Desperately seeking heroines
Though more than 30 ladies have made their T-town debut in recent times, none have managed to impress. There is thus a big void as far as leading ladies are concerned and producers and superstars are a worried lot.
The producers are ready with scripts, directors and the technical crew but without lead actresses their projects are going nowhere. While some have been forced to repeat actresses or have managed to find new girls, more than 12 to 15 big ticket entertainers have been deferred due to lack of the “glam quotient”.
The problem wouldn’t have taken such a proportion if the stars did one film a year like in the past. But now with stars like Venkatesh, Nagarjuna, Mahesh Babu, Jr NTR, Ram Charan Tej, Allu Arjun, Naga Chaitanya signing two or three films every year, T-town dream merchants are rushing from pillar to post, looking for leading ladies to star opposite the heroes.
“No doubt we need more actresses for a wider choice; scripts demand a particular actress but we are left with limited choices,” says actor Venkatesh.
Mahesh Babu had to repeat Samanta in Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu, just months after their romantic act in the blockbuster Dhookudu.
“The hit pairing was not meant to be repeated. She suits the role but I am also open to work with a new girl if the script demands” he had said.
Similarly, Ram Charan Tej claims that he is sharing screen space with Kaajal in his next film with director Vinayak, not to recreate the magic of Magadheera, but because she fits the bill.
“Why should we come together for the sake of it?” he says while admitting that T-town is facing an acute shortage of actresses. “That’s a hard reality and we have to find a way out. I am working with a newcomer, Amy Jackson, and upcoming actress Amala Paul since the scripts justified them,” he adds.
While, Allu Arjun liked scripts narrated by directors like Selva Raghavan and Surender Reddy and is keen to work with Puri Jagannath and Sampath Nandi, shooting can’t start because of lack of actresses. “There are just four or five actresses and he has worked with most of them,” says Bunny Vasu, producer.
Adding a new dimension, Naga Chaitanya said that Gen X stars are usually between 23 and 28 years of age and there are only a few actresses who suit that age group. “Our age narrows down the choices further, so we need to have a pool of talented, pretty girls to enable us to do more films,” he says.
Summing up the trend, director Veeru Potla, says repetitions are inevitable. “B-town models look hot but lack acting skills. But if the role demands performance and good looks, we have to repeat established names and they are already busy, forcing filmmakers to defer their projects,” he says.