Race for Tollywood top slot hots up

Race for Tollywood top slot hots up

It’s going to get hotter this summer. Tollywood’s top stars will be vying for the No. 1 position in the multi-crore industry, which is drawing up a sophisticated system to figure out who is numero uno.

No, the trade pundits will not go by the figures that are doled out in gimmickry indulged by overenthusiastic producers desperate to promote their films. They will also not be influenced by the size of the cutouts of the heroes at the theatres, the number of garlands flung around their necks or how loud the drum beats are when the films get released. According to trade sources, the film industry will take recourse to the law of averages to figure out who is the biggest of them all. The figures to be looked at will be the collections at the box-office this summer of the heroes whose films are being released, and of their last three to four films. At least Rs 200 crore is at stake this summer with 10-12 big films planned for release.

“The averages are important for the industry and it will help decide how much money can be invested in each hero’s film. The question of who is the biggest of them will also be decided through these averages,” said Telangana Film Chamber of Commerce president M Vijayendar Reddy.

Ram Charan Tej-starrer ‘Racha’ is slated for a grand release in a huge number of theatres. Reports say that the film will be released in 700 theatres in Andhra Pradesh and a total of 900 theatres worldwide. The performance of ‘Racha’ at the box office is hugely important for Ram Charan as his last film ‘Orange’ was a flop. It is learnt the film’s producer, his uncle Nagendra Babu lost a few crores in the film. However, Ram Charan’s earlier film ‘Magadheera’ was a huge hit having had record collections pushing Ram Charan on to the top position. His debut film ‘Chiruta’ had a disappointing run.

Competition to Ram Charan will come from NTR Jr whose film ‘Dammu’ will be released after ‘Racha’. Both Ram Charan and NTR Jr may have displayed camaraderie recently at the audio release of ‘Dammu’ but at the box office, it will be tough competition between them. Though NTR Jr’s last film ‘Oosaravelli’ had an average run, his earlier film ‘Shakti’ disappointed. However, ‘Brindavanam’ that preceded had a good run.

Balakrishna’s ‘Adhinayakudu’ is also slated for release this summer and he would also be looking to establish his lead. Though his film ‘Simha’ was a huge hit, ‘Param Veera Chakra’ that followed it was a flop and ‘Sri Ramarajyam’ had a decent run.

Someone who would desperately try to be in the reckoning, if not on the top, is Pawan Kalyan whose film ‘Gabbar Singh’, a remake of Salman Khan-starrer ‘Dabangg’ will be released this summer. The actor’s three previous releases ‘Puli’, ‘Teen Maar’ and ‘Panjaa’ hardly made their presence felt at the box office. Even Nagarjuna’s ‘Ragada’, ‘Gaganam’ and ‘Rajanna’ did not create a buzz, so he would be trying to get back his lost glory. Venkatesh with the choice of his film, will continue to be a bankable star for his producers, even if he does not compete for the top position.

Having delivered two hit films back-to-back, Mahesh Babu may look to be on the top but trade pundits are not going just by his last two films to declare that he is No. 1. Though ‘Businessman’ and ‘Dookudu’ were major hits, his previous film ‘Khaleja’ was a flop.

Sources, however, said that in terms of collections so far there has been no parallel to ‘Magadheera’ which is why ‘Racha’ which will be released this Thursday will be important.

Will these big heroes be as big as they are being projected to be or will the ‘fly’ literally flies away with the top honours? Noted director S S Rajamouli’s ‘Eega’ with graphics have created quite a buzz though there are no big heroes in it.

“What we want is the film to run and bring in revenues. Big heroes also disappoint. The summer looks bright. Call it a big film or a small film but the industry looks for movies that catch the fascination of the audience,” said S V V Subramanyam, former chairman, exhibitors sector, A P Film Chamber of Commerce.