Cinema of Andhra Pradesh: Wikis


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The cinema of Andhra Pradesh (Telugu: తెలుగు సినీపరిశ్రమ) is the Telugu language film industry in India. It is popularly known as Tollywood, as an analog to the Hindi-language industry of Bollywood.

The state of Andhra Pradesh has the highest number of cinema halls in India.



(1 crore = 10,000,000 rupees, approximately US$ 219,440 on 11 March 2010.)

Welcome to Tollywood

The Telugu cinema industry is based in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. The Telugu film industry produces the most films every year in India, with about 275 films produced in 2008.[1] Popular movies tend to open during the three festive/holiday seasons of the region: Sankranthi, Ugadi, and Dussera. In 2004, total revenue for the Sankranthi season was around Rs. 1.5 billion (US$37 million, as of 17 July 2007) greater than that of the Bollywood industry. There are number of television channels (such as Maa, Gemini, Eenadu, ZEE TELUGU, Teja TV etc.,) dedicated exclusively to feature programs related to Telugu movies.

Currently, about 150 Telugu films are released every year with approximately 3 productions every week. Just like any other cinema industry, the Telugu film industry produces all genres of cinema. In 2005, the annual turnover reached Rs.2,550 million ticket sales of 160 crores.


Box office collections

The Telugu film industry accounts for 1% of the gross domestic product of Andhra Pradesh.[2]. There is a fair amount of dispersion amongst the Indian film industries.All most all the popular tamil flims are subsequently dubbed in telugu and some of those Telugu dubbed Tamil films such as Chandramukhi, Anniyan are very successful with the Telugu audience and in fact they competes the direct Telugu Films during the time of their release. Some of the famous Tamil directors (such as Shankar, Maniratnam, and Gautham Menon's) films are all available in Telugu and they are simultaneously released in Telugu after their original Tamil release. Many successful Telugu films have been remade by the Hindi and Tamil film industries. Tollywood has also remade a fair number of Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, kannada and other language films. Nowadays most Telugu films are subsequently dubbed into Malayalam on release. In the last 2 years, about 30 Telugu films were simultaneously released in Malayalam. Given below is a table of box office collections of Telugu Film Industry with figures in millions of Indian Rupees and United States Dollars.

Year Telugu Box Office(in Million Rs.)[3] In USD Millions
1980 819 18
1985 1,526 34
1990 3,333 74
1995 7,985 177
2000 14,011 311
2005 23,044 512


The state of Andhra Pradesh has more than 3700 Cinema theatres, of which 200 are in the city of Hyderabad alone. The Telugu[4] film distribution is divided into 12 areas:-

Area Districts
Nizam Hyderabad
Nizamabad (Induru)
Warangal (orugallu)(Ekasila Nagaram)
Mahabubnagar (Palamuru)
Karimnagar (Srirampuru)
Raichur (Karnataka)
Rayalaseema Kurnool
Bellary (Karnataka)
Guntur Guntur
East Godavari
West Godavari
Vizag Visakhapatnam


Early development: 1912–1930

The Telugu film industry originated with the silent film in 1912, with the production of Bhisma Pratighna. The film was directed by Raghupathi Venkaiah and his son R.S. Prakash.[5] The two would go on to produce and direct dozens of films throughout the decade, casting theater actors in major roles[6]. They established a long-lasting precedent of focusing exclusively on religious themes; Nandanar[7], Gajendra Moksham, and Matsyavatar, three of their most famous productions, centered on religious figures, parables, and morals[8].

Rise of the Talkie: 1931–1947

A still from film, Bhakta Prahlada (1931)

In 1931, the first Telugu film with audible dialogue, Bhakta Prahlada, was produced by H.M. Reddy[9]. Popularly known as 'talkies', films with sound quickly grew in number and fanbase. In 1934, the industry saw its first major commercial success with Lavakusa. Directed by C. Pullaiah and starring Parupalli Subbarao and Sriranjani in lead roles, the film attracted unprecedented numbers of viewers to theaters and thrust the young film industry into mainstream culture[10].

Though it is celebration time for talkies, can we forget the efforts of pioneers like Dhundiraj Govind Phalke better known as Dadasaheb Phalke who made India's first silent film Raja Harischandra (1913) and R. G. Torney or our own Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu, his son R.S. Prakash and C. Pulliah who made cinema popular during the silent era taking film rolls and projectors exhibiting films in nook and corner of the South? Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu hailed as father of Telugu cinema or Father of Tollywood is the first exhibitor in the South. He bought crono-megaphone, the first projector equipped to reproduce `sound' by disk system and exhibited short reels way back in 1910. He travelled all over the South and in Burma and Ceylon. Venkaiah established Star of East studios known as glass studio to produce silent films.

The success of Alam Ara made Irani to diversify into regional language productions in Telugu and Tamil the same year. It was Ardeshir Irani's associate Hanumantha Muniappa Reddy who directed Bhakta Prahalada and was released six weeks ahead of the first Tamil Talkie, Kalidas that Reddy himself directed with a mixed cast of Telugu, Tamil and Hindi actors. Bhakta Prahlada had an all-Telugu starcast featuring Munipalle Subbiah as Hiranyakasipa and Surabhi Kamalabai as Leelavathy. Both the films were made in Bombay. By 1936, the mass appeal of film allowed directors to move away from religious and mythological themes.[10] That year, under the direction of Krithiventi Nageswara Rao, Prema Vijayam, a film focusing on social issues, was released. Its success prompted the production of dozens of other immensely successful 'social films', notably 1939's Vandemataram and Maala Pilla. Touching on societal problems like the status of Untouchables and the practice of giving dowry, Telugu films increasingly focused on contemporary living: twenty-nine of the ninety-six films released between 1937 and 1947 had social themes[11].

15 September 1931 saw the release of the first Telugu talkie Bhakta Prahalada in Crown in Kakinada, Maruthi in Vijayawada, Gaiety in Madras and Minerva in Machlipatnam. Just a few months earlier, on 14 March 1931, the first Indian talkie film, Alam Ara was released at Majestic Cinema, Bombay and in other parts of the country including Maruthi Talkies, Vijayawada. People thronged the cinema halls where it was exhibited. With its box office success the country's first black marketeering in cinema tickets began with a four anna (a quarter of a rupee) ticket getting sold for Rs. 4 or 5!

Another doyen, C. Pullaiah after gaining experience in the cinematic art, purchased a second hand movie camera in 1924 in Bombay returned to native Kakinada with an intention to make films in Andhra soil. He shot a thousand feet silent film, Markandeya, with himself cast as Yama and made the film with so many indigenous methods and projected the film on a white washed wall in his house to the amazement of his friends through the very same camera with which he shot the film. He used to call cinema as Goda Meedi Bomma. It was C. Pullaiah who gave Telugu cinema's first super duper hit, Lavakusa (1934) starring Parupalli Subbarao and Sriranjani (Sr.). It was his second feature film (Savithri his first talkie film was made a year before with Ramathilakam and Gaggaiah was a hit too. Interestingly there were two Savithris and two Ramadasus in 1933). People flocked to the theatres from near by villages in bullock carts to see Lavakusa. History repeated when C. Pullaiah and his son C. S. Rao remade the film in 1963 with N. T. Rama Rao and Anjali Devi. At a time when the market was flooded with mythological films, Indian Art Cine tone attempted a social, Prema Vijayam (1936) directed by Krithiventi Nageswara Rao. However, the success of reformist filmmaker Gudavalli Ramabrahmam's Malapilla (1938) starring Dr. Govindarajula Subbarao and Kanchanamala and Rythubidda (1939) with Ballari Raghava and Suryakumari gave an impetus to Y.V. Rao, B.N. Reddy and others to produce films on social themes.

The outbreak of World War II and the subsequent resource scarcity caused the British Raj to impose a limit on the use of filmstrip in 1943 to 11,000 feet[12], a sharp reduction from the 20,000 feet that was common till then[13]. As a result, the number of films produced during the War was substantially lower than in previous years. Nonetheless, prior to the ban, an important shift occurred in the industry: independent studios formed, actors and actresses were signed to contracts limiting who they could work for, and films moved from social themes to folklore legends[14]. 1942's Balanagamma typified these changes: the film featured fantasy elements of cultural lore, was produced by Gemini Studios, and its producers added a restricting clause to the lead actress' contract. By 1947, nearly all films were produced by studios with contracted actors.Till date 11567 films are made. More than 50 telugu films so far are remade or dubbed into other Indian languages List of films remade or dubbed from the Telugu language. More Info.


Telugu films, which have won the National Film Award.

  • Saptapadi, National award for best film on national integration (directed by K. Vishwanath)
  • Rudraveena, National award for best film on national integration (directed by K. Balachander)
  • Hope, National award for best film on social issues (directed by Satish Kasetty)
  • Sankarabharanam, National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment (directed by K. Vishwanath)


(1 crore = 10,000,000 rupees, approximately US$250,124.68 on 24 February 2008.)

The budgets for Telugu movies typically range between 5-15 crores per film. Pre-lease revenues for popular films can range between 12-20 crores per film and post-release business for these movies can be around 25-40 crores depending on the success of the movie. Singers: Telugu film industry has the reputation of producing many singers like Ghantasala, P.Suseela, S.Janaki, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and many others. S.P.B holds the record singing maximum number of songs (40000 songs approximately).[citation needed]


Most Popular Tollywood Site Telugu Movie Reviews The Genuine Telugu Cinema Website


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