"దేశ భాషలందు తెలుగు లెస్స" - తుళువ రాజు శ్రీకృష్ణదేవరాయ
"dESa bhAshalaMdu telugu lessa" - tuLuva rAju SrI kRshNadEvarAya
Telugu is the sweetest among all languages of the Land - Great Tuluva Emperor Sri Krishnadeva Raya, 16th Century

తెలుగు మాట...తేనె ఊట
TELUGU...a language sweeter than honey

మంచిని పంచుదాము వడపోసిన తేనీటి రూపం లో
తేనెకన్న మంచిదని తెలుగును చాటుదాము వేనోల్ల
ఇదే నా ఆకాంక్ష, అందరి నుంచి కోరుకునె చిరు మాట

"TELUGU - Italian of the East" - Niccolo Da Conti, 15th Century


"సుందర తెలుంగిళ్ పాటిసైతు" - శ్రీ సుబ్రహ్మణ్య భారతి
"suMdara teluMgiL paaTisaitu" - SrI subrahmaNya bhArati
Let us sing in Sweet Telugu - Tamil poet Sri Subrahmanya Bharati, 20th Century

Friday, July 22, 2005

Boldly going where no Telugu movie has gone before!

Telugu films are testing new waters and going far and wide to do so! Their markets now include countries like South Africa, the Fiji Islands and Mauritius as well

• THE Pawan Kalyan-Shriya starrer Balu wasn't exactly a runaway hit here. But it was the first Telugu movie, in 40 years, to be screened in South Africa, and it received an overwhelming response. One of this year's biggest hit, Nuvvastanante Nenodantana has also been released there

• Nagarjuna's Super and Chiranjeevi's Jai Chiranjeeva are to be released across the globe, and the former is likely to make a pit stop at Fiji Islands as well

Until five years ago, the Telugu film industry, arguably one of the biggest in the country, lacked the presence of a predominant overseas market – something that Hindi and Tamil industries could boast of. This meant that Tollywood was losing out on some big overseas revenue. Bunty Aur Babli made more than 40 crore* in India, and raked in an additional nine crore overseas. Paheli collected only Rs 12 crore in India so far, but the overseas revenue stands at Rs 10 crore!

A Rajkumar of Kad entertainment, explains, "Our budgets and production figures are no less than that of Hindi films. What we did not have until recently was their clever marketing strategy. Now there is a lot of effort in this direction. When films like Balu and Chandramukhi released in South Africa, the response was overwhelming. Considering that films of Chiranjeevi and Nagarjuna get 20 to 25 crore within AP, there is scope to earn more when the film is promoted abroad. With Tollywood already establishing its presence in US, UK and the Gulf, the focus is on tapping markets in Australia, Japan, Mauritius and South Africa."

Knowing that the Telugu-speaking population has to be lured to cinema halls, Tollywood even does door-todoor canvassing and organises community screenings. Explains producer Suresh Babu, who has screened his films in Japan, "Unfortunately, many Telugu NRIs who moved out in the early 20th century have forgotten their language. So, we need to screen films with subtitles and organise community screenings. The market in US, UK, Canada, Gulf and Australia is growing because of young software engineers." He points out that despite starting from nought, some Telugu films now earn more than $150,000 overseas.

As of now, the overseas market thrives only due to big banner films, with the exception being Sekhar Kammula's Anand. "While we produce more than 100 films annually, only 20 to 25 films do well overseas. It will take another five years for our efforts to pay off. A Chiranjeevi film might make $100,000 abroad, but most other films make only $20-30,000," says Tammareddy Bharadwaja, who heads the directors' council.

But enterprising directors are also looking at the DVD market. Tailor-made DVDs with interviews of the cast and crew are being released. Also, Telugu songs are being promoted through local FM channels. On the flipside though, piracy has grown. "Telugu NRIs, predominantly software engineers, download movies from the internet even if it takes them 10-12 hours. If piracy is curtailed, our foreign market can grow at a rate of 20-25 per cent annually," reveals Suresh Babu. Insiders tell us that a city-based distribution house tied up with Bollywood overseas distributors and the Chicago police. A raid carried out at Devon Street, Chicago, unearthed 97,000 pirated DVDs of Indian films, of which Telugu films formed a substantial number. "We've begun encrypting DVDs to prevent copying but people crack these codes, too. A carrot-and-stick policy will stop piracy and promote the sale of original DVDs," adds Rajkumar.

(* Trade figures from Ibosnetwork)

Courtesy: The Times of India


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