Telugu cinema has a dream month in August. It’s a month that started with great desperation after an unsuccessful July where every Friday release fell apart like a deck of cards. On paper, Liger is the only major mainstream release in August, but the first two weeks have proven that good storytelling can win the battle over scale and pomp any day. This weekend has 3 major releases on OTT and in theaters.
Liger, which hits theaters on August 25, is of course the undisputed favorite to start with. Despite the modest trailer and a decent album, the team’s aggressive nationwide promotions helped Ananya Panday star Vijay Deverakonda. There is immense curiosity around the actioner, pre-release buzz and terrific advance booking figures in the US and Telugu states are a key indicator.
However, the biggest test for Vijay Deverakonda, director Puri Jagannadh is to conquer the Hindi language belt. Puri’s rustic/raw treatment and many problematic films from his past may raise some eyebrows. That most of the story takes place in Mumbai is an advantage for Hindi audiences to buy its premise. Vijay’s Hindi diction will also prove to be another crucial factor for his authenticity.
A day after Liger, a low budget comedy film Kalapuram is set to test its fortunes in the Telugu States. The Karuna Kumar-directed film is a rural comedy about a filmmaker’s struggle to complete his dream project and find a producer. Satyam Rajesh, Sanchitha Poonacha, Kaashima Rafi star in the film whose premise is slightly similar to Cinema Bandi.
It would be a mistake to cancel Kalapuram, given that history has always proven that smaller films, when released alongside biggies, can still make their mark. For those who prefer something lighthearted and grassy stories, rural comedy is a good bet. The fact that a brand like Zee Studios produced it also gives it enough credibility. It remains to be seen whether the film will keep its promises.
On the Telugu OTT aha platform, Odela Railway Station, created by acclaimed filmmaker Sampath Nandi and directed by newcomer Ashok Teja, will premiere on August 26. The film, financed by popular producer KK Radhamohan, is a rural crime thriller starring Vasishta Simha, Sai Ronak, Hebah Patel and Pujita Ponnada. Odela also happens to be the hometown of Sampath Nandi.