It is commonly accepted that the first generation stars of Telugu cinema were two huge pillars: ANR and NTR. Their influence fills the archives of Tollywood. Their genes still dictate the box office. Two and three generations later members of their families are not just known faces but influential power packets in Telugu cinema. The flow moved via Shoban Babu and Krishna and love triangles to the times of chiranjeevi who noticed no competitor in his times.
It’s been a while now since the stated big names have given way to alternative big names. The more the industry has changed, the more it has remained the same. It is indeed unfortunate that Telugu cinema plows more money into star based dust-kicking muscle-flexing scripts. Rarely does a breezy ‘Fida’ or a ‘Godavari’ draws attention and success at the BO. The 86 year old industry has the wherewithal. It lacks the willpower. The likes of Venkatesh have shown far-sightedness by evolving from romantic leads to meaningful stories. While the Industry will continue to function around Stardust and its reflected glitter it can only progress if there are streaks of intelligent change. Artistic renaissance is too high an expectation but meaningful variations are the need for survival. Any takers?
L.Ravichander,, Sr Counsell, High Court of Telangana and AP, columnist, cine critic