Updated: August 2, 2021 2:45:23 pm
The stakeholders in the Telugu film industry were worried when the producers of Allu Arjun’s Ala Vaikunthapuramulo and Mahesh Babu‘s Sarileru Neekevvaru decided to release their films on the same day. Both the films were set to hit the screens on January 12, 2020, to cash in on the Sankranti holiday, as that would have guaranteed in more footfall at the theatres. The producers and distributors knew that these films would eat into each other’s opening day collection and neither the stars or the distribution chain could afford it.
The Telugu producers guild immediately swung into action and brokered a compromise between the makers of Ala Vaikunthapuramulo and Sarileru Neekevvaru. According to the compromise, Mahesh Babu’s film hit the screens on January 11, while Allu Arjun’s film released the next day, thus guaranteeing an uncontested opening day for both the releases.
However, for next Sankranti, the distributors and producers are under tremendous pressure again as there might be a face-off between Prabhas, Pawan Kalyan and Mahesh Babu as each star has their film lined up for the festive holiday.
If it were not for the second wave of coronavirus, Prabhas‘ new romantic drama Radhe Shyam would have opened in cinemas July 30. The pandemic delayed the shooting, which was finally only completed on July 29. The producers didn’t waste time in announcing that the film would release in theatres for the Sankranti holiday.
Radhe Shyam, which is set in exotic European locales, is Prabhas’s first romantic film in over a decade. Fans’s excitement is palpable as his last role in the genre was in Mr Perfect, which released in 2011. Adding further fuel to the anticipation is the fact that Radhe Shyam will release across the country in multiple languages, as Prabhas is a ‘pan-Indian’ star, owing to the staggering success of his Baahubali franchise. Baahubali: The Conclusion had collected Rs 1000 crore in just 10 days of its release, signifying the star’s overpowering clout.
Prabhas’ current national standing is likely to add pressure on the producers of other star films, which are also slated for Sankranti release. Before Prabhas, Mahesh Babu had already announced that his upcoming movie Sarkaru Vaari Paata will open in cinemas for the same festival. And later Pawan Kalyan also joined the Sankranti race with his upcoming untitled movie, which is the official remake of Malayalam hit Ayyappanum Koshiyum.
In addition, there is competition from the neighbouring state Tamil Nadu as Vijay’s Beast is also getting ready to hit the screens for Pongal. While the Vijay film may not be a much of a challenge for the stars in the Telugu states, it is formidable competition in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and certain pockets of North India, where Vijay has a huge fan following.
It is a nightmarish situation for all the stakeholders in the value chain. The competition at the box office is likely to turn cut-throat and shrink the breathing space for all films in the Telugu states, creating an atmosphere where a film could either survive or fail, but unlikely to thrive.
The logic dictates that one of these three blockbusters has to pull out of the race, creating a breathing space for the other two films. It is a battle of nerves and it remains to be seen who blinks first. Otherwise, next Sankranti will see a bloodbath at the box office in Tollywood.
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