May 15, 2012 Y. Sunita Chowdhary
Have you ever wondered what the fate of Dhee would be without Srihari and Brahmanandam, Pokiri without Ali, Dookudu without MS Narayana and Brahmanandam or for that matter the recent release Gabbar Singh without the group of little known artistes in the Antakshari scene who have contributed majorly to the success of the film? Minus these comedians or supporting actors from the film, it falls flat.
The truth about contemporary Telugu cinema is that it is a collection of comedy trailers. A star does not need a story, all that is imperative is a few good comedy scenes. They want that much and that is enough for them. The comedians are characters in the film industry and their comedy is a used by the stars to settle scores with people. We have them blatantly throwing satires and challenges on their respective families and legacy.
Earlier there was something called the interval twist but now the key elements that are touted to give a kick are the punch dialogues. This has the star's sidekick imitating their rivals irrespective of the content and it's connection to the story. The personal vengeance is carried to the cinema and fans on either sides love it and wait for a chance to settle scores.
The heroes have a star value, attraction, fan following, they get the people to the theatre but on their own they can't bring out comedy (Businessman is a rare case where the hero generates his own laugh lines) so they use padding and they have now become the life of Telugu cinema.
Directors have stopped making movies for the mind and heart that makes one think and feel, they are focussing only on the ears and eyes. The audience wants instant gratification, did you laugh or not is the criteria, this is what is cinema today. The directors who deliver such successful films might get instantly popular but they are like the passing cloud, they might give instant hits but they will not be remembered as people who rewrote history.
These directors aren't people who pass a baton to the next generation. The sorry part is that we don't need to keep it as history..remembering trivia. After a year people are sure to forget the songs, the title, the cast and crew too. The bottomline for Telugu cinema is if you want to churn out a story for a star, take a comedy or throw a satire at a popular face, it will work!