Friday, August 05, 2011

Dig Dig Faster Faster

I think we have hit the bottom. No? Keep digging folks!

Atleast in the telugu movie industry, the bottom is near. It is not news anymore that 99% of the lead actresses in Telugu Movies are from Bombai.

'Bombai' or ('Bambey' in Telangana) is not exactly the current day Mumbai. It used to be that until the need to import 'heroines' started to arise. The local talent wasn't trying hard enough to get in shape and polish the skin. So the rich producer decided to visit Bombai to get the right fit for the bimbette role his director has created. 'Bombai', he was told, starts slightly north of Punjab and liberally extends itself East up to Bengal, whereupon it steeply drops up to the borders of North AP before jerking towards West until it reaches NCPA's ramp into the Arabian Sea on Marine Drive, Mumbai. This is where, the Definitive Guide to Making Telugu Movies tells you, one can find a few fair skinned females who dress as per the latest trends and may not have too much inhibition in discarding some of the garments. There are a lot of trendy dressers in AP too, and some wilful discarders, but umm.... the skin? Even if a hard worker consuming tonnes of melanin-busters manages to achieve 'fair' complexion, what about the 'slim shape' the viewers want? Too much hard work guru! The producer decided to give Bombai a chance, approximately a decade or so ago.

Since then, the explosion of Bombai heroines on the scene all but killed the local talent. Most surviving local actresses play the role of heroine's 'nice gal' friend. The fat ones provide comic relief, but except for Swati and an odd girl here and there, no one plays  the lead role. Ofcourse, if you have a 'Bombai heroine', you need a dubbing artiste for her. Mostly, the dubbing artiste picks up the Bombai heroine's accent of speaking Telugu. You don't know? It's cool to speak Telugu like a non local. Movies started the trend, and I hear it on the street too. Most of the TV Ads too use Madras telugu accents, which are equally aweful. But Movies prefer the Bombai accent for the lead actresses.

All this ain't the bottom yet. I read this news article recently which made me fall off the chair. It took some effort to digest it. It is a movie called Telugammai (meaning - A Telugu Girl). And guess who's playing the role? C'mon, make a guess. You did? Let me congratulate you then for getting it totally right. It is indeed a Bombai girl called Saloni Aswani from the USA of India - Ulhasnagar, Mumbai. Well, atleast she's not far from Bombai.

The Movie, and my heart is weeping when I'm writing this, is about a traditional Telugu girl who reaches deep down into the roots of her Telugu pride to find her ferocious side when the occasion calls for it (to illustrate which, the genius of a moviemaker purportedly uses the visions  of Rani Laxmibai, who by the way was a Maharashtrian bahu in current day Madhya Pradesh).

How they could cast a non-telugu for a movie titled 'Telugammai' is beyond my comprehension. May be I'm just a cultural Nazi, and in today's cosmopolitan world, it is OK to cast a Sindhi speaking, non local to a role unambiguously titled 'A Telugu Girl'. May be Saloni, a starlet regurgitated by B grade Bollywood, is indeed more of a Telugammai than any available Telugammais, coming from the experience of Maryada Ramanna's success. Except that she isn't! She can hardly speak a word of Telugu by her own admission. And she doesn't really know the story of the Movie she just completed. Serious!! The interview speaks volumes about what 'depths' the Telugu industry reached already.

IMHO, this movie is guaranteed to go down in the annals of Telugu movie history as the one of the lowest points of its existence. May be it has a good story and will be appreciated for that. But the casting logic is plain stupid. May be if it had a different title, it would have saved some heartburn for people like me.

And inspite of the irony of it all, if the Telugu public actually pays big money to watch it and make it a 'resounding hit', I can only say one thing to them:

"Dig Dig, folks, Faster Faster!"

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