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Opinion: Music directors in Tollywood are put to toughest tests!


Mani Sharma is hurt. In his latest interview, the once-reigning composer sounds like a disappointed man waiting for opportunities from superstars. In recent years, he has only got to do small films except for Chiranjeevi's 'Acharya' and a few others like 'iSmart Shankar'. Otherwise, even Sri Charan Pakala and Bheems Ceciroleo are bigger than him.

"The likes of Pawan Kalyan and Mahesh Babu must try everyone out. If they give two films each to DSP and Thaman, they must work once with me at least," Mani Sharma said. The composer added that success (the ability to give excellent albums) alone matters in the industry. His son, Mahati Swara Sagar, composed music for 'Bholaa Shankar'. The album was a flop and he has been struggling ever since.

Mani Sharma's interview is a sad reminder that music directors in Telugu cinema are dispensable after they are past their prime. Others continue to land opportunities despite recurring mediocrity.

In Tollywood, mass films and big-budget commercial entertainers demand the best from composers. That's the standard set by Mani Sharma himself with his 2000s-era movies like 'Okkadu', 'Narasimha Naidu', 'Indra', 'Tagore', 'Kushi', 'Gudumba Shankar' and 'Chirutha', among others. Once his films like 'Atithi' flopped, he was replaced by Devi Sri Prasad. Once DSP seemed to lose the game in the late 2010s, he was replaced by Thaman. Once Thaman fails to give his best a few years down the line (that's inevitable, given his workload), the search for some other talent will begin immediately.

This is not the case in Tamil and Hindi cinema to an extent. In Bollywood, a lot of songs in even the biggest movies are just average. That's why the songs of 'Pushpa' were loved more by the Hindi audience than the Telugu audience. In Tamil, even the likes of Anirudh compose pretty average songs (by Telugu film industry standards). The likes of Yuvan Shankar Raja and Harris Jayaraj are well past their prime. Sam CS and GV Prakash Kumar are known more for their BGM rather than their songs. Most of them continue to be in the game.

If Mani Sharma was a Kollywoodian, he would still be a sought-after name there. In Telugu cinema, he has no such luck!