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The rising Directors article

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Posted: 25 January 2013 at 4:02am | IP Logged

With T-town's top directors taking home pay cheques as big as 15 crores, budgets are getting bigger than ever in the film industry

Karthik Pasupulate

   Director Rajamouli's magnum opus, tentatively titled Bahubali, has become the toast of T-Town at the moment. Tipped to be the most expensive film ever in Tollywood, with a reported budget of 70 crore, (more than double the budget of Eega!) the film has already begun on a "record" note! But what's most interesting is that director Rajamouli will be taking home the biggest pay cheque speculated to be around 15 crore! This is perhaps for the first time in Telugu cinema that the director will be getting paid more than the "hero" for a movie.
   Though this pay structure is unprecedented, it was just a matter of time before it was going to happen. "The top four directors Sreenu Vaitla, Trivikram Srinivas, Puri Jagannadh and Rajamouli charge in excess of 10 crore per film, which is just a couple of crores lesser than the remuneration charged by the likes of Mahesh Babu and Pawan Kalyan, who are the highest paid actors in Tollywood at the moment," declares a producer, on the condition of anonymity.
   Interestingly, there was once a time in Tollywood when the directors called all the shots in Telugu cinema. But since the emergence of superstars, the tables turned in the favour of the stars, points out film historian Harikrishna Mamidi. "In the initial days, the director was the undisputed captain of the ship. Legendary directors like BN Reddy, LV Prasad, Adurthi Subba Rao, V Madhusudhan Rao commanded more respect than the lead actors. But gradually, the emergence of star culture with the advent of actors like NTR, ANR, Krishna, changed the equations. Looks, like it's a case of history repeating itself now. With the success rates of the films standing at about 10-15 per cent, the phenomenal success rates of filmmakers like Rajamouli, Trivikram Srinivas, Srinu Vaitla has contributed to the trend," explains Harikrishna Mamidi
President of the Film Chamber of Commerce, Tammareddy Bharadwaja, explains that the directors are paid so much because they get the stars on board. "It is stars that draw the crowds to the theatres no doubt, but the stars come on board only when there is a big ticket director," says Tammareddy. However, he isn't sure this business model augurs well for the industry in the long run. The spiralling budgets of Telugu films are mainly due to the rising remunerations of star directors and actors and not because of the technicalities of filmmaking. The percentage of total budgets being paid to the lead actors and directors has gone up from 35% to almost 50%. "More than 50% of the budget of a big ticket film goes into these remunerations. As a result, we have just a few people getting rich without the money going back into the industry. It is too top heavy and is not good for business," he adds.

SS Rajamouli

Sreenu Vaitla

Trivikram Srinivas

Puri Jagannadh

A still from

A still from

NTR in Baadshah

A still from

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