Dec 3, 2008

THE OVERSEAS HITS Yuvatha, Vinayakudu & Ashta Chemma


The global financial meltdown doesn't seem to have taken Tollywood down with it, with the Telugu film industry's overseas collections being as merry as ever The economic crisis and its fallout seem to be affecting every global industry. But indeed there's something exceptional about the entertainment industry, for it seems to be comparatively insulated, at least if you're to look at the unchanged fortunes of the Telugu film distribution overseas. Like every year, Telugu films are releasing all over the world, and there surely doesn't seem to be any slowdown here.There are many Reasons?

Raja, the actor who also took up overseas distributions with the film Mr Medhavi says, "Entertainment is not a luxury. People come to the movie theatre to relax and ease their tensions." He also adds that Telugu films are not affected by the present economic crisis at all, and he's hopeful of the overseas market still, as he says, "I am going to distribute my new film overseas too."

In the earlier part of 2008, the Ravi Teja-VV Vinayak duo produced a hit with Krishna. A major part of this film's collections also came from the overseas market. Ready too was a big hit and the story of overseas success was the same with this as well. Jalapathi, a film critic, adds an interesting point here, of how formula Tollywood flicks have a tremendous amount of appeal to the overseas audience, and therefore the success of these films – "Audiences of Telugu films abroad prefer entertainers and action films. They may not take that well to serious cinema," he says. And that does seem to set the pattern for the kind of movies that do well abroad. And since this market constitutes a big part of the profit-pie, producers keep an eye on it when they make films. A trendsetting fact is revealed in what producer Lagadapati Sridhar tells us – "Low-budget films likes Kotha Bangaru Lokam, Yuvatha and Vinayakudu are doing well at the BO.

These films are made with new talent, and I too would like to go on these lines this year." He is presently producing Sneha Geetham with a fresh cast. Dil Raju, the producer of Kotha Bangaru Lokam, however, says he isn't satisfied with the overseas collections of his film, and thinks the recession may have some role in it, as he says, "The film was a blockbuster here but the overseas market wasn't as good. Maybe there is some impact on the overseas market." The trend of low-to-moderate budget films is because their cost-recovery is obviously easier. With big budget films, however, there's a bit of an obstacle, and industry sources opine that big production houses, making films with budgets of Rs 10 crore or more may be affected. "Those producing films with high budgets are now in a dilemma with the economic crisis. It's not wise making a film with a Rs 15 crore budget since expecting even a Rs 2 crore profit is asking for a lot," opines Mahi, brand manager of a production house.

On the other hand, "It's safer to make small-budget films with good entertainment value. That's why movies like Ashta Chemma, Vinayakudu and Yuvatha have done well." Corporate house-backed films are therefore on the lookout for moderate-budget films with new actors rather than the star-studded extravaganza that require higher investment and therefore are a risk in these times. So, recession or not, Tollywood seems to be hot fare abroad. But err on the side of caution with the budget, seems to be the rider for the producers.