Telugu film industry has made a slew of announcements in the recent past few days related to the line-up of films to be released in cinema halls. The question is, will it deliver its promise?
Telugu film industry is leaving no stone unturned to go full throttle these days. Be it going back to floors or announcing release dates for the rest of the year, there’s been a flurry of activity. In the last one week alone, the makers of RRR, Pushpa, Sarkaaru Vaari Paata, Acharya, F3, Major, Ghani, KGF, Tuck Jagadish, Love Story and many others have either announced their release dates or teasers of their respective films. Telugu film Twitter is lit and how!
The trend of announcing the release dates, at least to the extent that we are seeing right now, is a fairly recent phenomenon. Until a few years ago, producers would end up announcing release dates close to the finish line of the principal photography, and it was a norm. Instances of unfair advantage to a particular film, if it’s vying for bigger screens when another film is in contention, were common, and in some cases, it did result in a war of words promoting a few bigwigs to settle the disputes amicably. The question truly was more about – Will we ever reach a stage where each film, especially a big or medium budget film, would get enough room at the box-office before another film would overshadow it?
Truth be told, the act of releasing a film is an exercise in building momentum. That’s also the reason why so many filmmakers and actors have an army of fans and PR enthusiasts amplifying every small thing related to the project. Whether it’s a poster or even an announcement about a poster’s release, every single thing has been turned into a tangible factor which can be measured with regards to its rate of engagement. The number of RTs, Youtube views, number of tweets about a particular hashtag…all these numbers are turned into news which needs to be shared and amplified. In short, whatever it takes to achieve an exponential curve in terms of curiosity, it’s all being done right now.
To announce a release date, sometimes months in advance, is a clear indication of what the end goal is. That the momentum has to reach its crescendo in the week of the film’s release, and the closer the project is for release, we’ll be bombarded with more and more information about the film.
This trend is, in many ways, a sign of the changing tide in the industry. The Telugu film industry is eager to streamline its workflow, where all the stakeholders, right from the director to the exhibitor know what their target is and they get ample time to prepare. This might be common in Hindi film industry where most of the studios announce release dates almost a year in advance, so that no other major film vies for the same slot. We are witnessing something similar in Telugu film industry too. A gap of two weeks between two major releases has become a norm, except for films which release simultaneously during festivals like Sankranthi and Dusshera.
Theoretically, this is a perfect arrangement, which allows everyone to schedule their shoots and post-production accordingly. But in an industry where there are plenty of variables, including injuries to lead actors or delays in shoot due to bad weather or some unforeseen developments like cyclone, strike, among other things, it’s a big challenge for everyone to be on top of their game to meet deadlines. On top of it, every now and then, we hear about financial disputes between the producers and financiers which creates hurdles before a film hits the screen.
Perhaps, it’s also time for the industry to relook at its work culture. Long hours are common, and far too many people still see it as a factor that needs to be boasted about. And let’s not forget about the stress that editors, VFX artistes, and many other members who work in post-production units have to undergo to finish a film on time. It remains to be seen if this trend of announcing the date of releases months in advance has a positive impact on many of these people who are almost always forced to burn the midnight oil.
One can only hope that the producers and filmmakers, among other stakeholders, find a mechanism to get their film ready at least two or three weeks before the date of release. This would give them enough time to get the film censored on time and also ship it to foreign countries on time, thus avoiding last minute hiccups. For years altogether, distributors in the US have complained about delays in getting content and this hampers their release strategy, especially in cities and towns where they would have planned premieres. Now that the industry is trying to streamline its workflow, it also needs to find a permanent solution to all these issues.
In the end, the buzz surrounding a film’s release, especially with high stakes, might drown out some long standing issues within the industry. Let’s not forget that behind all those epic action entertainers, this is still a factory where a hiccup could lead to delays and loss of money. Until then, we will continue to be bombarded and pushed more and more into the endless news cycle about every other film.