Halfway through 2018 and most of the output from the Telugu film industry has been a disappointment. Stuck in the routine of pandering to the masses for better returns at the box office, Telugu filmmakers have hardly tried to make a movie for the sake of cinematic integrity.
The year began with Tollywood star Pawan Kalyan’s Agnyaathavaasi. It was bad to the point where even the hardcore fans of the star would find it really embarrassing to defend it. Not to mention that the mess it got into for allegedly being a rip off of the French film Largo Finch. It was not something we expect from a writer of Trivikram Srinivas’s caliber.
It was followed by Bhaagamathie starring Anushka Shetty. A horror thriller solely made on the ‘scream-queen’ image of its lead actor, thanks to her runaway hit Arundhati (2009). Irrespective of what the box office numbers say, it was a movie let down by bad writing and execution. And we saw routine no-brainers from Balakrishna (Jai Simha), Ravi Teja ( Touch Chesi Chudu, Nela Ticket), Kalyan Ram (MLA, Naa Nuvve) and Sai Dharam Tej (Inttelligent, Jawaan).
We were just warming up to more disappointments from the biggest stars of the Telugu film industry. Nani’s Krishnarjuna Yuddham, Mahesh Babu’s Bharat Ane Nenu and Allu Arjun’s Naa Peru Surya Naa Illu India were all the usual hero-worshipping films that one forgets right after stepping out of the cinema halls. How can we forget Ram Gopal Varma’s Officer? This film is so bad that it makes Agnyaathavaasi look like a work of genius.
Debutant director Venky Atluri’s Tholi Prema, starring Varun Tej and Raashi Khanna, was a case of old wine in new bottle. After seeing a steady stream of bad movies, it came as a breath of fresh air. Recently released Sammohanam also falls in the same category. However, they were not the best of the lot.
Here is the list of best Telugu movies of 2018 so far
Directed by ace-filmmaker Sukumar, the story is set in the fictional village of Rangasthalam (Stage). It won’t be wrong to say this film redefined the onscreen image of Ram Charan Teja, who played the unglamorous role of a villager with hearing impairment.
Debutant director Prasanth Varma apparently wrote this film in a fit of disappointment after his project was dropped by the producers. He wanted to write a simple film that can be shot within a budget of Rs 5 lakh which he can manage from his own pockets. But, the film got made on a bigger scale when Nani came on board as its producer. Awe was a director’s canvas and a triumph of honest storytelling and writing.
Director Ashwin Nag’s biopic on the life of legendary actor Savitri was one of the best dramas to come out of the south Indian film industry. The black-and-white tale of Savitri’s rise and fall were beautifully narrated through the camera, music, costumes and set pieces. The lead actors Dulquer Salmaan, Keerthy Suresh and Samantha Akkineni make the movie-watching experience a pleasant one with their performances.
The recently released buddy comedy is the second feature film of Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam, who previously surprised everyone with a romantic comedy called Pelli Choopulu (2016). While the film may not live up to what we have come to expect of Tharun, it gave the audience a much-needed break, who have been subjected to a nonstop flow of brain-dead films.