Tollywood Cashing on YAMA sentiment


Yama, the lord of death may bring sorrow to most but mana Telugu filmmakers have been relying on him to help them laugh all the way to the bank. Yama has been immortalised in more than 10 films, from N.T. Rama Rao’s Yamagola (which turned into one of the biggest blockbusters of the 70’s) to Junior NTR’s Yamadonga that raked in the moolah.

Whether his popularity is due to the cinematic liberties filmmakers can irreverently take with him or the Telugu audience’s love for socio-fantasy, the Indian Grim-Reaper is a certified crowd puller as proven by the recent film, Bramhalokam to Yamalokam via Bhoolokam starring Rajendra Prasad, Jayaprakash Reddy and Sivaji which collected Rs 50 lakh in four days.

“We can’t take liberties with any other god or a significant part of the audience will take offence and won’t turn up. Yama is the natural choice for socio-fantasy stories,” says actor AVS who played Chitragupta in movies.

Filmmakers claim that producers can rely on Yama to bring in the bucks, “Yama, Lord of dharma, takes lives and is beyond human control. Films click when audiences see their fantasies fulfilled so we trouble Yama, bring him to earth and have the protagonist defeat him with a twist in the story. Voila, you have a hit!” says Gollapati Nageswara Rao, writer and director of latest release Bramhalokam to Yamalokam.

Now several stars have come to believe that doing a film with the god of death will resurrect their careers. Eager to cash in on the Yama factor, directors have titled their movies Yamagola, Yamudiki Mogudu, Yamadonga, Yamagola malli Modalaindi amongst others.

Filmmakers love to draw inspiration from the character of Yama with comic foibles and silly problems, like unfamiliarity with technology, during his journey on earth. “Yama is used in our movies as a dignified toy. Even when he is confused with material advancements on earth, we ensure it is presented with dignity. The audience’s sentiments are not hurt. A movie with Yama is a sure shot hit formula,” says S.V. Krishna Reddy, who made Yamaleela.

Senior film critics and purists who raise objections to religious manifestations used as humour in films attribute the spate of Yama films to the copycat syndrome. “If one movie clicks, our filmmakers produce many similar ones. But it is derogatory to see a god in trouble due to mortals,” says Sharath Kumar, well known film critic.

Courtesy - DC

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