Tollywood … It has all the bad qualities a movie industry can have. Almost all the movies that are produced in the Tollywood Tinseltown are made according to a predefined template. Their obsession with commercial success made them completely blind to the fine cinematic qualities. It appears that the people who are manning the Tinseltown have run out of ideas and they are all self-satisfied with their mediocre productions. In an essence, our Tollywood has the quantity but not the quality. What are the factors that have contributed to the deterioration and the degeneration in the standards of the Telugu movie industry?
Inbreeding is hindering the growth of creativity.
One of the reasons for Tollywood’s inability to produce a movie, which could be termed artistic and on par with international standards is the high level of inbreeding. Tollywood is completely dominated by a few thespian families which have been ruling the roost. This inbreeding is akin to having a family rule in the country, which brings the country to a stagnation and fills all the institutions with their cronies who don’t allow any new ideas or thoughts to flower. It is just like a marriage between first cousins, which results in the birth of physically and intellectually weak offspring. So Tollywood is also experiencing the same situation. This inbreeding has become a huge stumbling block in the path to creativity and innovation.
Objectification of women:
Tollywood producers and directors are notorious for using sleaze to please their audience. They invariably showcase their female lead actors in skimpily clad clothing, which results in the dehumanization and objectification of women. In most of the Telugu movies the whole plot revolves around the male protagonist and at the end the so-called hero walks away with all the laurels and the female characters only play second fiddle to the protagonist. In many movies, the male protagonist romances with two girls which clearly implies that women are soleless objects, who are good only for satisfying the carnal desires of the males. There are hardly any movies which revolve around female protagonists or put the spotlight on the significance of female gender. Item songs have become an essential ingredient of a Telugu movie. These item songs not only demean the status of women but also reinforce the gender stereotypes prevalent in the society. Dialogues with either implicit or explicit sexual connotations have become very common. Most of the films are unviewable along with families, especially with children.
The organizations which claim to represent women’s causes raise a furor over each and every sexist comment made by the politicians and other celebrities, but maintain mysterious silence over the objectification and commodification of the fairer sex in the Tollywood movies. The most important thing that is worth taking note is, almost all the boys from these thespian families are encouraged to take a plunge into acting at a very early age. However, it appears that they strongly detest their daughters opting for the acting career for obvious reasons.
Flashy and far from reality:
The Tollywood movies don’t actually cater to the audiences, who have refined tastes and manners. The male protagonist frequently enters into conflicts with others, whereas conflict in real life, that too physical conflict, is very rare. If we stand and introspect as to how many times in our lives did we enter into a physical conflict with others, the answer is zero. Yes, we do enter into verbal duels that too occasionally, but a physical conflict is indeed rare. In fact, we all brand those people who are eager to exchange blows with others as uncivilized thugs. At Madison Square Garden, while Modi was speaking inside, a well-known Indian journalist, Rajdeep Sardesai, physically assaulted a person who questioned his style of functioning. He, by his ugly behavior, attracted sharp criticism and earned himself the sobriquet ‘Madison Square Thug’.
So eagerness to enter into a physical conflict is a sure sign of thuggishness and by that yardstick, the depiction of physical conflict in the Telugu movies should be seen in a poor light. That too the way the conflicts are depicted in Telugu movies definitely triggers side-splitting laughter in all the people who have a refined manners. I, many a time, wonder what is the need of spending billions to maintain a huge army when we have the finest and the bravest fighters in the Telugu movie industry. With the kind of fighting skills they demonstrate on the screen, our so-called heroes can easily defend our borders. They don’t even need weapons and can create whirlwinds by just rotating their feet and make the enemy troops run away.
So the Tollywood is hardly engaged in any artistic pursuit, and the industries that are smaller when compared to it, like Malayalam industry, are doing far better. So let us wait for the day when the Telugu film industry makes movies which cater to refined tastes and also, truly entertain and enlighten the movie goers.