The summer of 2018 will be remembered as one of the best years for Telugu films as the industry delivered four back-to-back blockbusters. Films such as Rangasthalam, Bharat Ane Nenu and Naa Peru Surya, despite being star-studded commercial vehicles, did wonders at the box-office, thanks to their content that appealed to critics and audiences alike. If there’s one thing that’s common between these films, it is that they placed a good story ahead of star power which is a rarity in Tollywood.
Ram Charan’s Rangasthalam, a revenge-based drama set in the 1980s, gave the perfect start to the summer season. The Sukumar-directed film minted over Rs 200 crore worldwide, emerging as the third-biggest grossing Telugu film after the Baahubali franchise. It was the first Rs 200 crore grosser in Ram Charan’s career. The phenomenal success of Rangasthalam laid the perfect path for other summer releases such as Mahesh Babu’s Bharat Ane Nenu and Allu Arjun’s Naa Peru Surya.
According to trade analyst Trinath, the success of Rangasthalam was very crucial from the industry’s perspective. “The success of Rangasthalam gave the industry a lot of confidence to bet big on the subsequent releases. Had the film failed, it would’ve severely affected Bharat Ane Nenu and Naa Peru Surya.” Actor Allu Arjun recently said the success of Rangasthalam brought the industry out of a deep slump. “The success of Rangasthalam brought the industry out of slump. It brought a positive mood in the buyers.” Similarly, Pawan Kalyan at the film’s success meet said Rangasthalam deserved to be sent to the Oscars. “Rangasthalam is the story of our soil. It needs to be promoted on international level. It deserves the same kind of support that we gave Baahubali.”
Rangasthalam earned rave reviews from all quarters. Megastar Chiranjeevi lauded the vision of Sukumar for giving audiences an authentic rural film. Director Sukumar, who was quite confident about the film, said the extraordinary success was unexpected. “We were sure the film would be well received. However, we didn’t expect it to set new records. I didn’t expect this kind of success,” he told Firstpost.
Mahesh Babu’s political thriller Bharat Ane Nenu was the second major Telugu release this summer. Directed by Koratala Siva, the film recently breached into the Rs 200 crore club, giving Mahesh Babu a much needed hit in two years.
At the thank you meet of the film in April, Mahesh thanked director Siva Koratala for giving him a blockbuster when needed the most. “The success of Srimanthudu came after a lull in my career. Similarly, the success of Bharat Ane Nenu has come at a crucial time.” He further added: “The last two years were emotionally draining and stressful. I don’t know how to react, but I’m really relieved and happy with this success. The tension of disappointing my fans over the last two years haunted me. Even though I knew deep down we had made a good film, I wanted audiences to watch and decide.”
Despite being a political film, which usually gets embroiled in controversies, Trinath said it is amazing Bharat Ane Nenu worked wonders at the ticket window. “Even though it dealt with politics and political leaders, it didn’t rub people the wrong way. Its hard-hitting portrayal of politics was extremely well received all over.”
Allu Arjun’s Naa Peru Surya was the hat-trick success the industry needed. Playing a hot-headed solider with anger management issues, Arjun’s performance in the film clicked with the masses. Having already grossed over Rs 100 crore, the film is having a good run at the cinemas. Buoyed by the success, director Vakkantham Vamsi told Firstpost: “This success means a lot to me. We are pleased not just with the numbers but with the overall positive response. I’m happy we made a film that moved people patriotically, and at the same time entertained as a commercial film.”
The success of Rangasthalam, Bharat Ane Nenu and Naa Peru Surya didn’t surprise people as much as the success of Mahanati. Being a biopic, a rarely-explored genre in Tollywood, it’s an accomplishment that the film stirred up a box-office storm. In its opening weekend, the film grossed over Rs 20 crore worldwide, leaving the industry in awe.
In the US, the film has already grossed over $1.5 million and still counting. Sandeep of Nirvana Cinemas, the overseas distributor of the film, is hopeful the film will mint over $2.5 million in its entire run in the US. “We were confident the film will do well. Lately, if you look at films that have done well in the US, they’ve all been good content-wise. Even Rangasthalam worked because of content. Be it Pellichoopulu, Arjun Reddy or Awe, well made content-rich films are being welcomed big time in the US. Mahanati is the latest addition to that list,” Sandeep told Firstpost.
Updated Date: May 16, 2018 09:01 AM