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Open letter to Telugu film industry
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14th December 2004
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Open letter to Telugu film industry

Globalization of Indian Movies:

I've been a regular visitor of since its inception. I feel home when I visit this site though I stay far from my homeland. I have been thinking of writing an open letter to our film industry. This letter has long been pending at my desk.

With India as a whole picking up in several sectors, everyone is realizing now the necessity to take Indian entertainment industry to global arena. There is a sudden surge of activity as to how to make competitive movies of highest quality.

Recently one viewer of idlebrain suggested a movie like Sye as a launching pad for our movies to enter global stage. I really appreciate his concern to make Telugu cinema (Indian cinema, in general) global. In fact, share his views about the Teluguness of our movies that we like very much. But I differ in the methods he suggested to achieve the so called goal of making Telugu cinema global. I have a few ideas to share with.

First of all, we have to understand who we are competing with, The Hollywood! Regarding his suggestion of taking the movies like Sye to foreign audience, I am afraid, it does not work! You can't beat them in their backyard, take it! There are several movies made in Hollywood on Rugby, their own game. In fact, most of our so called high-tech and high energetic movies are either directly lifted or "inspired" by Hollywood movies. Ramgopal Varma admits it openly. If we try to go global with such movies, we will become laughing stock internationally!

Therefore a better option for us would be to try and create a niche in this world of cinema by offering the world with something of our very own, like Chinese did (attacked!) with martial arts. Let us think of what is so special about Indian movies. The only striking feature of our movies, the one they are famous (or infamous) abroad, is the sequence of songs and dances. It works, provided we take a little care in their presentation! Songs are our strength and our weakness too. Recently, I read an article about an Australian woman doing research on t he beauty of Indian movies with songs and dances!

Breaking the flow of the movie and inserting a song works only for a Megastar's movie, but it will shock foreign audiences! Utmost care should be taken in the placement of songs. Background songs (like "Aankhon ki Gustakhiyaan" from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam) are preferable as they take the movie forward in an effective way. A foot-tapping item song should absolutely be fine!

I stay in Japan and when my Japanese friends ask me about the meaning of songs in Indian movies, I say Indian movies are like dreams. And then if one is interested in some real life action or hi-fi thrillers, one can always look up to Hollywood. How about promoting our movies with the caption "Bollywood: The Dream World"

Songs apart, the most important aspect now, the story. We Indians have always boasted about our intelligence. It's time we guys come up with some extremely good stories. Full stop. Take a cue from "The Sixth Sense". We should keep in mind that one such story is worth millions of dollars!

A lot of people are blasting Ramgopal Varma these days for the kind of "different" movies coming from his "factory", which he expects to have a throughput of a movie a week. Ramu never says he will direct all those movies. Even if you (the reader) approach him with a different storyline, he might give you chance and provide you with everything you will need. If that movie does not work, it is the director to blame, not Ramu.

But, not everyone of us can approach Ramgopal Varma with a "new" storyline! Websites like can provide a medium of interaction for guys with innovative ideas with the film industry.

I have been staying in Japan for two years and I can't wait to talk about one success story. Yes, it is "Muthu" as you might have guessed! It was such a roaring success that almost every Japanese knows about "Muthu Maha Raja". They call it "Dancing Maharaja" here!! Japanese just loved that movie, its songs and more than anything else, our cute and bubbly Meena! "Thillana Thillana" seems to have had the crowd in raptures!

I think it was the surprise factor that was the reason behind the movie's success. Japanese did not see that movie in the same vein as we did. They didn't care for the dialogues or styles of Rajni, nor they did care much about what was happening around, I mean the nativity factor etc. Still, that doesn't matter as long as it works!

They were offered something very different and mesmerizing and they accepted it gleefully! Though the next movies of Rajni were not so successful, probably due to the absence of that shock value, Muthu was a trendsetter. Our guys should learn how to make money from our brothers in Tamilnadu. Be it a subtitled or a dubbed version, we should promote our movies abroad collectively. It is time the bigwigs in the industry think over it, instead of targeting only desis in US or UK.

Except the extremely high-tech and high budget movies, I think we can practically make any kind of films. We can present our culture and traditions in our movies. Of course, too much of it would do more harm than good.

Except the extremely high-tech and high budget movies, I think we can practically make any kind of films. We can present our culture and traditions in our movies. Of course, too much of it would do more harm than good.

In fact, abroad almost always means US or UK for us. Our guys need to conduct a survey in as many countries as possible to spread the wings of Indian cinema. Those of us who are staying abroad are always ready to offer our services in this regard.

Best Wishes,
Sivaram Pusapati

[email protected]

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