My 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 t 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.
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 fucking 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? Fuck 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. 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.
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 Preminchukundam 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.
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.
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?
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 this much.
At the end of the day, with films like Kshanam, Pellichoopulu, and Ghazi making waves in the indsutry, 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.
Teja Rao — Telugu Cinema Fan
Teja Rao © 2020 — All rights reserved.