Ee Rojullo: (March 23, 2012)
Ee Rojullo arrived precisely a year after maverick director Ram Gopal Varma came up with his “Zero-budget” movie Dongala Mutha (March 18th, 2011). While RGV movie introduced the technology, it was the Maruthi directorial (also his debut) that proved its commercial saleability. The sensational success paved the way for countless other similar attempts that were both bold and vulgar. It is identical to the Bachelors’ movie from the previous decade, in a way. Even today, a vast majority of movies that come and go unnoticed follow the same pattern.
Gabbar Singh: (May 11, 2012)
The movie that marked the comeback of Powerstar Pawan Kalyan is also one that set the trend of a cop with an attitude. It was the first genuine hit film for the star after Kushi (2001). The box office needs no special mention, but the various elements that made Gabbar Singh click were and are still followed. Many cop films followed it, which is expected, but the incorporation of identifiable ‘elements’ is what makes it a trendsetter.
Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu: (January 11, 2013)
Well, the name also should make it clear as to why it is a trendsetter. Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu was the first true-blue multistarrer in decades in Telugu cinema. Victory Venkatesh and Superstar Mahesh Babu, who were at loggerheads the previous Sankranthi (Businessman vs Bodyguard) came together as brothers here. Right from its announcement, everything related to the Srikanth Addala directorial movie was like an event. If only it had lived up to its expectations. Irrespective of how it fared, the ice was broken, and in time we are witnessing a unique and different combination of senior and junior stars. Remember, SVSC started it in this decade.
Swamy Ra Ra: (March 23, 2013)
Swamy Ra Ra starring Nikhil and Swathi marked the debut of director Sudheer Varma. The movie got the crime caper angle, right. The music, casting and making worked in its favour. The same formula and format with improvisations are followed even today.
Prema Katha Chitram: (June 9, 2013)
A horror comedy starring Sudheer Babu and Nandita came under the ghost direction of Maruthi. And just like Ee Rojullo, making a ‘horror-comedy’ became a new obsession for the low budget sections for easy commercial recovery. It is the most abused genre, storyline, in today’s time.
Atharintiki Daaredi: (September 27, 2013)
Well, the obvious, super-rich hero with an unbelievable background. The whole commercial setting for a top star got an upgrade, courtesy this Trivikram Srinivas directorial. Again, the ‘elements’ that made the movie a phenomenal success are used even today. It was getting on nerves and spoiled many narratives at one point.
Baahubali 1 & 2: (July 10, 2015 – April 28, 2017)
The two chapter movies Baahubali is not just a trendsetting effort for Telugu cinema; it was for entire India. Every film industry is now planning special biggies that vie for pan-India acceptance. Baahubali will forever be remembered as the movie that started it all.
Bhale Bhale Magadivoyi: (September 4, 2015)
Another Maruthi movie in the list, phew! But, that is how influential he has been for the small scale movies. The Nani starrer, for a change, was also game-changer for Maruthi as well. Until BBM, the director had a vulgar stamp on him. It was gone with this, and ‘concept-oriented family entertainer’ gained momentum. In a post BBM world, we have had many weird quirks and conditions explored for stories of which Maruthi as well has been an exploiter. A film like 90 ML can be cited as its latest casualty.
Kshanam: (26 February 2016)
The last one on our list is the thriller Kshanam. The Adivi Sesh starrer with story by Adivi Sesh can be credited with bringing back interest in thriller narratives. The actor is also making a career out of it.
Mahanati: (9 May 2018)
The biopic on legendary actress Savitri was a visual wonder. The casting with Keerthy Suresh and Dulquar Salman was pitch-perfect. It’s phenomenal success led to the announcement of many biopics, which still keep coming. However, the bar has been set so high with Mahanati.