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Open letter to Pawan Kalyan
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2nd May 2003
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Open letter to Pawan Kalyan

Dear Pawan Kalyan,

It's one in the night now. I just returned home after watching your latest offering: Johnny. After the thrashing the movie got from fans and critics alike, I thought you deserved a better deal. These days, in Tollywood, any novel experiment needs to be applauded. So here we go.

I always kept an eye out for your movies. Firstly, they are few and far between; that means some effort and time actually go into the making of the movie. Secondly, your movies are inclined to be more different than others; within the "commercial" parameters, of course.Johnny is out, and looks like everyone is talking. Johnny certainly disappointed the fans and distributors as it lacked all the entertainment components one expects out of a venture of this magnitude. But I am surprised by the reviews of the critics who are supposed to look at the movie from an independent perspective, without any expectations and bias whatsoever. It seems to me that most of these critics are actually relishing the disaster.

(These days, "commercial" parameters means, either the movie needs to have a "seema" based theme, or it needs to be a love story[sic] with a college background, or rarely it is a story set with a village backdrop, Vamshi style. This is because the "college crowd" and the "mass" is the only audience now-a-days. Everybody else stays home watching the 100th episode of "kante kooturne kanu.")

Johnny is a different kind of movie too. However, it fails to fall into the above-mentioned commercial parameters, which made your earlier movies thumping successes.

It's easy to analyze a movie with the benefit of hindsight. But hey, that's the advantage of being a critic. :)

Johnny is slow but not gloomy. It's long but not boring. However, in this age of sound bytes, where a minute of silence has to be served with ten minutes of super fast action or comedy to be appealing, Johnny has long chunks of slow narration that would test the current generation's patience, which is brought up on a regular diet of E.V.V. brand comedies where anything goes for the sake of a few laughs, and the violent "seema" movies where about a dozen people get beheaded every five minutes. Too much out of pace, you see.

You made a movie close to your heart, which is laudable, but not something that can succeed in the current times. This movie probably would have been a commercial success 10 years earlier or hopefully five years later. Not now.

Telugu Film Audiences are averse to any change that goes against the current trend too much. A movie like "Sankarabharanam" that defies all logic happens only once. Johnny is a well-made movie, but it's sadly no "Sankarabharanam" either.

You seem to be a promising director with your own idiosyncratic way of presenting a story. I am sure you will taste commercial success as a director soon. Even if you don't, you can still be proud of this movie.
It will leave its impact.

All the best.

[email protected]

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