A fascination to essay messiah roles hasn’t augured well for T-town actors, as their movies have failed to recover the huge investments and have cost the producer a lot of money. Even having superstars like Chiranjeevi, Rajinikanth, Mahesh Babu, Jr NTR and Allu Arjun has not been enough to save the movies and these flops have raised doubts about the commercial viability of such roles in T-town.
Allu Arjun had great opening collections for Badrinath. However, though he was impressive as a sword-wielding warrior and gave a fiery performance, the contrived plot did not sit well with the audience and the collections are already dipping.
Recently, reigning star Jr NTR also dabbled in a similar movie and burnt his hands. He essayed the role of a “protector” of the sacred Shakti Peetam situated in Hampi, but the plot went awry and audiences gave it a thumbs down. It cost the producer a lot of money. “It was not just the messiah role, many other things did not jell with the storyline,” says Ileana, Jr NTR’s co-star in Shakti. Then there was Mahesh Babu’s Mahesh Khaleja, which also drew initial crowds but couldn’t sustain it. “Expectations are a big issue, every fan imagines how the story is going to go and when it doesn’t go that way, then there is a problem,” reasons Mahesh Babu.
The same story holds true for Rajinikanth’s role in Baba and Venkatesh’s Deviputrudu. Ace producer M.S. Raju defends Deviputrudu, saying, “I couldn’t do proper justice to Deviputrudu as there were a few glitches and I had to rush to finish it,” he reasons. Even superstar Chiranjeevi did not succeed with his much-hyped Anji. Director Kodi Ramakrishna says, “Attempting films with a devotional touch is a daunting task. To not upset religious sentiments and to make the characters believable demands a fine balancing act.”