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
Teja Rao-Telugu cinema fan