Tollywood Heroes in 2015 : Recap !!
Tollywood is the most crowded film industry in the country with many large and mid-market size heroes with potential of raking in atleast Rs.10 crores to Rs.150 crores between themselves.
How was the year 2015 for each of these heroes? A glance at the potluck for Tollywood’s most-loved heroes. We go back from now to the beginning of the year to take stock of the year’s hits and misses.
One of the ageing heroes of Tollywood. An actor with terrific sense of dance and comic timing. The year has seen two films release within a span of 120 days. “Bengal Tiger” came after much postponement for accomodating other friends’ films. Gave relief to the audience craving to see a formula fare presented differently by Sampath Nandi. But “Kick-2” couldn’t deliver and disappointed everybody including producer Nandamuri Kalyanram and his brother NTR Jr who chipped in. “Kick-2” was nowhere close to the magic of “Kick” which catapulted Ravi Teja to a superstar status.
Son of famous director late T.Krishna, Gopichand has a niche in action films but of late, he has been mixing comedy fare with family sentiment. After a roaring hit last year “Loukyam”, he returned in December with “Soukhyam”. It was the most routine formula films told unimaginatively. Usually clever at story selection, Gopichand’s “Soukhyam” tread the beaten path.
One of the uber cool heroes of Tollywood with mannerisms that combine those of Pawan Kalyan and Mahesh, Ram has had two releases this year. Though both of them has nothing original in them, the box-office was kinder to release no.1 distributed by Dil Raju – “Pandaga Chesko”. A romcom family comedy it became a sleeper hit due to songs and the family drama. Release no.2 “Shivam” however flopped big time because of the repetitive fare and the stereotypes used in Ram’s films so far.
One of the less frequently seen next-gen heroes of NTR clan, Kalyanram has had a roaring hit in the first half – “Pataas” with first-time director. The film became a thumping hit at the box-office re-establishing his contention to be counted among mass heroes who are here to stay. He then became busy with home productions – “Kick-2” which flopped and “DVS Karna”- a remake of the classic with children including his late brother Janakiram’s son. It sank without a trace. His subsequent release “Sher” also flopped with talk of another routine film. On the whole, 2015 proved to be an eventful year for Kalyanram with one hit and several flops and lessons as a producer.
After the mega success of “Manam” and the flop of “Laila Kosam”, Naga Chaitanya has had just one release in 2015 – an offbeat thriller called “Docheyy”. The movie got rave reviews for the different treatment but failed to click at the box-office despite all the slickness and novelty. For all his fans, the bets are on his next film with Gautam Menon “Sahasame Swaasaga Sagipo” awaiting release next year.
Undoubtedly, the most ambitiously launched superstar son of a cool star Nagarjuna. With wishes and testimonials pouring in from stars like Kamal Hassan to Amitabh Bachchan and Superstar Mahesh blessing the audio function in person, Akhil had the grandest debut launch for his first film “Akhil”. The movie had great songs, adventure and bits of comedy but was far too complicated for a debut launch of a star son. It failed to enthuse the Nag fans and the film is now canned as an embarrassment despite Akhil’s acting and dancing skills getting noticed.
One of the respected actors of the new-gen, Sarvanand has been selective in scripts. After the mega success of “Run Raja Run” last year, he came back with a decent strike at box-office with “Malli Malli Idi Raani Roju” an unconventionally shot love story of two mature individuals. The movie tug at the hearts of many young and old lovers and had Nithya Menen as the lover girl. All eyes are now on Sarvanand’s next movie “Express Raja” whose teasers are already creating waves.
The “outsider” who commands the highest mindshare among non-dynastic heroes, Nani proved his mettle once again with an impeccable love story with a comi touch – “Bhale Bhale Magadivoi” released from the prestigous banner of Geeta Arts. The movie created an epic buzz in between blockbuster success of Prabhas and Mahesh and became a great family entertainer which got competed for multi-lingual bidding rights. It established Nani once again as the common man’s Superstar – the one without airs and ego.
One of the most promising stars to appear from the Mega family, Varun Tej has the looks, the machismo and the talent to surprise you. He has had a golden year in 2015. “Kanche” a remarkable film shot in the backdrop of World War II became the talk of the town and a decent hit winning plaudits for Varun’s fresh looks and excellent chemistry with another debutante Pragyna Jaiswal. It showed the grit and determination of Varun Tej to offer different films to his swelling fan base. His second film, however, proved no different from mass hero films – ‘Loafer” by Puri Jagannath and met with dull response from the masses who were expecting another classy film from the new-age star.
One of the popular heroes from the camp of the mega family, he is already three films old and is on a signing spree with Dil Raju as the producer. Their latest film “Subramanyam for Sale” became a sleeper hit in the festive season with neat comedy and good songs. Observers and masses feel Sai has the rustic looks and the ability to strike gold on long-term basis at the box-office. Of course, Sai was also spotted as the soldier who first recognises Bahubali’s lineage in the epic film of the year “Bahubali”. Technically, if that can be counted as the second film!
One of the next-gen heroes who has been trying to do different cinema in Tollywood and care an image for himself in Bollywood, Rana Daggubati has kept his date with destiny in two historical films – “Bahubali” and “Rudramadevi”. Whether he played as the ferocious villain Bhallala Deva in “Bahubali” or the gentle lover to Anushka in “Rudramadevi”, Rana’s characterisation stood out and won him accolades all over. The future looks brighter for Rana to test different genres after getting such popular characters in epic films.. While “Bahubali” created history, “Rudramadevi” was noted for its story and beauty and Rana’s character provided the romantic break to a rather serious story.
The Big Ten
From the beginning of the year itself, Ram Charan created a buzz with first preparations on megastar Chiranjeevi’s 60th birthday and the plans for his dad’s 150th film. In due course, the ambitious “Brucelee” was announced with Sreenu Vaitla. The movie had exotic songs set to enchanting tunes by SS Thaman but the the movie failed to create a great impact on the box-office. It raised stupendous expectations but failed to deliver them despite the movie sailing through with decent collections. Ramcharan drew lot of criticism for the story selection and the director choice for “BruceLee” but this is one film will be remembered for a few things even if the movie flopped – music by Thaman and the fact that the high-budget movie got completed in record 6 months which is a rarity in Tollywood for big-budget heroes.
For Allu Arjun, 2015 is a year which saw two releases with an even gap between them. One was “S/o Satyamurty” by Trivikram Srinivas which was a good hit but failed to collect the way “Race Gurram” did. The other film that got him a raving fan applause was his cameo of 21 minutes in “Rudramadevi” as Gona Ganga Reddy. If the film had a decent run at the box-office, credit goes to Allu Arjun for sizzling the screen with his unconventional histrionics and a memorable characterisation that became the talk of Telangana.
NTR Jr :
For NTR, 2015 will be remembered for two things: “Temper” which gave him the much-needed attention to get back into the reckoning for Superstar status in Tollywood and the teaser and trailer for his upcoming movie “Naannaku Prematho”. With an excellent screen presence, crystal-clear pronunciation and a face that oozes charishma, NTR has proved once again that he is a long-distance horse with “Temper”. The upcoming movie for Sankranti will once again emphasise his continuing relevance at the box-office amongst the senior heroes.
The star with a victory sign started the New Year with a Sankranti bang “Gopala Gopala” acting in a multi-starrer – which is becoming a habit for him. (He did it with Srikanth, Ram and Mahesh Babu in the past). This remake of “Oh My God” created all the right noise at the box-office but for the rest of the year, Venkatesh hasn’t got a film. His latest movie with director Maruti might re-invent his career for the new gen audience.
The cool Yuvasamrat has been busy in 2015 with more than a handful of projects. Overseeing the debut launch of his second son Akhil on one side and leading the game show of “Meelo Evaru Koteswarudu”, Nag has barely found time for expediting his own projects. “Soggade Chinni Nayana” is likely to be a much-awaited movie in which Nag plays a dual role – and if the bets have it, it has been a long time Nag film is releasing for Sankranti in many many years. Of course, for the fans, Nag didn’t disappoint them in 2015. He was seen shaking a leg with son Akhil and his debutante heroine in “Akhil”. That made the year a special one for Nag in which both his sons and himself starred in a film in one way or the other.
For Balayya fans, the year is a disappointment. “Lion” the film with much-hyped visuals did not roar. But the aging matinee idol continues to make a statement with bold actions. His upcoming movie for Sankranti clash with NTR’s “Naannaku Prematho” became the first film to release the audio at Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh. “Dictator” is going to be one of the most-awaited mass films of 2016.
For power star, staying in the news has never been difficult. Luckily, he started the year with a Godly appearance in “Gopala Gopala” which became a feast for his fans who swoon over his hysterical screen presence, however brief. The movie elevated PK to a godly image whose presence can make or mar a film’s fortunes. All eyes are on him for his next film “Sardar” which is a sequel to “Gabbar Singh”. Of course, fans would also like to have Pawan Kalyan’s views on anything that catches political fire but for the moment, PK is keen to finish film projects at hand.
For the Superstar, 2015 returned loads of luck and name despite initial hiccups on the timing of “Srimanthudu” release. The movie was postponed a couple of times, but the wait was worth it because it re-created magic for Mahesh again at the BO. “Srimanthudu” became a phenomenon both in the filmy circuits but also raised a spectre of hope for the masses to expect altruistic help from billionaires and politicians. It created a wave of “adoption” from politicians and stars. But for Mahesh, 2015 gave him his mojo back as he experienced the sweet spot of success.
Tollywood’s highest paid star for 2015 was Prabhas with a remuneration of Rs.25 crores+ for the complete “Bahubali in two parts. More than that, Prabhas deserves mention for blocking his calendar for three years for the full schedule of India’s biggest blockbuster. 2015 must be seen as “Bahubali” year for Tollywood and for Prabhas, the year brought him closer to epic stardom both in the Telugu lands as well as nationwide. That he bagged brand endorsements for a few national brands like Mahindra SUV speak of the impact “Bahubali” and its main title character created for Prabhas.
The surprise packet for 2015 has been the cameo appearance of the Megastar in his son’s film “Brucelee”. It was a simple action scene but the fans went hysterical for the magic of Chiru as long as it lasted on the screen. All eyes now on the Megastar’s 150 th film.
That makes Tollywood a mixed bag for our top heroes. Of course, the list of heroes keeps getting longer in Tollywood from Sudheer Varma, Sandeep Kishan, Aswin etc. Then there are heroes like Nitin and Siddharth who are either busy as producers or trying their luck with new scripts. As of now, we have taken stock of 21 heroes who have had a release or two in 2015 with different impacts. We hope 2016 will be a leap year for many of them and something special for all the fans of Tollywood who love their heroes to the core.