From Prabhas’ ‘Saaho’ to Mammootty’s ‘Yatra’: Big-budget Tollywood releases of 2019

In what seems to be a year of superstars for the Telugu film industry, here is a compilation of some of the most awaited Tollywood releases of 2019.
From Prabhas’ ‘Saaho’ to Mammootty’s ‘Yatra’: Big-budget Tollywood releases of 2019
From Prabhas’ ‘Saaho’ to Mammootty’s ‘Yatra’: Big-budget Tollywood releases of 2019
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For Tollywood, 2018 was a year of experiments. From Prashanth Varma’s Awe, which brought before us the illusion of reality, to Venkatesh Maha’s C/o Kancherapalam, which told us the intimate story of a sleepy village in Vizag, Tollywood gave us a mixed bag of heartwarming tales. While debutant director Rahul Ravindran’s slice-of-life movie Chi La Sow opened to positive reviews from film critics, Tharun Bhascker’s Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi failed to recreate the magic of his earlier Pelli Choopulu at the box office.

While we hope that the trend continues in 2019 too, fans of Tollywood superstars are eagerly awaiting the big-budget releases of the year. While Prabhas is hoping for a grand comeback with Saaho after his magnum opus Baahubali in 2017, we have Malayalam superstar Mammootty gearing up for his Telugu release Yatra, in which he portrays YS Rajashekhar Reddy in one of the most awaited biopics of the year. In what seems to be a year of superstars for the Telugu film industry, here is a compilation of some of the most awaited big-budget Tollywood releases of 2019.

Saaho: Made on a budget of Rs 300 crore, Saaho is one of the costliest movies in Tollywood, second only to the Baahubali series, which was made on Rs 430 crore. Slated for release on August 15, Saaho is highly anticipated by Prabhas’ fans as it marks the actor’s next release after the mammoth success of the Baahubali franchise in 2015 and 2017. Directed by Sujeeth, the movie is also Shraddha Kapoor’s debut in Tollywood.

The trailer of the movie, with Sabu Cyril helming the cinematography and Kenny Bates choreographing the stunts, was grandiose and high in action. The trailer promises a mix of action, stardom and glamour – elements that have always helped Tollywood movies reap success at the box office.

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy: Marking megastar Chiranjeevi’s 151st film, Sye Raa is a historical flick based on the life of the pre-Independence war hero Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy, a freedom fighter from Rayalseema. Bankrolled by Ram Charan’s home production, Konidela Production Company, and directed by Surender Reddy, the movie is made on a staggering budget of Rs 200 crore.

The star cast of the film also includes Nayanthara, who plays Sye Raa’s wife Sidhamma, Vijay Sethupathi who plays Raaja Paandi, Huma Qureshi, Tammannah and Nassar among others.

The teaser of Sye Raa showed a fierce Chiru drawing his sword and attacking the British in India. After Chiru’s last release Khaidi No. 150 in 2017 turning out to be the fourth highest grossing movie in Telugu of all time, Sye Raa is easily one of the most anticipated movies of the year. The movie is expected to clash with Saaho at the box office as it will also hit the screens on August 15.

Yatra: Writers in the Telugu film industry are in the process of churning out far more challenging scripts that go beyond regular biopics. After Mahanati and NTR-Kathanayakudu, all eyes are on Mahi Raghav’s much talked about release of the year, Yatra. With Mammootty playing the late former CM YS Rajashekhar Reddy, the movie’s trailer has already created a buzz in TFI. The film is all set to release on February 8.

Though the movie has been projected as a political drama, Mahi Raghav has called Yatra a ‘human drama’. Yatra will bring to screen the famous Padayatra that YSR embarked upon in 2003, an event that proved to be a turning point not only in his political career but also in Andhra politics.

Though the movie largely depends on Mammootty’s performance and the star has already grabbed eyeballs in the trailer with his charisma as YSR, it remains to see whether the movie will work wonders at the box office because political biopics, despite their interesting plots, have often failed to cater to ‘mass’ audiences.

Maharshi: After 2018’s Bharat Ane Nenu, a satire on the existing education system in our country, Mahesh Babu will next be seen in Maharshi, his 25th film, directed by Vamsi Paidipally. Made on a budget of Rs 70 crore, the actor will be seen in five different get-ups, signalling his transition from a college student to a businessman. Fans have their expectations high on the film after the huge success of Bharat Ane Nenu, which was the third highest grossing films of all time in Tollywood.

If Bharat Ane Nenu tackled the lamentable condition of our education system, Maharshi is said to deal with farmers’ issues in the state. Earlier slated for release on Sankranthi, the film’s release date has now been pushed to the last week of April, as some of Mahesh Babu’s biggest hits such as Pokiri and Bharat Ane Nenu obliterated all existing records after getting released during this period.

Majili: Naga Chaitanya and Samantha fans are in for a treat this year. The couple’s first movie together post-marriage, Majili’s poster featuring them in an embrace already has fans rooting for the film. Samantha and Naga Chaitanya have earlier shared screen space in three films – Ye Maaya Chesave, Manam and Autonagar Surya – and Majili, directed by Shiva Nirvana, will be their fourth outing together.

While Samantha’s last release U Turn went on to earn positive reviews for her performance, Chaitanya’s Savyasachi turned out to be a box office dud. But fans still have their hopes high as Chai-Sam movies have always managed to hit the mark and done well at the box office.

NTR-Mahanayakudu: Krish’s NTR-Kathanayakudu, the first part of the NTR biopic, released on January 9 and opened to mixed reviews from film critics. As the makers deal with the film’s lacklustre performance at the box office, the second part of the biopic is all set to release on February 14. NTR-Mahanayakudu, made on a budget of Rs 80 crore, will trace NTR’s life as a politician and the formation of the Telugu Desam Party in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh.

While Kathanayakudu drew criticism for its larger than life portrayal of NTR devoid of any drama, making the film more of a tribute to the actor-politician, it remains to be seen if Mahanayakudu can grip the audience with NTR’s tumultuous journey as a politician.

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