Tollywood 1st Quarter Review In 2019: Disappointment For Movie Lovers

Tollywood 1st Quarter Review In 2019: Disappointment For Movie Lovers

8 Apr 19 @ 6:30 PM

Tollywood started the year 2019 amidst a lot of hope and positivity. In an unprecedented fashion in recent times, the Sankranthi week was packed with three highly prestigious and big movies in the form of NTR: Kathanayakudu, Vinaya Vidheya Rama, and the crazy multi-starrer F2: Fun and Frustration. The buzz for these movies is so high that even a Rajinikanth film like Petta had to play the second fiddle. 

But surprisingly, Tollywood has lesser number of releases in 2019 compared to the same period in the decade. The success rate is extremely low too. Except for a few considerably big or medium level movies, it is a host of smaller films that ruled the roost in terms of releases. 

January Gives The First Blockbuster

While NTR: Kathanayakudu scored near-unanimous critical acclaim for the scale of production, and the performances of lead actors, Vinaya Vidheya Rama was panned for over the top action sequences, routine story, and unengaging narration. Surprisingly, Kathanayakudu despite positive word of mouth and high critical acclaim failed to set the box office on fire. It has shown collections similar to any of Balakrishna’s recent hit films but didn’t reach the lofty expectations.

While Vinaya Vidheya Rama opened amidst huge negative buzz, it went on to recover 70% of the theatricals and turned out to be one of the highest grossing Telugu films of all time. In spite of this, the movie was a flop. F2: Fun and frustration soared the highest among all Telugu releases in January and ended up as one of the most loved and watched movies in recent memory.

Telugu Movies - January
S.No Title Director Cast Result
1 NTR:Kathanayakudu

Krish Jagarlamudi


Vidya Balan,

Sumanth, and

Nithya Menen

2 Vinaya Vidheya Rama Boyapati Srinu

Ram Charan,

Kiara Advani,

Vivek Oberoi,

Prashanth, and Sneha

3 F2: Fun and Frustration Anil Ravipudi


Varun Tej,

Tamannaah Bhatia, and Mehreen Pirzada

4 Mr. Majnu Venky Atluri Akhil, Niddhi Agerwal, Nagendra Babu, and Priyadarshi Disaster
5 Manikarnika Radhakrishna Jagarlamdi and Kangana Ranaut

Kangana Ranaut

Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Atul Kulkarni,

and Jisshu Sengupta

Below average

February Disappointed 

February turned out to be a surprisingly dry month for Tollywood while the same month had seen some of the most memorable hits in 2018. Yatra emerged as the sole winner this month despite hitting the screens with no to high buzz. The way the makers underplayed the film and the generally restrained spending helped make the film emerge as a Hit at the box office. Positive word of mouth and the general goodwill Mammootty’s presence also helped the cause.

Lovers Day which hit the screens with huge hype and similarly high expectations disappointed the audience big time with one another high school romance which is well undercooked. Priya Prakash Varrier’s iconic wink lost its sheen in the midst of listless storytelling.

NTR: Mahanayakudu which was expected to do well as it depicts the more recent life of NTR failed to set the box office on fire. The movie ended up as a huge disaster and it had increasingly become difficult to count the box office collections as at many places, the rentals too failed to get recouped. Rest of the other releases didn’t even make their presence felt.

Telugu Movies - February
S.No. Movie Director Cast Result
1 Yatra Mahi V. Raghav


Rao Ramesh,

Anasuya Bharadwaj,

and Sachin Khedekar

2 Lovers Day Omar Lulu

Roshan Abdul Rahoof,

Noorin Shereef,

and Priya Prakash Varrier

3 NTR: Mahanayakudu Krish Jagarlamudi


Vidya balan,

Rana Daggubati,

and Sachin Khedekar

4 Mithai Prashanth Kumar

Arsha, Rahul



and Adithi Myakal

5 Premantha Pani Chese Narayana Jonnalagadda Srinivasa Rao


Harikrishna and



March Turns Okayish 

The number of releases in March might have increased but none of the movies except Lakshmi’s NTR because of the controversies surrounding it, have created any buzz. But Kalyan Ram’s 118 emerged as a surprise winner at the box office with a sustained long run in the theatres and a positive word of mouth for its different concept. While 118 was registered as a Hit at the box office, Lakshmi’s NTR turned out to be a super hit as it’s made on a shoestring budget. Rest of the films went without a trace.

Telugu Movies - March
S.No. Title Director Cast Result
1 118 K. V. Guhan

Kalyan Ram,

Shalini Pandey,

and Nivetha Thomas

2 Where is the Venkatalakshmi Kishore Kumar

Pujitha Ponnada,

Raai Laxmi, Praveen,

and Madhu Nandan

3 Jessie Ashvini Kumar V

Abhinav Gomatam,

Atul Kulkarni, and

Veda Archana Sastry

4 Bilalpur Police Station Naga Sai Makam

Goreti Venkanna, 

Saanve Meghana and

Srinath Maganti

5 Mouname Ishtam Ashok Koralath

Ram Karthi, Parvathi,

and Nasser

6 Chikati Gadhilo Chithakkottudu Chikati Gadhilo Chithakkottudu

Adith Arun,

Bhagyashree Mothe,

Chandrika Ravi,

Posani Krishna Murali,

and Mirchi Hemanth

7 Vinara Sodara Veera Kumara Sateesh Chandra Nadella

Srinivas Sai, Priyanka Jain, Uttej, and Jhansi

8 Lakshmi's NTR Ram Gopal Varma and Agasthya Manju

Vijay Kumar, Sri Tej,

and Yagna Shetty

Super Hit
9 Suryakantham Pranith Bramandapally

Rahul Vijay, Niharika

Konidela, Perlene,

and Suhasini Mani Ratnam


First Quarter Verdict

Except for F2, there is no true blue blockbuster in Telugu in 2019 first quarter. And only two films - Vinaya Vidheya Rama and F2 - grossed more than 80 Cr. and collected a share of 50 Cr. It’d be interesting to see how Tollywood come out of this damp beginning to the year. Yatra, 118, and Lakshmi's NTR turned out to be commercially successful films to lift the spirits to some extent. With a host of big and other notable releases, Tollywood summer (and the second quarter) appears bright. 

Best Movie of the First Quarter

F2: Fun and Frustration - not just because it is a commercial success, the movie is well made with great characterizations. The performances from Venkatesh, Tamannaah, Mehreen, and Rajendra Prasad are so good and ably supported by Varun Tej and the rest of the cast. The comedy setpieces worked out well and are of high quality. F2 ended its theatrical run with a worldwide gross of about Rs. 131.01 Cr. and a distributor share of Rs. 81.1 Cr. 

F2: Fun and Frustration
F2: Fun and Frustration

Surprise of the First Quarter

118 - A well-made thriller with a novel concept. Though there are a few flaws in its execution, the film worked well with the target audience. 118 had a nearly month-long theatrical run thanks to general goodwill through word of mouth and virtually no competition and ended up with a worldwide gross of Rs. 19.54 Cr. and a distributor share of Rs. 11.32 Cr. 

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