Big stars, eminent directors, and big budgets can’t guarantee success of a film and this has been proved by a string of failures in Tollywood after the smashing success of ‘Pushpa’.
The last four months saw several eagerly awaited movies hitting the screen but barring S.S. Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ starring Junior NTR and Ram Charan, others either bombed at the box-office or registered average success.
Chiranjeevi, arguably the biggest name in Tollywood, could not guarantee a great opening for ‘Acharya’.
Starring megastar Chiranjeevi in the lead and his son Ram Charan in an extended cameo, the movie directed by Koratala Siva was released on April 29 to a lukewarm response at the box office. Negative reviews saw a huge drop in the movie’s collection in the first four days.
It disappointed even in Telugu states.
In Andhra Pradesh it opened to increased ticket prices for the first week as per the policy of the state government for big-budget movies. However, so poor is the performance of ‘Acharya’ that trade analysts believe its business may end within this week.
Despite the hype around the movie due to the presence of the father-son duo and a large number of their fans thronging theatres in the first week-end, it failed to live up to the expectations. ‘Acharya’ made a whopping budget of Rs1400 million grossed Rs630 million worldwide in its first weekend.
Those who track Tollywood say that 'Acharya' could end up as one of the biggest disasters of 2022.
A cliched story and dated narrative without effective emotions resulted in the huge disappointment for Chiranjeevi’s fans who had high expectations with this maiden collaboration between megastar and successful director Koratala Siva.
This was the second famous father-son duo to flop at the box-office. Earlier, this year ‘Bangarraju’ starring Nagarjuna and his son Naga Chaitanya came as a disappointment. While their fans were excited to see them together on the screen, this could not save the movie based on a done and dusted script of a supernatural drama. Kalyan Krishna made this as a sequel to ‘Soggade Chinni Nayana’ (2016) which starred Nagarjuna in a dual role and was commercially successful.
‘Bangarraju’ could gross only Rs600 million worldwide despite the hype around the father-son duo.
Another big disaster this year is ‘Radhe Shyam’ starring Baahubali fame Prabhas in the lead. The multi-lingual period romantic drama failed to live up to the high expectations.
Starring Prabhas in the role of a world-famous palmist, ‘Radhe Shyam’ in Telugu, Hindi and Tamil had hit the screens on March 11. Despite stunning visuals, grand outdoors, visual effects, romance and good music, the movie bombed due to cliched story.
‘Bheemla Nayak’ starring Pawan Kalyan and ‘Baahubali’ fame Daggubati Rana was another much-anticipated movie to hit the screens in February.
It was a Telugu remake of ‘Ayyappanum Koshiyum’ (2020), a Malayalam language action thriller. Unlike ‘Ayyappanum Koshiyum’, which was about clash of egos between two men, it was Pawan Kalyan who dominated ‘Bheemla Nayak’. Rana’s role was played down to allow power star, as the brother of Chiranjeevi is popularly known in film circles, take the centre stage.
Romantic comedy ‘DJ Tillu’ starring young actor Siddhu Jonnalagadda and Neha Shetty in the lead also did average business.
Leading actor Ravi Teja starrer ‘Khiladi’ turned out to be a flop. Released theatrically along with a Hindi dubbed version on February 11 this movie, written and directed by Ramesh Varma, could gross Rs 230 million worldwide though the film’s budget was estimated to be Rs 400 million.
Industry analysts say poor script is the main reason for many Telugu films bombing at the box office after the grand success of ‘Pushpa’. “The strength of the script makes a film successful. If somebody comes with a loose script and uninteresting script, automatically the film flops. No matter how big a star is and how good a director is, it all depends on the strength of the script. Nobody can save a film if the script is poor,” says film analyst Prabhu.
He believes that a film can succeed only if the script makes the audience sit in theatres without losing their attention.
The film critic, however, adds that a subject a filmmaker chooses is not the entire story. “Whatever line you take, it needs to have some interesting scenes. 10-15 interesting scenes elevate a movie. Lack of strength in the scenes is the main cause of failure. There are no other reasons because the filmmaking standards are very high, wonderful and far ahead,” he opined.
The expert says one can’t blame artists for a film’s failure as all stars are proven artists. It all depends on the script and character an artist gets.
“We can’t blame artists. Actor is like water which takes the shape of a vessel. It all depends on the capability of the director, how best he moulds the character and how best he creates interest in the character,” he said.
According to Prabhu, even ‘Pushpa’ did not have a great script but the way Allu Arjun inculcated the strength, the density of character, a rough and tough wild character and his mannerism helped. “This film has highlighted the smuggler’s character and glorified it. This shows the film does well even if the bad character is portrayed in an intensive and interesting manner,” he added.