Hyderabad: The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh is unlikely to have any impact on Tellywood, as the Telugu film industry is called. Its long association with Hyderabad will remain for the time being.
"Shifting the industry to another region is not easy. The reason why the Telugu film industry shifted its base from Chennai to Hyderabad in the early 1990s was the sops, including large parcels of land for setting up studios. If Chandrababu Naidu calls on Tellywood and offers land in Vizag and also tax benefits in the new state, we will definitely move there," says actor-turned-producer Manchu Vishnu.
This, however, will not be possible in the near term as Vizag and Vijayawada will take another 15-20 years to develop, he adds. Besides, air connectivity to other states and countries - critical for the film industry to bring technicians to locations and studios - from Hyderabad is comfortable. Hence, the city remains the industry's business capital for now, says Vishnu, also head of a film production house and a TV content developer.
Tellywood churns out close to 200 films with a total budget aggregating Rs 1,000 crore every year. Gross collections are about equal in the Telangana and Seemandhra regions. The Andhra Pradesh Film Chambers of Commerce is setting up a committee each for the two states to ensure both governments provide the same subsidies and levy the same taxes.
Says Vishnu, "Do you think it possible to produce a movie with only Telangana or Seemandhra artists and technicians? Where's the workforce?"
In the Telugu film fighters and dancers unions, 70 per cent of members are from undivided Andhra Pradesh and 30 per cent from other states. "If they are going to have reservations in this 70 per cent, you're not going to find talent," he adds.