A fight for survival: 'Hyderabad Nawabs 2' director speaks about Deccani industry

In this interview with TNM, RK, popularly known as 'Mama', speaks about his newly released film and why the Deccani industry is on a slump.
A fight for survival: 'Hyderabad Nawabs 2' director speaks about Deccani industry
A fight for survival: 'Hyderabad Nawabs 2' director speaks about Deccani industry

Despite two big Telugu films -- iSmart Shankar and Dear Comrade -- doing well at the box office, there’s a Deccani film Hyderabad Nawabs 2, which is getting good word of mouth, and the screen count of the film has therefore seen a steady increase in Hyderabad. The film is a sequel of Hyderabad Nawabs which released in 2006.

While most Dollywood films are not released in multiplexes, Hyderabad Nawabs 2 has managed to break a glass ceiling of sorts and has hit the screens in a couple of multiplexes.

TNM spoke with the film’s writer, director and producer, Ramakrishna, popularly known as RK or Mama--the character’s name in Hyderabad Nawabs. Though RK did blink a miss roles in couple of Telugu film like Takkari Donga, it was Angrez that gained him popularity. Besides having a long list of credits for his role in Hyderabad Nawabs 2, RK has also acted in it.

“After almost eight years, I am back to making films, it is exciting, and the reception for the film is also good. Initially, we faced a setback as only 15 theatres had released our film. We were promised that we would get 35 screens but since our film released along with iSmart Shankar, the screens were reduced,” says RK.

However, RK is happy that the movie is getting positive responses. “Now, the film is running houseful and many multiplexes are screening it. We are happy with the response,” he says.

Hyderabad Nawabs 2 is a film that depicts the state of the real estate industry in Hyderabad, including illegal encroachments. The film shows how five families are affected by the destruction of an apartment building which had been constructed by encroaching a portion of a road.

“It is a comedy film, aimed at the family audience. Like any other mainstream films  we have included five songs in it," he says.

Speaking about the film’s theme, RK says with a laugh, “Real estate is one of the most funny industries. In Old City you can find a lot of people who are small-time brokers, masons and construction workers, who sell a small piece of land and boast about themselves as real estate businessmen or agents. Since I was in the real estate industry, I know about such real life characters, and I tried to depict the same on screen. Many would relate to these characters."

RK sees his films as an opportunity to showcase what he calls "real Hyderabad".

Recalling Angrez, which he co-wrote RK says, “I grew up in Hyderabad and nobody showed things which happen in real Hyderabad - like having chai conversations - on celluloid, so we wanted to show whatever actually happens in Hyderabad. When there was a boom in the radio stations, we did a film called FM (Fun Aur Masti). Again, since real estate is the happening thing, we made a film on it. There should be an undercurrent to connect with the audience."

When the trailer of Hyderabad Nawabs 2 was released, many were disappointed that the film did not have either Dheer Charan Srivatsav (Ismail Bhai) or Mast Ali (Saleem), the Angrez gang, who also were part of the prequel Hyderabad Nawabs. Due to personal differences, the team has parted ways.

“Yes, many criticised me for not bringing in Mast Ali and Srivatsav, but I have introduced many other new talents in this film, who I hope will make it big. I have a great sense of casting. It was I who selected Adnan Sajid Khan (Gullu Dada), who became a popular character,” RK says.

Speaking about the challenges in making Deccani films and sustaining as a film industry he says, “This is a very small industry, we don’t have any recognised associations. There are just a couple of talents whom we know, then through them we identify others,” he says.

RK is also honest in his admission that the Deccani films lack diversity.

“Films were made solely targeting the Muslim community, and these films lacked diversity. They didn’t have the Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb (an Urdu term used to describe the fusion of Hindus and Muslims)," he notes.

RK says that it's the filmmakers themselves who are to be blamed for the downfall of the industry.

“Post the success of Angrez, everyone started making films lacking perspective or any basics of filmmaking. They just wanted to earn the tag of a filmmaker, producer etc. We are extremely disappointed by the turn of events," he says.

Mincing no words, he calls those films "chillar films", and adds, “Some 60-70 Hyderabadi films have released so far, but people know only some 4-5 films.”

Dheer Charan Srivastava, another Hyderabadi actor concurs, “Because of the poor quality of these films, the multiplex owners refused to screen them. Just having dialogues with the word ‘Chutiya’ doesn't compensate for a terrible film.”

Talking about diversity he says, "Everything can't just be about Biriyani, there needs to be dosa, idlies etc. Hyderabad is not just Muslim community, there are several communities like Gujaratis, Marathis, Malayalis, Tamils and others." 

RK says that the Deccani films won’t survive if they have to rely only on single screens.

“The single screen theatres are in such a pathetic condition that people don’t come to such theatres. So we have to make films with good content, and find good distributors, who will sell them to multiplexes. The satellite rights of these films also don’t fetch a good price, so we have to push for online streaming services. We are hoping that online streaming services like Amazon Prime Video etc will buy our films.”

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