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What unites 'Waltair Veerayya' and 'Salaar'...


Going by on-ground reports this Friday, 'Salaar' is on its way to becoming a money spinner at the Telugu box office. The same can't be said about the Hindi box office, though. The jury is out on Salaar's performance in non-Telugu languages. So, let's wait and watch!

On the face of it, the Telugu audience are gratified by the action drama. While 'Salaar' may not have satisfied everyone, a majority of the cinema-crazy Telugu cine-goers feel that the film gives a bang for the buck.

To be sure, 'Salaar' is not an out-of-the-box actioner like 'KGF'. In the 'KGF' movies, the world-building and screenplay style were refreshingly inventive. The ideas were all exaggerated and extravagant. The mother in the 'KGF' movies wanted gold. In 'Salaar', she just wants her son to stay away from violence. The villains there were single-mindedly ambitious. They were not typical lowly cinema thugs who were into sexual abuse. In 'Salaar', women characters and girl brides constantly face the threat of sexual assault. This dated idea is deployed as a catalyst to bring heroism to the fore. At least one negative character (played by John Vijay) laughs maniacally like a sadistic mafia don in '90s movies.

One can go on and on.

Then, what explains the mania surrounding 'Salaar'? Hunger for the genre. The audience have been hungry to watch Prabhas in a contemporary action drama with larger-than-life action and bloodshed. 'Saaho' was supposed to be the answer. 'Radhe Shyam' was a patently wrong choice. 'Adipurush' belonged to a whole different genre altogether. Had Prabhas' previous three movies succeeded AND had new-age action thrillers not created an appetite for gory action sequences, 'Salaar' wouldn't have been loved this much today despite its many obvious drawbacks (including sub-par songs and below-average performances by everyone barring its two male stars).

This is reminiscent of the amount of craze enjoyed by 'Waltair Veerayya'. The Sankranthi release had Chiranjeevi in a film with the right genre. 'Godfather' was a remake. 'Khaidi No. 150' was a remake. 'Sye Raa' was a period biographical action drama. 'Acharya' had dull action scenes and a laidback, sleepy feel where Chiru behaved like a man wedded to dignified behaviour. 'Waltair Veerayya' came as the answer. Chiru behaved like a reckless mass hero who joked, took jokes upon himself and danced with gay abandon. A lot of elements in the film were routine. The execution was far from perfect. But the film belonged to the right genre. That's where half the battle was won.

'Salaar' and 'Waltair Veerayya' are proof that the audience's thirst for some genres has to be quenched with the right hero at the helm. Not everyone can do it. You need the right director and producer more than the right story.

For Pawan Kalyan, it is going to be 'OG' and 'Ustaad Bhagat Singh' and definitely not 'Hari Hara Veera Mallu'. For SRK in Hindi, it was 'Pathaan' and 'Jawan' and definitely not 'Fan', 'Zero' and 'Dunki'. Cast our superstars in the right genres and laugh your way to the bank!