Five Fascinating Telugu Films Inspired By Real-Life Events

Five Fascinating Telugu Films Inspired By Real-Life Events

We take a look at five films that sourced their inspiring, scary and humane stories from the real life

Films, in one way or the other, reflect the real world and source stories from our society. Despite the dramatisation and creative liberty involved in making the story palatable and entertaining, when done effectively, the final product will strike a chord with the viewer and instigate thoughts about the real world and many of its qualities—both troubling and comforting. While the Telugu film industry and its larger-than-life entertainers need no introduction, there have been instances when filmmakers toyed with reality to make strong statements about our society. That’s one of the advantages of telling a story inspired by real life: it mirrors the times we live in along with all the flaws and great attributes that exist in it. Here we take a look at five such films, including the recently released Bedurulanka 2012, that are inspired by real events. Do note that the list doesn’t include historical films like Rudramadevi (2015), Syeraa Narasimha Reddy (2019), Alluri Seetharama Raju (1974) or devotional films like Annamayya (1997), Baktha Kanappa (1976) and Sri Ramadasu (2006) because the focus is on contemporary times.

Bedurulanka 2012

A still from Bedurulanka 2012
A still from Bedurulanka 2012

Directed by debutante Clax, Bedurulanka 2012 spins around the notorious—and now, funny—‘2012 phenomenon’ when it was believed that catastrophic events would lead to the end of the world on 21 December. The film, set in an island village named Bedurulanka, focuses on a trio of conmen trying to exploit the naive villagers in the name of religion, making promises that they would save the village from the apocalypse. Although the premise is deliberately outlandish, the story offers scope to explore many serious themes like faith (and its exploitation) and existential crisis. The film is far from perfect and its crass humour aims for low-hanging fruits but it's a film filled with great ideas. And its profound ideas make you wish the entire film was also equally wise.

Skylab (2021)

A still from Skylab (2021)
A still from Skylab (2021)

Skylab might be set in a fictional Telangana village named Bandalingampally, but it revolves around the failure of the US satellite Skylab and the fears around the globe concerning its debris hitting the earth. But what Skylab does with this premise is far more interesting and beautiful. The film, directed by Vishvak Khanderao, uses this event to paint a pleasing portrait of a village, the innocent villagers, and naturally, the prejudices that exist in such a setting. In Skylab, there is a conscious attempt to create a Wes Anderson-esque world but the themes it touches are far more real, lending a unique blend to the film, both visually and thematically. The ending, when all its characters finally find their calling, as they cruise towards the earth, is simply beautiful because it reminds us of innate goodness in humanity, and it's hard to not be moved by its good-hearted nature.

Raktha Charitra (2010)

As the title spells it out, this is a story about the history of blood. Hailing from Ram Gopal Varma, the film is based on the life and political career of the late political leader Paritala Ravindra, who was murdered in 2005. The film, set in the violent and turbulent Anantapur backdrop in the ‘90s, was highly controversial during its release for its depiction of Andra Pradesh’s political scene and violence. But Raktha Charitra, which was released in two parts, is a fine directorial effort from the master filmmaker. In the duology, the first part, which chronicles the rise of Kattula Pratap Ravi (inspired by Ravindra and played by Vivek Oberoi) is easily the best, featuring some killer sequences of unflinching violence and drama. Raktha Chiratra foreshadowed the filmmaker embracing political films like Amma Rajyamlo Kadapa Biddalu (2020) and Lakshmi’s NTR (2019), but none of these films can come close to Raktha Charitra.

Naa Bangaru Thalli (2014)

A still from Naa Bangaru Thalli (2014)
A still from Naa Bangaru Thalli (2014)

Few films in recent times are as hard-hitting as Naa Bangaru Thalli. The film, directed by Rajesh Touchriver, is based on the life of a girl who was rescued by his wife and social activist Sunitha Krishnan from human trafficking. Although parts of the film are dramatised, the Telugu-Malayalam bilingual which follows the plight of a father when her daughter goes missing is a shocker from the word go, and to think that such crimes continue to happen in the real world is even more devastating. While we keep coming across such news articles, the way the film portrays its hard-hitting subject matter in a no-holds-barred manner, coupled with an ugly twist, makes it a shocking but important watch. Siddique stars as the father while Anjali Patil essays his daughter.

Mayuri (1984)

A still from Mayuri (1984)
A still from Mayuri (1984)

Mayuri, directed by the veteran Singeetham Srinivasa Rao, is based on the life of Sudha Chandran, who, at the age of 16, was met with an accident that led to the amputation of her right leg. It is to be noted that not only is Mayuri inspired by her life, but Sudha also plays the titular character, documenting her tragedy, struggle, and eventual fight against the odds. The film is a telling tale of resilience and passion that proves that these two factors can define an individual and their journey, even when the universe seems to intimidate them. Mayuri is an essential watch because it’s a success story told with purity, directly by the person who weathered a tragedy and overcame the odds. There might not be another Mayuri. Ever.

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