Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Familiarity Breeds Actors

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com


In the almost eighty year history of cinema we have cultivated the habit of watching performances from familiar names, especially form male actors. The great names of Akkineni and Nandamuri and Krishna, Shobhan Babu were weekly providers of melodrama and happiness to millions of fans. When these veterans stopped (except Krishna) Chiranjeevi and others entered entertainment scene and have continued to supply us with entertainment. Now we have a host of actors who come into our screens due to their lineage. Cinema continues to be a major pastime for our people even in this age of internet and television, and multiple other newly acquired entertainment venues.

The control of production and distribution channels plays a major role in bringing a movie to the market. Some of the new actors have advantages of their family name which other newcomers don’t have which certainly removes the barriers to entry for a movie hero, irrespective of their talent. The big budget produces and studios have their own homes to look for next generation of actors, and typically fund projects to promote their own kin. With the financial risk that represents each movie it is probably looked as safe to bet on their previous glory and their own family is a better hedge then investing big money into new and unknown talent?

There is no denying the fact that new actors and unfamiliar faces are sometimes successful in the movie business. But the big names dominate the print and media when they deliver even moderate success. The hype surrounding entry of a son or grandson or a nephew of a recognized name creates hysteria within the media channels, which clamor for every detail of the entrants abilities and often compared to their father’s or uncles who have a life time of achievement. Often times the new comers talent is rarely questioned due to the predecessor’s successful career and the clout of their fan base. Sometimes even before the scion’s first movie release, they are given huge titles that represent their father’s work and promoted with huge fanfare for a startup aspirant.

The dominance with access to exhibiting facilities determines the screens needed for successful collections. The new multiplexes also pay a role in bringing crowds to watch movies. The established actors and their producers control majority of good theaters in the state and with their families churning out actors who automatically get great exhibition for their movies.

The automatic preference of media and publicity to the known names is understandable due to the continued presence of the father’s in the limelight and sons and nephews coming into acting. The media’s following of the generations of actors continue to the newer generation, and the newness and inexperience of the actors is bestowed on the fans with the generational greatness. It is simple to ask people to carry the burden of legacy in both films and politics. People embrace familiar names without prejudice and support the new generation.

The name recognition of the master’s is automatic, and draws great numbers to expect the same magic that was produced in 100’s of movies. The past generation of actors performed in multiple movies at a time, and still maintained absolute magic on the audiences. There are instances when actors had a new movie out every month and still each of these movies attracted audiences. The numerous fan associations of each actor rejoiced every movie and mannerisms of their idol each and every time. One hundred day screening of a movie was a normal celebration and it was expected with each movie the hero acted in. The more movies every year from the hero the more we wanted.

The adoration we have for the legends of cinema is passed on to the new entrants with old names. As we keep our family tree in sacred regard, so goes the fans response to their hero’s progeny, and expectations of continued brilliance on screen. With today’s continuous coverage it is not impossible to keep these new generations scion visible and constantly promoted.

The need for entertainment outweighs the quality of the product. We hope the new generation of actors will perform to standards set by the legends of our cinema, and will continue to wish for the golden days of our cinema. With new breed of directors, wonderful foreign locals, graphics and a host of technology advancements and musical advancements, and should provide reasonable support structure to deliver quality entertainment. After a few attempts the new actors will have to deliver on their own irrespective of the name they carry with them. With the choices of projects and growing numbers with familiar names, it will be the rule to perform or perish. While the historical performances of the seniors is often remembered and cherished, there is a long time to come before the new entrants can be placed in the same pedestal that their fathers occupy. For the sake of entertainment and happiness, it is wonderful to keep hearing the same names, while wishing for the same quality of entertainment.

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