Sunday, January 07, 2007

Trisha too sexy in Don

It is official now that Trisha is not going to act with Nagarjuna' in his soon-to-be launched Don. She was earlier signed on the film but now the makers are on the look out for another heroine to replace her. Producer M. L.Kumar Chowdhary has confirmed that Trisha is not doing the film. Says Chowdhary: "We are still on the look out for a heroine. We are considering Mamta Mohandas but nothing has been finalized." Trisha has been made the scapegoat for the colossal failure of Sainikudu. Added to this, her other release in 2006, Pournami was also a disaster. Though Stalin was above average, it did not help her to improve her ratings. When contacted Trisha said: “ I tried my best to adjust my dates for Don.
Unfortunately, I am not in a position to give immediate dates due to my prior commitments. I am doing Adavari Matalaki Arthalu Verule with Venky, till the end of the month." She added: " My Bheema with Vikram is starting again by the end of the month. Then there is Kireedam in Tamil with Ajit. I am getting a lot of offers from Telugu and Tamil but will take a call on it only after I complete my present films by March end.” Trisha immediately needs to reinvent herself to be in the race. We are sure that this talented actress will make a strong come back with Adavari Matalaki Arthalu Verule which insiders say is shaping out superbly. The film is sure to make her bounce back.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Birthday celebrations start negative gossips!

It looks as if NTR is getting ready to move on with life and put an end to all his gossips with Sameera Reddy.

Trouble began when news started to leak that the actress had celebrated her birthday with her friends this year. Last year, both Sameera and NTR were working together in one of their two films. It therefore came as no surprise that the two celebrated her birthday with each other.

This time around, NTR was busy with Rakhi and Sameera had her projects in Bollywood. Both have drastically cut down their public appearances together. This has sparked off rumors that the two are drifting apart.

The year 2007 looks promising for NTR with the success of Rakhi. The film has had a phenomenal opening and is expected to rake in big bucks at the box office.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A few hits and many flops

There is reason to say cheers. 2006 started with a super hit and ended with a commercial success. The year saw some hits, super hits and many flops. Still there is a reason to celebrate as the success ratio is better than the previous year, which was dominated by dubbed films from Tamil.

Of course, the number of original films also came down compared to 2005. While there were 134original Telugu releases in 2005, the number came down to 110 in 2006. There was a natural spurt in dubbed films, 88 to be precise but barring a couple of them, most went into oblivion. The Telugu industry witnessed an impressive 198 releases in 2006.

The winners

The audience voted for entertainment across all genres — action, romance, emotional dramas, family entertainers and comedies. Y.V.S. Chowdary set the ball rolling with his super hit love story Devadasu, which had newcomers Ram and Ileana. Both the actors are much sought after today.

Family themes found their way back to the box office. For instance, Narayana's super hit Andala Ramudu with Sunil and Aarti Agarwal. And the biggest hit among the family fare is debut director Bhaskar's Bommarillu produced by `Dil' Raju. Starring Siddharth, Prakash Raj and Genelia, the film made with half the budget of Pokiri competed neck-and-neck with that runaway hit for the top slot.

Venkatesh and Nayantara in `Lakshmee'

That brings us to action flicks, still considered a safe bet by many producers. Puri Jagannath rewrote 75 years of Telugu talkies' box office records with the Mahesh-Ileana starrer, Pokiri, reported to have raked in Rs. 40 crore. V.V. Vinayak's Lakshmee with Venkatesh and Nayantara in the lead was a super hit too. The other hits in this category are choreographer-turned-film-maker Rajasekhar's Ranam with Gopichand, S.S. Rajamouli's Vikramarkudu with Raviteja in a double role.

K. Raghavendra Rao's socio-mythological Sri Ramadasu won kudos for its lead star Nagarjuna and earned back its investment. Chiranjeevi proved for the umpteenth time with Stalin that he is still a big draw at the BO. The other hits include comedies like E.V.V. Satyanarayana's Kithakithalu, Nidhi Prasad's Bhagyalakshmi Bumper Draw, Srinivas Reddy's Tata Birla Madhyalo Laila besides Lawrence's Style, Ravi C. Kumar's Samanyudu, Chandu's Tenth Class and Madan's Pellaina Kothalo... Released on December 23, Krishnavamsi's Rakhi starring Chinna N.T.R and Ileana is also expected to rake in moderate profits, according to initial trade reports.

The losers

Ironically, the biggest winner is also the biggest loser of the year. Mahesh who starred in the big hit Pokiri had to sign off the year with a Rs. 25 crore budget flop, Sainikudu. Most other heroes followed suit. Nagarjuna with one grosser (Sri Ramadasu) and one flop — Boss, Vikramarkudu hero Raviteja had to contend with two flops - Shock and Khatarnak. Siddharth too fared similarly with one failure (Chukkallo Chandrudu) and one hit (Bommarillu). Gopichand had one hit and one flop (Raraju). Balakrishna, Prabhas and Allu Arjun drew a blank at the BO. Pawan Kalyan's Bangaram too failed to impress while he is pinning hopes on Annavaram releasing today.

Nagarjuna in `Sri Ramadasu'

A producer commented that our A centres have gone to the US. How true. While Bommarillu grossed nearly Rs. 3.5 crore, Pokiri made over two and half crore. Even a film like Godavari, which did not do well locally, collected over one crore rupees overseas. No wonder that Aswini Dutt preferred a premier of Sainikudu in the US.

But are we able to tap the overseas markets fully? There are other markets too today apart from the satellite channels, the Internet, ring tones and clippings on mobile phones. The need of the hour is quality content.

Genelia and Siddharth in `Bommarillu'.

All said and done, the year is not as bad as 2005. It is time to celebrate as we march on to the New Year.

* * *

A still from `Vikramarkudu'.

Box office ratings (approx) in crores

Film BudgetGross

Devadasu 7 14

Lakshmee 12 20

Andala Ramudu 4 12

Pokiri 12 38-40

Bommarillu 6 25

Vikramarkudu 10 16

Stalin 16 30

Sri Ramadasu 12 12


The most entertaining part of watching Annavaram is the Desamuduru trailer in the interval. Now there is a movie to watch out for. For the benefit of those who came in late, Allu Arjun is one heck of an actor. Then there’s Puri Jagannath as helmer. In a season of disappointments, it appears like a silver lining.

Annavaram appears rather pointless - the first half and the second half are completely disconnected, with no strong binding theme. It almost looks like a decision to change the plot midway as the film was being made. Combine it with poor comedy, no romance and excessive gore, and you have yet another film that just makes up the numbers.

Annavaram (Pavan Kalyan) lives in a village with his sister Varam (Sandhya), who he dotes on. He gets her married to a Hyderabad-based groom (Siva Balaji), and on one visit there with his close friend Narasimha (Venu Madhav), the latter is killed in by a bunch of goons headed by Ganga (Lal), when he tries to save the life of a man they are about to kill in public.

The second half then has Annavaram taking revenge for Narasimha’s death, by wiping out all the goons in Hyderabad single-handedly. Pretty similar to Rakhi that released last week, but Rakhi had a uniform theme. There is also a romance thread with Aishwarya (Asin), which you’ll miss if you are not attentive.

The first half of Annavaram doesn’t have a single fight, and is completely senti - the love of Annavaram for his sister. The second half doesn’t have a single scene with the brother and sister together, and is completely gore - limbs getting chopped off, rivers of blood, 21 deaths in one fight… you get the idea. This is one of the problems - it's not great story-telling, it just looks like 2 formulas for audiences with 2 different kinds of tastes, clearly segregated.

The almost complete lack of mush does its bit, too. All of Pavan Kalyan’s hits have been in films with strong roles for the leading ladies - even if he’s he-man, there’s a vivacious romance with a girl he’s trying to impress. People still remember Khushi as much for Bhumika as for him. This one has purely testestorone in its veins - Asin comes on screen about 30 seconds before every song, and is completely wasted.

Annavaram is not likely to impress the men due to all the senti in the first half with no romance or comedy (whatever jokes are built in are sad, the prime example being Tanikella Bharani in the Police conference room), and the women are likely stay away due to all the violence in the second. Plus, this one clocks 180 minutes.

Pavan Kalyan does what he does. Sandhya as the sister is good - actually everyone else is good, even Telangana Sakuntala in her brief role. Venu Madhav perhaps has a greater acting range than several heroes - he’s quite good, as usual. The songs are all average numbers though the picturization of one with Pavan speaking in Hyderabadi Hindi and Ali in a special appearance is good.

Annavaram is worth a look at if you really need to watch a film - there aren’t too many good ones in Telugu out there this holiday season.