Telugu cinema soared to new heights in 2017 and the worldwide success of SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali: The Conclusion (Baahubali 2) was a watershed moment for the industry. Last year, theaters across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana registered record footfalls with plenty of films drawing huge crowds, and there’s every reason to believe that this sense of euphoria will prevail in 2018 as well. And the first film that’s set to get the ball rolling is Pawan Kalyan, Trivikram Srinivas’ Agnyaathavaasi which is due for release on 10 January. Meanwhile, megastar Chiranjeevi’s much-awaited Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy is still in its initial stages of production and buzz is that it might be ready for release only in 2019 given the extensive CGI and post-production the film requires to bring the 19th century imagery alive on big screen. But we couldn’t be more excited about the line up of Telugu films in 2018.
Five years after the blockbuster success of Atharintiki Daredhi, Pawan Kalyan and Trivikram Srinivas are back once again with a new family drama titled Agnyaathavaasi. The film’s has already piqued everyone’s curiosity with its pre-release hype and it also marks music director Anirudh Ravichander’s foray into Tollywood. Incidentally, rumors are rife that the film is inspired from a 2008 French film Largo Winch, and the makers have remained tight-lipped about it so far. Whatever it is, Agnyaathavaasi is expected to take an gargantuan opening at the box-office when it hits the screens on 10 January. With Pawan Kalyan promising to entertain the audience throughout the film, along with Keerthy Suresh, Anu Emmanuel, Boman Irani, Kushboo, Rao Ramesh and Murali Sharma, we expect nothing short of a blockbuster from this dream team.
Post the worldwide success of Baahubali 2, which has been a defining moment in Prabhas’ career, the buzz surrounding his upcoming trilingual film Saaho is palpable. Directed by Sujeeth, the action thriller will reportedly have stunt sequences, which have never been seen before in Indian cinema. With acclaimed action choreographer Kenny Bates on-board to supervise the action sequences, Saaho might very well encapsulate the adrenaline rush we hope to see from this Prabhas, Shraddha Kapoor and Neil Nitin Mukesh starrer. The film will soon be shot in Dubai, and the team is aiming to release the film in the second half of 2018.
Sukumar’s upcoming film Rangasthalam, starring Ram Charan and Samantha, is the dark horse among all the biggies lined up for release this year. Sukumar’s penchant to delve into complex narratives, so far, has been in stark contrast with what the filmography of Ram Charan. And considering that the film is set in the 80s, in the hinterlands of Andhra Pradesh, it makes us wonder how these two, who hail from different schools of thought, managed to find a common ground. Throughout the film’s shoot in recent times, Ram Charan has been sharing pictures of the village set and long-forgotten performing arts. It’s going to be a trip down the memory lane without a shadow of doubt.
Naa Peru Surya
Allu Arjun’s makeover for Vakkantham Vamsi’s Naa Peru Surya was just the tip of the iceberg. The actor has donned the avatar of a soldier, who has anger issues, in this action drama and it has already become one of the most discussed films in recent times. Post the success of DJ and Sarrainodu, Allu Arjun seems to have shifted gears effortlessly to take us all by surprise. What exactly has Allu Arjun done in the film? We’ll find out in April.
Bharath Ane Nenu
Mahesh Babu starrer Bharath Ane Nenu, directed by Koratala Siva, has all the trappings of an intense political drama, which will reportedly highlight issues that people face and how the government functions. With Mahesh Babu himself playing the role of a state’s Chief Minister, we can’t help but wonder if it’s going to be Telugu cinema’s answer to Shankar’s Mudhalvan. Kiara Advani is making her debut as a lead actress in Telugu with this film.
The life of legendary actress Savitri has been the subject of intense discussion among several scholars, writers, and movie buffs over the past few decades. Now, Nag Ashwin, who had earlier made Yevade Subramanyam, is bringing alive the story of the ‘Mahanati’ in Telugu and Tamil. With actors like Mohan Babu, Dulquer Salmaan, Samantha, Prakash Raj, Vijay Devarakonda, Malavika Nair, and Shalini Pandey playing some of the most important characters in the film, Mahanati has all the star-power, but it’s Keerthy Suresh’s transformation as Savitri that has already become the film’s USP.
NTR Jr and Trivikram Srinivas have been planning to collaborate for a while now, and it’s finally going to shape up in 2018. The film is expected to go on floors shortly and it could release in the last quarter of the year. While both NTR and Trivikram have been mum about what they are going to work on, all we know for now is that NTR Jr will be sporting a brand new look.
2018 will see plenty of biopics on a wide range of subjects; however, no other film has garnered as much attention as the untitled Balakrishna’s film in Teja’s direction. The film is going to bring alive the story of Balakrishna’s father – Telugu cinema icon and former CM NT Rama Rao. With Balakrishna himself playing the lead character as NTR, the film is expected to add more fuel to the politically charged climate just ahead of the elections in Andhra Pradesh. Considering that it’s been one of Balakrishna’s dream projects over the years, the actor will go all guns blazing to glorify the life of his father even more.
2 Point O
Post Baahubali 2, the only other film that’s expected to be an unstoppable force at the box-office, across the nation, is Rajinikanth-Shankar’s 2 Point O. The sci-fi action drama, which also stars Amy Jackson and Akshay Kumar, is expected to have one of the biggest release ever for an Indian film. Rajinikanth will return to play two different roles including that of Chitti, a robot, and Akshay Kumar will be seen as his arch nemesis. Touted as the most expensive film ever in Indian cinema, 2 Point O has been made with a budget of over Rs 400 crores, and it’s slated for release in summer in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi. It will also be dubbed in several other foreign languages.
Ram Gopal Varma and Nagarjuna, who collaborated back in late 80s and 90s for films like Shiva, Antham and Govinda Govinda, are back once again for an action thriller which will see Nagarjuna playing an investigative cop. With Nagarjuna all excited about RGV’s script, this cop drama could be the change that all RGV’s fans have been desperately hoping for.
Apart from the biggies, there are plenty of other films that are expected to make a mark in 2018. One such film is Prashanth Varma’s Awe!, starring Nithya Menen, Kajal Aggarwal, Regina, Srinivas Avasarala among several others. With Nani and Ravi Teja giving voice-overs as a fish and bonsai tree respectively, the promises to be an unique experience.
Then, there’s Tamannaah starrer Queen; Kalyanram-Tamannaah-Jayendra-PC Sreeram’s romantic action thriller that could change Kalyanram’s onscreen image; Vijay Devarakonda’s film in Parasuram’s direction; Anushka’s thriller Bhaagmathie; Nani’s Krishnarjuna Yuddham in which he’s playing dual roles; Naga Chaitanya, Madhavan starrer Savyasachi to name a few. And we can’t wait to see Samantha playing an investigative journalist in Pawan Kumar’s supernatural thriller, a remake of acclaimed Kannada film U Turn. Another film that could spring a surprise is Mahi V Raghav’s next film, which is said to be inspired from the life of former CM Rajasekhar Reddy.
2017 taught us that you never know who might surprise you with their stories. And if the line-up for 2018 is anything to go by, we can’t wait to see what else is in store for us.