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After churning some box office numbers with Krack and Vakeel Saab, the Telugu film industry is back on backfoot again as the recent surge of Covid cases in the country is dampening the spirit of movie buffs to reach cinema halls amid restrictions. Maharashtra has also pulled shutters down on theatres, TV and film shooting followed by a partial lockdown of 15 days over the spiralling number of cases.
Compared to other film industries, Telugu witnessed a massive jump in business with 100 per cent occupancy at theatres but now Covid-19 second wave making its impact on all states, a natural conjecture is the government of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana might go back to 50 per cent occupancy again. Producers will also be hesitant in releasing big films with full occupancy permission, DVV Danayya, who is the producer of Rajamouli’s multi-starrer period drama RRR. The movie has a budget of Rs 400 crore and has big names from Jbr NTR, ram Charan to Ajay Devgn.
The shooting for RRR is complete but the filmmakers have no plans to postpone the release of the film beyond October 13, confirmed Danayya.
Things started looking brighter for the Telugu film industry in January when films like Uppena, Krack, Jathi Ratnalu released and drew people to halls even when the pandemic was very much present but restrictions were lifted. The release of Vakeel Saab drew full occupancy even when that day one lakh cases were reported in India, said producer Tammareddy Bharadwaj, reinstating the fact that good movies will make a good collection even during a pandemic, he further added.
In the other South Indian states, Kerala kept the 50 per cent occupancy rule after the theatres re-opened in January, the governments of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu permitted hall owners to allow full occupancy. However, with the resurgence of cases, the government had to withdraw the orders. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana also might have to revert to the 50 per cent rule if the rise continues.
Producer Bekkam Venugopal said that Vakeel Saab which has the potential to earn Rs 100 crore will now only garner Rs 80 crores and even with 50 per cent occupancy rile films that had made a commitment will release.
Meanwhile, the films with big star cast like Naga Chaitanya and Sai Pallavi’s Love Story and Nani’s Tuck Jagadish awaiting an April release has been postponed citing the growing Covid cases.
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