Tollywood draws blank at Goa festival

Despite ranking second in the country, next only to Bollywood, the Telugu film industry has drawn a blank at the Indian Panorama section at the 43rd International Film Festival of India in Goa.

 For an industry that brought laurels to the country by producing some of the finest movie artistes and directors, not having a single Telugu movie in the list of 18 for the all-important Indian Panorama section has been a huge disappointment to the bigwigs of
Tollywood.

“Such ill-treatment to the Telugu film industry is nothing new. They have been doing it for several years now,” lamented veteran producer D Ramanaidu. He pointed out that Tollywood had always been in the forefront, not just in the number of films produced, but in technical excellence too.

According to the Central Board of Film Certification, the Telugu film industry had churned out 192 films in 2011 compared to 206 Hindi films. This was followed by Tamil film industry with 185 films.

Tollywood watchers attribute the lack of representation to the poor quality of movies being churned out by the industry. “We have only ourselves to blame. Look at the quality of movies being made. Do you think they deserve to be showcased at an international event?” asked producer-director T Bharadwaj. As long as the industry is in the grip of a handful of influential families, there is no scope for nurturing creativity or experimentation, he said.

Even a cursory look at the list of latest movies will show that they are terribly clichéd and formula-based, designed to enhance star appeal of the heroes whose families essentially control the levers of power in the industry. On the treatment of women characters, the less said the better. At best, the leading ladies come across as glamour dolls. “Unlike Malayalam and Tamil, there is no experimentation in Telugu movies. The vicious grip of the established players makes it impossible for new talent to emerge,” said film critic N Veerababu.Regional films in Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil have found a place in the Indian Panorama section where the best of the country’s films will be showcased to the international audience.

As many as nine Telugu movies were sent to the central committee for scrutiny. “While some of them had a routine theme, the others lacked the technical quality to make the grade because films from other languages were simply better,” said P K Manvi, a producer-director from Hyderabad who is part of the jury.

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