from the north but in my personal opinion, they are a lot better than the heroines because they actually have some intensity that goes along with them. I'll try to talk about a bunch of actors that I can frankly remember.

A) Mukesh Rishi ( Jammu and Kashmir)- I have to say Mukesh Rishi is my favorite villain of all time. And that is because the first time I ever saw him was in my then favorite film, Indra starring Megastar Chiranjeevi where he plays the main villain Veera Shankar Reddy. He was absolutely ruthless in that film and has followed up his villain act in countless films such as Srimanthudu, Rebel, Loukyam, Power, Race Gurram, Darling, Namo Venkatesa, and Jalsa. While he doesn't always get the dubbing and lip sync right, Mukesh Rishi has a perfect build and just amazing intensity portraying cruelty and ruthlessness on the screen which makes him an evergreen villain in Telugu cinema. Overall, he is very talented and does a pretty damn good job at being a villain.

B) Sonu Sood (Punjab)- Sonu Sood is a villain that the Telugu audiences love. I actually happened to see him in his very first Telugu film Super with Akkineni Nagarjuna (Check that movie out, it's def worth a watch) where he played a character with slight negative shades to the hero. He was very impressive in that film and has an excellent physique. Not only did he look good, but he showed some promise. It wasn't until the film Arudhati where he played the iconic villain Pasupathy that really showed what he is capable of to the audience and he was simply world class. His mannerisms, expressions, cruelty, and voice were simply spectacular and his performance as the Aghora was just too good. Credit needs to be given to dubbing artist P. Ravi Shankar for doing such an amazing job. He then followed it up with another amazing performance in Ek Niranjan as the main villain. His characterization and the way he said Bhramaji in that film arguably stole the show and was the highlight and gave him even more mileage as a villain. In 2011, he starred in Kandireega and was the highlight of the film with his ruthless yet comic performance and he made you laugh the whole movie and established him as a multi-talented villain. Overall, he is also excellent and acts very well

C) Kabir Duhan Singh- This man was the talk of the town after Gopichand's Jil. His look, physique and performance were highly appreciated by the audience and Kabir Singh got offer after offer and signed like 10 movies including Vedalam and Sardaar Gabbar Singh. Unfortunate after Jil and Vedalam, most of Kabir's films have not had success and his graph has surely fallen. Despite being in Supreme in 2016, I sincerely hope that Kabir finds his acting talent and comes back strong so he will be in the minds of the audiences again. Overall, he is more brawn and less talent

D) Vineet Kumar- You may know him best as Bavuji from Vikramarkudu. He often plays the same role and is not the best looking man around. I think the audiences like him more due to his unusual expressions and funny dialogue delivery. Overall, he's more well known for comedic relief rather than acting prowess.

E) Ravi Kishan- A superstar in Bhojpuri, Ravi Kishan made his debut as a crazy politician in Race Gurram and the film was a blockbuster. But one has to say he had a hackneyed characterization and it wasn't the greatest. He definitely has talent and audiences have accepted him and he was pretty good in Supreme too.

F) Pradeep Rawat- You may know him best as the villain in Sye and Desamuduru. Pradeep Rawat, I have to say sadly has no acting talent and all he can do is scream his lungs out. He showed his comic side in Nenu Sailaja and it was a bit awkward for the audience to digest him as a comedian after seeing him as a villain killing people for so long. Definitely did a good job in Ghajini though.

G) Thakur Anoop Singh- I have a feeling we're gonna be hearing a lot about this guy in the coming years. A Mr. World finalist, Thakur has already starred in Singam 3 and Winner. He has an excellent physique and will develop the acting chops and will surely be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come. He's someone to watch out for in my opinion.

Others: Ashutosh Rana (Venky, Balupu, Pataas), Mahesh Manjrekar (Adhurs), Manoj Bajpai (Happy, Komaram Puli), Sachin Khedekar (Nenu Local, Janatha Garage), Sharad Kelkar (Sardaar Gabbar Singh), Tarun Arora (Khaidi no 150), Murali Sharma (Bhale Bhale, Adithi) Rahul Dev, (Athadu, Munna, Yevadu), Mukul Dev (Krishna, Adhurs) Sayaji Shinde (Tagore, Devadasu), Pankaj Tripathi (Doosukeltha)

Overall, I think the Telugu audience is a lot more accepting of villains than they are of heroines. I really don't have a problem with the villains being from the North because they actually do a good job in movies and as a bunch, have more acting talent than the heroines from the north. I personally don't mind them because their voice is usually dubbed by P Ravi Shankar and I could listen to his voice all day due to the bass and sheer effort he brings to every role he dubs for. In a day where we have Jagapathi Babu, Rana Daggubati, and Saikumar in villain roles, I think actors from the North trying their luck as villains can give our Telugu vallu a run for their money. But one would have to agree that we should encourage our local Talent over non-Telugu talent.

All in all, I'm more cynical about heroines than I am of villains because I believe the villains are actually a lot more well groomed and actually have some acting talent.

Thanks once again for reading all of this and special mention to T. Santosht Babu for his request to me to write this article

Signing off,

Teja Rao-Telugu cinema fan



March 9, 20175 Comments

My Honest View on Telugu Cinema

Hello Friends. Thank you very much for checking out my website and reading the reviews on them. The reason I created the site was for a means of entertainment and also to write reviews honestly and without being biased, unlike an Idlebrain Jeevi who is a mega fan and GreatAndhra, who can’t even write English properly and writes things such as too much bore, bore to the core, too worst, not much funny, forgets to use simple words such as a and of and just writes bad English yet the overseas audience still trusts them when it comes to reviews. Now I am not a film critic or journalist to critique them, but we live in the United States of America and if you don’t know how to write proper English when you’re a journalist or whatever these websites claim themselves to be, it’s truly sad and painful to watch. Now it brings me to my views. I stated in my about me page that I’m not biased towards any actor or person.
Truth is I am a little biased but when it comes to critiquing things, I look at it from a neutral perspective. I am not one minded like many Tollywood family fans, such as the Mega fans or Nandamuri fans. My favorite actor is Mahesh Babu. But I like Pawan Kalyam with same amount of respect that I have for Mahesh Babu. Because Pawan Kalyan is awesome. His mannerisms, style, and energy are a level of it’s own and it’s great to watch and it’s the reason he is such a big star. As an avid watcher of Telugu films, I could really care less about who the hero or heroine is. Because at the end of the day, everybody wants to watch a good movie and that’s all that matters. Were we entertained for 2 or 2 and half hours and was it worth spending $12 or 500 rupees on that movie? If that answer is yes, then who cares who’s in the movie?
I have been watching Telugu films for about 16 years now. I am almost 20 years old. And they have played a huge part in my life and shaped who I am. I grew up in an all white Irish conservative town where white people are culturally insensitive to other cultures and all they do is drink beer and get plastered every weekend. They’d never understand how much fun an Indian film could be if you looked past the one mindedness. A common answer I get is I don’t want to READ a movie, I want to watch it. When people can watch Narcos with subtitles, how come they can’t watch a Telugu movie with English subtitles? Sometimes the double standards really confuse me and make me angry. Which now brings me to the current state of Telugu movies. I have seen close to 300 Telugu movies. If you’d like the list, I will gladly post it soon. And in the most of the movies, I’ve tried to discern why a film worked and why it flopped. I’ll talk about 4 types of Telugu movies. Romantic films, Family Entertainers, Masala Entertainers and Horror Comedies.
1) Romantic Films- These films are your typical Telugu film. But the way they have been made makes me sick. As an industry, I believe these are the films that hold us back from further advancing and making a Pink or Visaranai. Because of one element. Stalking. Stalking is not only a federal offense but also a huge issue in society. Not only women, but men are also victims are stalking too. Stalking is scary and anyone who attempts to do this should be put in jail for years to come. The problem is the “Romance” they show you in these Telugu movies is nothing but pure stalking and harassment. I have never had a girlfriend and I wanted a girl to like me. And after seeing it work in only about 100 Telugu movies, I tried the things they do in the movies to a girl and let me tell you, it’s bullshit. It doesn’t work. In fact, it won’t make the girl like you. It will make her avoid you at all costs and you’ll be sitting there wondering how did you messed up so badly and how you got yourself into a situation like this and you’ll be pleading for her to talk to you again. But it causes irreparable damage and can seriously ruin your chances and your image as a person in your workplace, school, and society as whole. The fact that the guy gets the girl during some point over the course of the film just makes me extremely angry. Makers distort reality and show the audience this and especially the youth like me, are influenced by this and think it’s ok. But when it doesn’t work, you wonder why the movies are lying to you.
And the romance films are all the same plot. Jobless guy, smoking hot girl, he does nothing but booze and smoke, stalks and harasses her relentlessly, and then has to convince her father who’s Good personified to the 10th exponent that he’s the right person for her. Does he have any money to keep her happy? NO. Does he have a job? NO. Can he fight? YES but we’re never told how. Can he dance? Check that box off. Is he qualified over someone else in all of India? Hell no. And that’s precisely what’s wrong.
There are 4 things wrong here. Number 1, the movie tells you that it’s ok to be jobless and stalk hot girls in the aim that they’ll eventually fall for you. Dude, if you’re everywhere where the girl is, she won’t like you, she will call 911 or 100 as fast as she can and before you know it, there will be a restraining order on you. But I guess Heroines are too dumb to realize this and they just play along.
Number 2, what father in their right mind would get their daughter married at 19 years old? I don’t know what Indian parents are smoking or what drugs they take in India, but I know for sure I will never smoke or take what they are taking in my life. I mean it’s just illogical. And you’d think one filmy father would have the brain to think differently. Nope they’re all the same. They only think of dealing with the situation at hand and not that their daughter will be unhappy for the rest of their lives cause their dad is getting them married to the first Bakra fellow they find and they expect all will end happy.
Number 3, the already engaged heroine formula. This is just absurd and inane after a point. And the stalking and harassment plays into it. You wouldn’t believe it but the heroine, who likes to be stalked and harassed by the guy she’s in love with, is afraid her future hubby will not be able to do the same to her so she waits for the hero to win her over and all ends happy. I don’t think in today’s society, a girl about to be married will have a change of heart before a guy ties the Thalli around her neck at the last minute in order to marry some Jaffa off the streets who’s a useless chap and looks like a ruffian.
And finally Number 4, the house entering formula. Not just romance films, but the family entertainers have this problem too. To win his lady love over, the hero enters the heroines house in an attempt to win her over by impressing all her relatives amidst her upcoming marriage as her friend or some random guy she met when she was at some god forsaken place one fateful day. Just pure nonsense. Makers need to start showing romance in a more realistic and convincing manner and do away with stalking. Hopefully somebody will come around one day and knock some sense into these filmmakers.
2) Family Entertainers- If there's one word I hate the most in Telugu cinema, it's family entertainer. Because EVERY SINGLE MOVIE claims to be one. Sarrainodu and Legend claimed to be family entertainers. These movies also had loads of excessive vilence where people get their heads and limbs chopped off. So if your young child is ok with seeing that, then you can make the conclusion as to whether that tagline is ok.
Starting from Premichukundam Raa back in 1999, the definition and plot of every family entertainer has not changed since. 2 warring families, big patriarchs, huge houses they live in and you'd think they have no problems in life but clearly not, hot granddaughters, and blood thirsty offspring whether it be sons or daughters wanting to kill the other family. Along comes the hero, usually a descendant or relative to 1 of the 2 families and he unknowingly gets caught in the cross-hairs of the problems and at hand and as if he didn't have enough problems himself, he know has more added stress cause he now has to somehow makes sure he isn't killed and his family members aren't killed. So essentially their problem becomes his problem.
Another folly he commits is falling in love with a hot girl. And you'd think girls from the village are dark and not fair, nah fam, these girls have the curves and looks carved by Bramha himself and are literally every man's dream. Somehow they like each other and it just further adds to the conflict at hand between the two families. Throw in some comedy or chase sequences here and there and then you must have sentiment with huge zoom ins of each cast members face to see their reaction and glycerin to make them tear until they run out of glycerin to pour into their eyes. And in order to avoid suspicion, he disguises himself as a son or daughter of some distant relative or a cab driver and stays in the family's house with everyone questioning his identity but he somehow covers it up with his intelligent wit though he's usually jobless all the time so you wonder where all this intelligence comes from.
At the end of it all, he somehow solves all the problems and all ends happy and 1 of the 2 families realizes their mistakes and two families who were just about to cut off each others' arms and legs just 15 minutes ago, needed a 5 minute speech after 20 years by some bozo from out of town whom you've never met to realize their mistake and after they're pretend like all that shit that happened between them for the last 20 years never even happened at all. And add the fact that he may stalk or harass a girl in the village too so it's just restricted to the cities but it's ok in the villages too.
These films are what the USA feeds on for some reason when they're all the same in reality. Only exceptions are Ready and Attarintiki Daredi as they provided ample entertainment throughout. Makers should explore new "Family entertainers" and churn out new ideas from the done to death things. Also add that bava-maradalu is incest and never would I ever think about having sex or being romantically involved with my cousin. Just absolutely repulsive. And chances are your maradalu will never look as good as the one in the movie.
3) Masala Films- Take the romantic film section and add action and conflict to them and viola, you have masala films. The literal definition of Masala film means action, comedy, romance, sentiment, and good looking songs all mixed into one and an average story to carry the film forward. Believe it or not, but the industry survives on films like these and has for years. Masala films are just devoid of any logic what so ever and feature a superman type hero, stupid heroine who can't protect herself, and an asinine villain who has nothing but mush in his brain and knows nothing else but to kill and extort money from cowardly individuals. The conflict is usually never good. But when a commercial entertainer is done right, the result is a Dookudu or Gabbar SIngh. But if you looked at it closely, those two "classics" are nothing but average films that run on comedy. They might be classics in terms of entertainment, but film-making wise, they're erratic and all over the place.
This is a genre Ram Charan has milked his entire career from Chirutha all the way to Bruce Lee and I'm glad he finally realized it was time for a change and has opted for content driven films now. Masala films in my opinion are the reason that holds back the Telugu industry from making path breaking films. All in all, commercial entertainers come way too often and the ones that are done right are few and far between. It's time for a change and it's precisely why the Indian-American audience (Overseas) rejects these types of movies 9 times out of 10.
4) Horror Comedies- Oh boy, this genre is one that become outdone even before it started. After the smashing success of Prema Katha Chitram back in 2013, every other damn movie that came out and was low budget attempted to be a horror comedy. But something that was once fresh eventually gets ruined and spoiled after people keep reusing the same ideas and stories. Since Prema Katha Chitram, only film, Raju Garu Gadhi, has succesfully managed to become a blockbuster and the rest in between have miserably failed. If you're a newcomer in the industry and want to make it big, don't attempt a horror comedy as your first film no matter what the producer says. All in all, is it too much to ask for a little creativity and realism from films?
Final Thoughts: If you've managed to finish reading this whole thing, give yourself a pat on the back as it was extremely long and I myself even had trouble trying to convince myself to write this much.
At the end of the day, with films like Kshanam, Pellichoopulu, and Ghazi making waves in the industry, I think it's high time we move out of masala films and bring about a new wave of films that people will enjoy. Ditch the routine stories and masala films and make fresh new engaging concepts that the audience will enjoy. And even if it fails, makers should still be commended for not falling into the mainstream trap and trying to do something new.
As a Telugu movie fan, I know people do not like it, but I think realism is the biggest thing that Telugu movies have been avoiding forever and it really bothers me. Yes films are a means for entertainment and to forget your problems, but if makers could portray romance in a way other than stalking, that would be great. You can always make a realistic film with entertainment and make it enjoyable. Hopefully one day, some one will enter the industry and bring about a change in the way things are portrayed in Tollywood.
As always thank you for reading my site and reading this article and it gave you a good laugh but also gave you an honest view on what Tollywood movies are about in retrospect.
Signing off,
Teja Rao- Telugu cinema Fan