Tollywood is looking different now. The movies of Krishnudu(Vinayakudu) and Nikhil(Yuvatha) become hits in tollywood.
They are not what you'd call conventionally handsome and they don't come with the prescribed six-pack abs or bulging biceps. But they are heroes nonetheless, and if BO-collections and audience reactions are anything to go by, they are the ones creating a niche for the actors who don't rely on the 'good-looking' formula. You have to be good-looking or you can't be a hero. That's almost a rule across all Indian film industries and Tollywood is no exception. But with actors like Krishnudu and Nikhil finding popularity, that equation looks set for a change. Vinayakudu received favourable response from day one and gradually raked in the moolah too. Krishnudu, playing the lead in the 'big fat love story' has not only endeared himself to the audience, but also breaks the myth that the pretty girl always falls for the handsome hunk strutting his stuff in a tight t-shirt or proving his machismo by beating up a dozen goons! The actor who debuted with Happy Days wins the hand of his lady love (Sonia) in Vinayakudu with his innocence and uprightness instead. Even Nikhil of the Happy Days and Yuvatha fame doesn't fit into the conventional mould.
Time to ask if audiences are now rating talent over good looks. "Undoubtedly, this is a good beginning and if directors are able to create realistic characters, then this trend is here to stay," says a producer. Last year, the success of Yuvatha reiterated this fact. Though Nikhil doesn't fit into the mould of the 'chocolate hero,' his spirited performance wowed the audience. Ask Nikhil about the trend and he says, "Talented actors will last long but just good looks fade away after some time. I received favourable response and I hope this trend sustains."
Looking at the usual trend, Telugu cinema has largely thrived on handsome heroes, who also come with a good measure of machismo and action moves. From the legendary NTR to Mahesh Babu and Siddharth and even Allu Arjun, this trend continues unabated. However, it was in the 1980s when for the first, an actor with unconventional looks made a mark and rose to dizzying heights. We are of course talking about megastar Chiranjeevi. "Even other superstars like Rajinkinath and Shah Rukh Khan proved that audiences relate more to the talent than looks," says film critic Prasanna, who recalls an incident where "a now-legendary director arrived in Tollywood to become an actor. But a co-director rejected him since he wasn't conventionally good-looking." The move away from just the handsome hero, he adds, is a "welcome change." On our part, we hope this progressive trend inspires many a debutant who are short on looks but loaded with talent. Nikhil agrees, as he says, "I sincerely hope that your prediction turns true."