Farhan Akhtar Sees A Goldmine In Telugu Cinema

Farhan Akhtar and  his  business partner Ritesh Sidhvani seem  to have  hit on a goldmine,  literally.After making more money  on the Hindi  dubbed version  of   Kolar Goldmine  Films(KGF) than  they made on all their  productions so far(just for  the record,  Farhan and  Ritesh’s cult film Dil Chahta Hai was  a  boxoffice  flop)  Akhtar and Sidhwani have now gone and  bought the Hindi rights  of the  big Telugu  historical bio-pic Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy which has Chiranjeevi playing the  title role. The  film also boasts  of  a stellar  cast  that includes Sudeep, Vijay Sethupathi, Jagapathi Babu, Nayanthara, Tamannaah ,Anushka Shetty and Amitabh Bachchan  .

 Interestingly Mr Bachchan who has only a guest appearance  in this  ambitious wannabe epic is mentioned  right on  top of the  credit titles  in the Hindi announcement of  the  Telugu  magnum opus.However  the endeavour to  woo  Hindi  audiences into a Telugu-language  period drama may not work the same magic for  Akhtar and Sidhwani as  KGF.

KGF worked   mainly  because  of the action scenes, never seen before  in Indian cinema.On the otherhand Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy with its heavily colloquial dialogue-oriented  format  of presentation  is  another  ballgame altogether. This time trade experts in Bollywood feel  Farhan Akhtar and  his partner  may have bitten more than  they can chew.

 For one  , this is a vehicle  primarily to aggrandize and amplify  Chiranjeevi’s star  power.All the  other  stalwarts including  Amitabh Bachchan who have agreed to be part of the  film have done so  only on  the  behest of Chiranjeevi. Secondly, unlike  KGF  this time the  action will NOT speak louder than words.  Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy  will be  a verbose film  with extreme culture-specificity in the dialogues. This time  there won’t be   the same  visceral  connect  as  an Baahubali or KGF. Lastly , the  director Surinder  Reddy  has no experience  in  making historicals. How do we know he is capable  of  ‘making history.’?

Is  Bollywood’s  gold rush towards Telugu cinema an excursion into an ersatz El Dorado? We recently saw Karan Johar paying a hefty hasty  amount for  the  remake  of the Telugu  film Dear Comrade  and living to regret his generosity after the  film underperformed.  Will  Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar fall flat on their faces  in their  attempt to  cash in on  the  Southside flourish  of Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy?

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