Success meets just three days after a film releases, claims of record-breaking overseas collections and announcements of unbelievable box office openings seem to be the new publicity stunts in T-Town. 

Irrespective of the film's fate at the BO, producers are going on record, making tall claims. And amidst all the media blitzkrieg, it is hard to figure out which film is doing well and which one is being hyped. 

In the recent past, "Badrinath" announced that it collected `16 crore in three days, while "Oosaravelli" producer BVSN Prasad stated that his film collected `56 crore in the first week itself. Superstar Mahesh posted on a social networking site that "Dookudu" is officially the highest grosser so far in the Telugu film industry (reports say that the film grossed a whopping `83.15 crore). Are all this claims true or are they just publicity gimmicks? 

Fake figures "Most of these records are false and this is nothing but a ploy to lure audiences by creating a hype," says filmmaker Thammareddy Bharadwaj. "If the film collects more than `50 crore, then the producer has to pay commensurate commercial tax to the government. Maybe it would benefit government officials to crosscheck if producers are indeed paying taxes for the amounts they are publicly declaring," he adds. But even here, producers have been able to work their way out. Award-winning filmmaker Chandra Siddharth says, "I've heard of the commercial tax officials questioning producers about the tax when they claim their films collect huge amounts. But the producers apparently told them that it's a marketing strategy!" reveals Chandra Siddharth. 

Star rivalry Marketing strategies apart, much of the film's hype is also about star rivalry. According to sources the makers of "Dookudu" were bent on beating the "Magadheera" record. "Ram Charan's film ran for 50 days in 301 centers and the makers of "Dookudu" wanted to break that record and they claim that their film ran in 302 centers!" Similarly when "Dookudu" went about claiming that its overseas collections were `8 crore in 10 days, immediately "Oosaravelli" too joined the race, claiming they had `9.10 crore in just seven days. Most of these records are marketing gimmicks and it's clearly a game of one-upmanship, says Siddharth. Agreeing with him Tammareddy says, "None of these records are official. 

We do not have an organization or a film body that maintains these records." Vijayender Reddy, president of AP Exhibitors Association too feels that these records are not 100 per cent true. "I know many instances where stars had forced producers to run their films in theaters for the sake of records. They were pressurized to run the film for 50 days or 100 days despite few footfalls. 

Fan factor Apart from the producers and the stars themselves, even fans have a role to play in perpetuating this unhealthy practice. Thammareddy Bharadwaj reveals, "Telugu film stars have a huge fan following. If the film does not run to a full house, there are instances of fans shelling out money from their pockets to make the show houseful. Such is the fan frenzy." "I think stars have an important role to play in dissuading their fans from doing so," he opines. 

Success meets? Another fad in T-town these days is holding success meets just three days after the film's release. Commenting on this trend, Siddharth says, "Earlier, in the Telugu film industry, films were declared a hit if they ran for 100 days. Nowadays it is different." And according to our source, the bigger the flop, the sooner the success meet is held. "It's the producers way of making some money by selling the event to TV channels!" he reveals. 

Source :  TOI



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