The Top Five Telugu Films Of 2011
This year saw many big budget films with big stars not doing well at the box office while movies made on smaller budgets with meaningful and sensitive storylines captured the attention of audiences.
Here's our selection of the five best Telugu films of this year:
Cast: Nandamuri Balakrishna, Nayanathara, Akkineni Nageswara Rao (ANR)
This Bapu-Mullapudi Venkataramana mythological brought back the epic tale to the Telugu screen. Produced by Yalamanchili Saibabu at a whopping budget, Sriramarajyam had all the grandeur in terms of gigantic darbar sets and the simplicity of the Valmiki Ashram at the same time.
The film, which narrated the episode from the Uttarakhanda of the Ramayana -- the agony of Rama's separation from Sita, the birth of Lava-Kusa in Valmiki Ashram to the Ashwamedha Yagna and Rama's final reunion with the twins had mellifluous music (also excellent background score) composed by maestro Ilayaraja which enhanced the story telling too.
Besides the high technical values of the film (including the brilliant graphics), the performances by ANR, Balakrishna and Nayanathara stood out.
Image: A scene from Sriramarajyam
Cast: Nani, Nithya Menen, Ashish Vidyarthi
Director: Nandini Reddy
First-time director Nandini Reddy gave us this lively film packed with a kaleidoscope of emotions. A fun and entertaining ride, Ala Modalaindi had all the staple commercial ingredients but the approach was fresh.
Good, natural acting by Nani and Nithya, and the crackling chemistry between them, added to the film's attraction. Nandini scored full points in this film which rocked the box office.
Image: A scene from Ala Modalaindi
Golconda High School
Cast: Sumanth, Swati, Subbaraju
Director: Indraganti Mohankrishna
Based on the book The Men Within by Harimohan Paruvu, Indraganti Mohankrishna gets full marks for crafting a film with a gripping narrative and entertaining screenplay.
The director was aided by superb technical support from Senthil Kumar, whose camera work is terrific, Shravan Katikaneni's tight editing, and Ravinder's art direction.The brilliant, understated acting by Sumanth and the boys who form the cricket team make the movie worth watching. Producer Rammohan should be lauded for producing such a film.
Image: A scene from Golconda High School
Cast: Akkineni Nagarjuna, Prakash Raj, Dr Bharath Reddy, Sana Khan
This bi-lingual (Telugu, Tamil) film is an edge-of-the-seat thriller about a hijack. Director Radhamohan fills this riveting film with suspense and laces it with humour to keep the audience hooked.
Radhamohan's research enabled him to bring in some interesting issues. His choice of Nagarjuna to play an NSG commando and Prakash Raj as the home secretary was prefect and both gave brilliant performances.
Image: A scene from Gaganam
Cast: Srikanth, Ajay, Kamal Kamaraju, Kamalinee Mukherjee
Director Neelakantha chose Naxalism as the backdrop to this hard-hitting film. Virodhi depicted the emotional journey of a few characters in a realistic way. The director was neutral in his portrayal of Naxalism and did not dwell on the ideological moorings too much.
Virodhi was a contemporary and meaningful tale marked by good and natural performances. It was shot brilliantly by H.H. Ramachandra who imparted it a raw, edgy feel.
Virodhi was the only Telugu film to be selected for the Indian Panorama at the International Film Festival of India, Goa held this November.
Image: A scene from Virodhi