Dissecting Tollywood Box Office!

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One of the biggest issues that is affecting Tollywood these days is that of movie ratings. These ratings, irrespective of how good or bad a movie is, affect its collections across the world. Of late, the set of audience based in India chose to move ahead of this over-hyped world of ratings. They want to have their freedom in judging a film without being dependent on somebody else’s view.

However, audience in the overseas market are still dependent on these ratings to watch any film. The first day collections for most films would naturally be good because of the hype it might have received. That is when these self-proclaimed critics drop the bomb of ratings and give out verdicts like they were wearing the black cap! These ratings are given by those people who speak from their own mind, not from the neutral perspective. As a result, the overseas collections of the film are deeply affected, naturally reflecting upon the gross total. If these so called ‘critics’ like the film, the filmmakers can sleep in peace. If at all they do not like the film, then good luck to the movie team!

Take for example, a movie like Akhil‘s Hello. With Kalyani Priyadarshan in the female lead role, this movie hit the big screens on the 22nd of December 2017. After the trailer and the audio album, cine fans showed interest in watching Hello. Naturally, the premiere shows and the first weekend shows collected a good amount of shares in both the Telugu speaking states and the overseas market. Surprisingly, the critics gave a good rating for Hello, as a result of which more of the US audience ended up watching the film. Audience from the Telugu states however did not like the movie, hence the poor collections in India after the first weekend.

On the other hand, Nanis MCA released during the same time on the 21st of December 2018. The movie became a blockbuster in India and stood as the best movie in Nani’s career. However, the critics across different sites gave a bad rating for this film. As a result, the overseas collections of MCA were very poor when compared to Hello.

This clearly shows how much the overseas audience are stuck in the world of ratings. Their sense of judgment is still constricted because they depend so much on what these critics say.

On the other hand, there are movies like Megastar Chiranjeevi‘s Khaidi No.150 and Pawan Kalyan‘s Katamarayudu. These are movies that feature actors with a HUGE fanbase. Both these movies became a blockbuster across the world despite their ratings. Indian audience did not even bother to look at the ratings since it was their idol on screen. In the overseas market, the movie ran well for the first weekend after which it started declining because of the ratings, despite the star cast.

Young Tiger Jr. NTR’s Janatha Garage is another big example. The critics did not give a very good rating for this film. Yet, this film went on to become a blockbuster hit and one of the best movies in Tarak’s career.

What we can understand from this is that the US audience depend on 2 factors – star cast and ratings, both of which directly impact the producers of the film. The one thing they do not depend on is self judgment.


This is an issue that even actors and filmmakers have started addressing. After the release of Allu Arjun‘s Duvvada Jagannadam (DJ,) director Harish Shankar got very emotional and trashed the review writers in one of his speeches. Naturally, this speech of his lead to a huge controversy. What Harish meant, was these review writers and their ratings are deeply affecting the entire team who actually worked hard for months together in making the film and marketing it. In his words, people in the US cannot really afford to go to the theater and watch every second movie to make their own judgment. So when these critics condemn a film, audience overseas tend to not watch the film.

Young Tiger Jr. NTR also had something to say about this issue. Post the release of his blockbuster hit, Jai Lava Kusa, Tarak compared these writers to doctors in his speech. In his words, these writers are in as critical a position as a doctor who is treating a patient in the ICU. They have to be cautious about what they say since their one number could make or break the entire film.

So we conducted a poll across various social media platforms to see what could be the driving factor for the Indian audience to watch a film – personal instinct and star power or review ratings. Below mentioned in a graph format is an average of their response across platforms.

Click here for the polls on Twitter and Facebook.

From these graphs we can see that the Indian based audience depend on their personal instinct about a movie or because of the star cast rather than on review ratings. The issue of ratings is more predominant in the overseas market. It is high time the US based audience step out of this ratings zone and make calls of their own.

However, in the Indian scenario, there is a flip. Despite receiving good numbers from critics, there are a lot of films that failed to make it big at the box office.


S.No Movie Average Rating
Hit or Flop based on collections
1` Ishq 3.25 Hit
2 Krishnam Vandhe Jagathguru 3.5 Flop
3 Yeto Vellipoyindi Manasu 3 Flop
4 Prema Ishq Kaadhal 2.5 Flop
5 Swamy..Ra..Ra.. 3.25 Hit
6 Rowdy Fellow 2.75 Flop
7 Run Raja Run 3.25 Hit
8 Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju 3 Hit
9 Raghuvaran B.Tech 3 Average
10 Subramanyam For Sale 3.25 Average
11 Yevade Subramanyam 3 Average
12 Jandapai kapiraju 2.75 Flop
13 Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo 3 Flop
14 Krishna Gadi Veera Prema Gaadha 3.25 Hit
15 Awe 3.75 Average

Filmmakers put in a lot of effort to make one movie. Not just them, even the audience actually invest their precious time and hard earned money to go watch the movie. In such a scenario, it is very unfair that these critics pop out of no where and drop these numbers!

At the end of the day, it is the business of cinema that matters. Everything else, be it reviews and ratings or audience response, takes a back step. The only factor that matters and decides the fate of the film, is its collections!


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