The chief misters of the two Telugu states, K. Chadrashekhar Rao and N. Chandrababu Naidu, are known for their bittersweet relationship. Now, it seems that the two are set to deliver punches at each other on celluloid.
Adding to the fierce rivalry between the two heads of states, filmmakers of Tollywood are now vying to make biopics that document their respective lives. Chances are high that the popularity and business of these films will be associated with the popularity of their subjects as well, making the situation even more competitive.
Earlier this year, director Pasupuleti Venkata Ramana announced "Chandrodayam" (Rise of the Moon), a biopic on Naidu, the CM of Andhra Pradesh. Written and directed by Ramana, it was reported that the movie was set to go on floors in August. The movie currently is under production and is slated for a December release.
Just a few months after this announcement was made, it appears that Madhura Sreedhar Reddy, a software engineer-turned- filmmaker realized that the Chief Minister of Telangana could not be left behind. In a press meet on 20 October, Reddy announced that he will be directing a biopic on the life and times of KCR, as he is popularly called. The shooting is to start on 2 June, the Telangana Formation Day, next year and it is to release on the eve of KCRâ€™s birthday in February 2018.
In this scenario, it would be interesting to see the light in which these films portray â€˜the otherâ€™ chief minister. The yet-to-be-titled film on KCR is to be a feature film depicting his life from 2001, when he broke away from the Telugu Desam Party to float the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, after which his friendship with Naidu soured.
About "Chandrodayam", Ramana was quoted by the Hindustan Times saying, â€œMy intention is to convey a message to the people how Naidu had struggled to come up in life and strived for their welfare." Ramana said that the film will showcase the CM's efforts in the past to put Hyderabad on the global map and his present struggle to build Amaravati as a global capital city. Ramana added that though it is a biopic on Naidu, there is no lead character resembling him. The story is said to revolve around four youths, who play the role of journalists, inspired by the "peopleâ€™s leader". But, Ramanya says, Naiduâ€™s invisible presence will be felt in every scene because it is his life story.
Apart from showcasing the competition between the two CMs, the filmmakers are competing with each other to see whose film will hold the audience's attention better. It was reported that "Chandrodayam", has "four actresses and six songs". Reddyâ€™s film is not far behind when it comes to publicity. According to him, although the film doesnâ€™t have song and dance, the script will leave the audience â€˜glued to their seats like with Richard Attenboroughâ€™s classic, "Gandhi"â€™.
After conflicts on water, land and resources, it appears that the two chief ministers are going to compete with each other over their biopics as well. With the two states and the chief ministers already at loggerheads, it remains to be seen how the audience from each state (and more importantly the supporters of both these leaders) will react to the films.