Mega power star of Telugu cinema, Ram Charan, in an exclusive chat with Box Office India, discusses the changes and the milestones in the Telugu film industry
You come with a huge legacy in the Telugu film industry and have seen it go through many changes, from a very nascent stage. How has the industry changed over the years?
The Telugu film industry is a very progressive industry. It embraces innovative ideas and new talent. The industry has become more systematic and dynamic over the past few years. With corporatisation coming in, there has been a huge incorporation of best practices from other industries, to increase our productivity and turn-around time. There’s more to come, especially with technology, and we are always ready to embrace change for better outcomes.
The Telugu film industry is very hero-oriented. Does this make for a good recipe when it comes to films?
I wouldn’t say that. For all of us here, the story is more important. Rudrama Devi is a woman-centric film and it was iconic; the hero’s role was very minimal. I personally feel a great recipe for a film is when we have a story based on the pulse of the audience, something that keeps their attention for 2.5 hours and makes them feel good while leaving the cinema.
Have there been phases when only a certain kind of cinema was made?
It all depends on the pulse of the audience and trends at that time. We aren’t in a time where we can make films that aren’t successful at the box office. We have to find a balance between being offbeat and appealing to a large audience.
We hear that every actor has a very dedicated fan club that also works as an anti-piracy agent. The fans don’t encourage piracy for Telugu films. Is this true?
Yes. We are very fortunate to have fan clubs that love us so much. Therefore, we work very hard to fight against piracy. Fans respect the work we do and want our industry to do well.
Telugu films do really well in the US, more than in other international markets. Are there any other territories where Telugu films do well, and are you also exploring new markets for your films?
Well, the world becomes your market if your story is good. Telugu films are big in the UAE and South East Asian countries as well. I was surprised when I received fan mail from Japan. Also, they named a biscuit after me! So it’s all about connecting with the audience.
What are the major milestones that have changed the Telugu film industry for the better?
- The welcoming of new talent with open arms. 2. Investing in and exploring new technology. 3.Breaking into new territories. 4. Increase in the number of distributors and theatres. 5. More systematic management of staff and schedules.
Tell us something about the directors, technicians and writers in the Telugu film industry.
They are very talented and in sync with reality. This is what connects the emotion. They are willing to explore new subjects that keep today’s audience with short attention spans engaged.
Baahubali has broken all records and myths about cinema made in South India. Has its global success helped the industry?
Yes, of course, not only Telugu but also the Indian film industry. Rajamouli Garu and Prabhas have opened new territories for us and pushed the boundaries to explore further.
What would you like to change for the better and what would you like to retain?
Everything is great now. Nothing at the moment. We are in between change, so once it’s completely done, we will be much stronger.
Telugu films have done very well in the last few years, when it comes to dubbed satellite rights. This means the content is nationally accepted. Why not make movies bilingual?
We are exploring this and we will make movies that we feel have national appeal bilingual.
Earlier, Hindi films were made by Telugu filmmakers but we don’t see this happening too often now. Why is that?
The Telugu film industry has a lot going on. I think we have enough for ourselves now.