Every top star today has a number of super hits and blockbusters, but, there are some films out of these that are quite close to the heart of all. Srimanthudu is one such movie, cherished by both Super Star Mahesh Babu as well as his fans. The movie was a great display of Mahesh’s box -office stamina as well as his acting prowess. The movie defined a new sub-genre in Tollywood and laid a path for many movies. It proved that a perfect mix of message and values with commercial elements can still do wonders at the box office.
Srimanthudu is dearly loved not just because of its humongous success and box office numbers. It is loved because of the situations it released in and how it prevailed over them. Mahesh Babu was coming off an unsuccessful streak with Aagadu and 1 Nenokkadine failing. The expectations on Srimanthudu were heavy and Mahesh delivered it in style! The movie had a phenomenally long run and went on to become the first Telugu movie (Non-BB) to collect Rs 80 crores plus share worldwide.
The movie’s music by Devi Sri Prasad was slowly rising the charts before the release and songs like ‘Jatha Kalise’ and ‘Jaago’ had heightened the expectations. Srimanthudu was a movie that created a positive buzz right from its first look. A simple poster of Mahesh on a cycle created euphoria like never before and was positively received.
The movie finally hit the screens worldwide on 7th August to great response in urban centers and average to decent response in rural centers. A production company (Mythri Movie Makers) with their first film and a director (Koratala Siva) directing just his second film meant that the buzz and success entirely relied on the shoulders of Mahesh. The word of mouth on the movie was generally positive and Mahesh’s pull on the family audience and repeat audience played a key role in the landmark success of Srimanthudu.
Srimanthudu did a terrific pre-release business and its theatrical rights were sold at 60cr worldwide. The movie went on to have a solid run from day one in most of the territories registered recovery within 1st week from opening to closing. It shattered a number of pre-existing records and established multiple non-Bahubali records on the way.
The Mahesh Babu starrer went on a box office rampage right from day one and became the 1st non-Baahubali film to collect Rs 20cr share worldwide on opening day. Records kept tumbling as the movie crossed the Rs 50 crore share on just day 5. By the 16th day it passed the Rs 75 crore share mark and became the non-Baahubali Industry Hit by surpassing Attarintiki Daredi.
It performed exceptionally well in the overseas market and broke many records. It grossed close to a whopping Rs 24 cr in the overseas market almost Rs 10 cr more than the previous non #Baahubali highest.
Srimanthudu was not just a Tollywood success, but a South Indian success as well. Even with just the Telugu version, it ended as the 4th highest-grossing South Indian film. The movie joined the likes of Baahubali 1, Robo, and I.
Madhi’s visuals proved to be a great asset for the movie. The movie looked rich right from the first frame and the transition from urban to the village landscape was effortlessly shown. Another plus for the movie was Devi Sri Prasad’s music. While this was not his career-best outing, Srimanthudu’s album gave some decent numbers.
Coming to the cast of the movie, Jagapathi Babu once again displayed a mature performance in the father’s role. His depiction of Ravikanth, a business tycoon trying to figure out his aloof son was truly an asset to the movie.
The other ensemble cast of Rajendra Prasad, Mukesh Rishi, Harish Uthaman, Sampath Raj and Vennela Kishore fit their characters perfectly. These roles were tailor made for the cast who each have played something similar many a times.
Shruti Haasan performed decently in a well-written role and her chemistry with Mahesh Babu was appreciated by all. The pair looked great and Shruti’s Chaaruseela worked as a great driving force for Harsha’s character arc.
The movie though entirely belonged to Mahesh Babu. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Srimanthudu was carried on the shoulders of Super Star. Very rarely would we come across industry hits that are a one-man show. Mahesh’s Harsha was a terrific combination of a sensitive youngster receptive to society’s needs and an audacious man who can take risks for the sake of the greater good.
Mahesh’s performance as Harsha was nothing you would expect from a Super Star of his stature. He perfectly demonstrated a mellow, respectful yet daring side quite effortlessly.
The movie left an everlasting legacy with the concept of rural adoptions and grass-root level development by private entities getting popularised post Srimanthudu’s release. And there lies the true success of the movie.