Over a decade, we and our cinema have grown remarkably! The world has shrunk into a small hamlet and our cinema has reached the other end of it especially the U.S [Thanks to our Telugu diaspora]. Telugu cinema has in fact announced itself; starting off with the films of our four pillars Chiru, Bala Krishna, Nagarjuna and Venkatesh stepping on like Neil Armstrong (did on the moon).
Well off Telugu agencies in the U.S buy the overseas rights of a star film and sell them at a fancy number to the local entities who wish to have their star’s movie screened at their town. These local bodies not only have to bear the publicity of the film in their respective areas and are also supposed to bear the fortune or misfortune the movie brings. What is more freaking is that some student communities pursuing higher studies collect funds [mostly out of their pockets] and organize these screenings at their place. They need to shed in lumps to buy the rights from the agencies and obviously they price the ticket at 30$-40$, much away from the usual 16$-18$ price and there are incidents where they ended bankrupted when the much expected movie bombed. They blame the reviews to be the prime reason for their bankruptcy.
While on the flipside, if this is the tale of the buyers, the viewers’ version is a different vignette. Most of them express the irresponsibility of the exhibitors [those who screen the movie in a particular area] as their main grievance. When they come all over from far off lands, just to watch the movie they were longing for, the show might get canceled at any moment and they are often left uninformed. In such a case, they turn reluctant to turn up for the second time the local body arranges a screening.
On the third front, paradoxically, be it America or Anakapalli…a fan is a fan irrespective of his education and literacy [Guess they hold good on name plates]! Bet you can’t disagree on it! Can you believe, a prime theater like AMC at Times Square in New York has cried “No more Telugu movies at our place” simply because a herd of educated fans who came for their star’s film have left the theater in a mess [what our teachers call a “fish market” during our schooling], throwing pieces of papers, dancing at the screen and blasting the theater with their clamorous whistles, howls, drums and what not! In a way, they have re-created a mini Sandhya 70mm AC or any theater here as a matter of fact. Poor AMC fella, who panicked with this mass hysteria felt safe to prohibit our Telugu movies. Though it sounds embarrassing, who gives a damn!
And keeping craze apart, please forget about the ‘OVERSEAS BUSINESS FIGURES’. Premium collections tracking and analyzing agencies like ‘RENTRAK’ state that the figures that are touted to be the collections of the so-called star films are mostly not genuine! So, in a nut-shell, the journey of a Telugu cinema in US is a ‘Pandora world’ [as shown in ‘Avatar’] which is good-looking but ground-shaking! And as said earlier, a fan is a fan, sometimes a lunatic irrespective of the educational status! Eat that!