What is the greatest Tollywood film

Tollywood overtakes Bollywood

Films produced in the South Indian language Telugu in Hyderabad have for the first time overtaken the film city of Bollywood. But the "Italian of the East" is under pressure. The Congress politician Mandali Buddha Prasad holds against it.

We are sitting in Avanigadda, a small, dusty place in the delta of the Krishna River, in the election office of Mandali Buddha Prasad. Big gestures are alien to the tall, strong man. He does not speak much, but we are gradually learning that he is the offspring of one of the great families in the region who have long been devoted to the Congress Party. His father, a loyal Gandhian, was the first education minister of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, which was formed on the basis of the Telugu language, after the declaration of independence. Telugu is the third largest of India's 23 regional languages ​​after Hindi and Bengali and is spoken by well over 70 million people. The Italian explorer Niccoló Da Conti called Telugu the "Italian of the East" because of its special melody. The first known evidence goes back to the 2nd century BC. u. Z. back. Telugu literature saw its golden age in the 16th and 17th centuries. "But the first grammar of our not uncomplicated Dravidian language was created by a German," amazes the MP. As proof, he presents a copy of the title page, on which it can be read that the "Grammatica Telugica" was published in 1728 by Benjamin Schultze in Madras. Schultze, knows Buddha Prasad, was sent to India by the Danish-Halle Mission. In 1984 the Martin Luther University Halle reissued the work. Since then, the Telugu language has undergone various changes under the influence of Persian-Arabic (Muslim nizams ruled Hyderabad for a long time). Today it is spreading more than ever beyond the borders of the Union state as the medium of Telugu cinema, the first strip of which flickered across the screen 75 years ago. The film city of Hyderabad now has six large studios. The Telugu actors are highly revered. One of them, N.T. Rama Rao, ruled the state as chief minister for many years. And it is not ruled out that the current hero of Telugu cinema, Chiranjeevi, will also get into politics. He is well known: Telugu films are shown continuously on three television channels. In any case, one thing is official: in 2006, Tollywood overtook Bollywood for the first time with 243 productions, which had "only" 223 strips. The artistic demands of most Tollywood films, however, are low - one more reason for Buddha Prasad to preserve the richness and level of his mother idiom in the sense of his family tradition. Only a few months ago he made a name for himself as host of the National Telugu Writers Conference in Vijayawada, the metropolis of his native Krishna district. On the sidelines of this conference he presented a 1000-page anthology by 100 Telugu authors. And when his German visitors show interest in the rich Telugu culture, he spontaneously organizes a small meeting with writers from Vijayawada. That is not too difficult for him, as he is honorary president of the writers' association in the region with its seven million inhabitants. On this evening, Lanka Venkata Ramana, author of biographical writings on famous compatriots, notes with sorrow that Telugu is under a lot of pressure today, not least that of globalization. English is becoming increasingly important. The influence of the many Telugu-speaking Indians abroad in Great Britain, the USA, Malaysia, the Gulf States, Mauritius, Fiji and Trinidad, who remained connected to their homeland, cannot be overlooked. The poet Sastri, who venerates a very beautiful, thoughtful poem, complains that the best creations of Telugu literature only rarely find their way out into the world through translation. Buddha Prasad has also emerged as an author himself, especially of travel descriptions. The most recent came after his visit to Germany the previous year, which led him to Altlandsberg, among other places - to an old friend, the local mayor Ravindra Gujjula from the Krishna district. The only Indian who has ever held such an office in this country, even after 33 years in his new home country, moves in his native language like a fish in water. Several times during his numerous visits to Vijayawada, Gujjula stood next to Buddha Prasad on Telugu cultural events. And he is convinced that his friend - even if he recently became Minister for Livestock and Fisheries rather than Culture - will not neglect the careful and determined commitment to the Telugu language.

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