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Grievances of a Telangana Filmmaker

~ JayaPrakash Telangana

To rephrase myself i’d request “All Telangana Audience to stop buying tickets for any big budget star-son movies, in the first week of its release”. Why?

Disclaimer: Rajamouli is one of the sensible and ace of a filmmakers Telugu film industry can offer at this point in time, there are no other qualms about it. As a filmmaker (or aspiring otherwise) I wish him the very best for the release & hope it becomes a very bit hit, and a classic. As a filmmaker I’d never hesitate promoting an adversaries film. I’m opposed to this film and others that come out of this machinery only for the reason because they are part of the system I oppose. A system that has been nothing but a symbol of hegemony and repression towards Telangana films & filmmakers for as long as it existed.

  • In 58 years of Combined statehood Telugu cinema has never attempted to represent Telangana or its culture in any way shape or form instead mocked at it on the name of it. In the final phase of Telangana statehood struggle (last decade) it has been one of the concerns that the Telugu films never owned Telangana culture but has done otherwise and vilified it wherever they got a chance & exploited whenever they can within their interest. Parallels can be found with how Marathi films suffer by the Bollywood’s presence and dominance in Mumbai / Maharashtra.
  • When it comes to distribution, bigger distributors own the network by blanket leasing all the theatres in the states thus making the medium & low budget films to approach them and abide by their terms whenever they have a release ready. Mostly Chamchagiri wins in this case. In turn they formed a powerful syndicate and a lobby to affect policy making in their favor, turning huge profits in land deals. They made sure their star sons thrived.
  • All the fathers of the current generation star sons made sure that there are no affordable film institutes in the states (now Telangana & AP or the former Andhra Pradesh) the private ones that exist (Annapurna & Ramanaidu) estimatedly cost 35-40 lakhs, which is beyond a common man’s spending capacity. Without any infrastructure for newcomers (cast, crew or technicians) how do we expect to nurture the creative minds of other classes?
  • Even small films from Andhra filmmakers don’t fare well and 70-80% of them are never released for the reasons mentioned above.
  • In the 80’s Chief Ministers of the then Andhra Pradesh Marri Channa Reddy (1978 – 1980), N. T. Rama Rao (1983 – 1984) gave huge incentives, tax breaks and lands to the Telugu film industry to relocate from Madras to Hyderabad. Aren’t the 40-45% (average) of those funds Telangana taxpayer money? What did our tax money fund? certainly not telangana films or filmmakers.
  • Ramoji Filmcity was built on the lands usurped from the local farmers under the watchful eye of the then governments has contributed nothing to Telangana. Now There are proposals by the same organization to construct several mini theaters in both Andhra and Telangana for medium and low budget films to add to the monopoly.
  • If this was the story before June 2nd 2014, the formation of Telangana State, well the status quo still remains. All the bigwigs had to do is lure the ministers. Now the CMO of Telangana declares a 2000 acre new film city (while already existing Ramoji film city is never fully booked) and appoints a SuperStar to steer it. Also assuring that the Telugu (read Andhra) film industry doesn’t have to leave Hyderabad.
  • The CMO has appointed a Cinematography minister but he has been nothing but a bench warmer. In one year of the statehood the Andhra film lobby has made sure that no incentives be given or policies be made in favor of filmmakers in Telangana so far. On top of this they are playing victim in order to usurp a major stake in the proposed new film city.
  • Telangana Film industry hasn’t been born yet, it’s still in gestational stage. What ever films that are made now, one or two a year currently have to suffer if the film or filmmakers are not at the best interests of the big wig distributors (most of the time they are never released). I understand there are complaints about the quality of the films, but how does an artist / technician / filmmaker thrive in such an infertile industry. (Yes it is infertile to a Telangana FilmMaker because of the monopoly)

Conclusion:

  • How are you expected to play against such adverse conditions when the field itself is tilted against Telangana filmmakers.
  • There are many incentives and tax breaks given to Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Punjabi films there’s none in place for Telangana.
  • No policies have been made yet or have seldom shown signs that they’re planning to in the coming future to establish & encourage upcoming filmmakers.
  • If you want to see your culture represented and thrive in our arts and cinema, pay for what really matters and refrain from those that don’t.
  • Recent news about the distributors letter to the theater owners to let their agents black market is appalling.
  • I cannot imagine how many dance numbers I have to see our warrior queen RaniRudrama in the movie that’s yet to be released.
  • The publicly available data shows that the big banner or star son movies collected 221.65 & 148.8 Crores in years 2014 & 2015 respectively (black collections not included) 45-50% of those collections are from Telangana region. Imagine what your money could really invest in.
  • Imagine what 10% of ticket money you spent can do to the films of Telangana.

You vote with your money every time you open your wallet, spend wisely. With your support Telangana cinema will start walking in next five years to come else it’ll still be handicapped for five more decades.

~ JayaPrakash Telangana

(Founder ‘Film Telangana’ Film Festival, Visit www.youtube.com/JapesFilms for more details)  japes.films@gmail.com

http://japesfilms.wordpress.com/  | http://jptelangana.wordpress.com/

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