HYDERABAD: Can fresh talent be infused into Tollywood? Director-producer Teja, who has introduced 980 fresh faces into the Telugu film industry, is now sceptical. “There are just too many heroes now. The ‘star families’ have introduced more of their sons. The chances of outsiders getting to play lead roles appears bleaker than ever before,” he says.

Through the talent hunt he organized several years ago, Teja introduced Uday Kiran in the movie ‘Chitram’ in 2000. “I pasted posters in all bakeries in Hyderabad asking for people interested in acting to respond,” he recalls. Sada and Kajal Agarwal were also introduced by him. He spotted Nithin in a theatre and cast him in a movie.

“Today, the situation is such that the hero has to be a known face to even get theatres to release your film. There is an influx of heroes from star families,” he says.

But youngsters, mostly from the engineering and management backgrounds, are shaking things up a little by making short films and putting them up on Youtube to get noticed by the film industry. In fact, director Puri Jagannadh, in a bid to select talent, came up with a plan to ask aspirants to make short films.

This only goes to show that at least some from the industry are watching short filmmakers and actors to introduce them into Tollywood. In fact, makers of low-budget films find it financially advantageous to look for new talent. And conducting a talent hunt benefits them.

In as far back as 1997, director N Shankar selected and trained actors for his film ‘Encounter’ in this way. He repeated the process for ‘Jai Bolo Telangana’ in 2001. Even Shankar Kammula, who made ‘Happy Days’ in 2007, weaving a love story between engineering students, got his cast from a talent hunt.

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Source: TOI-Hyd