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June 17 2019
10 Telugu films from 2018 that you shouldn't miss
29 December 2018

Here's a list of the best of Telugu movies from 2018 picked by our reviewer, presented in no particular order.

Did we just witness a watershed year in which content took precedence over star power? A few films in the first part of 2018 made many of us avid trackers of Telugu cinema. Soon after a big star-driven film that hinged on a wafer-thin storyline and lazy narration tanked in January, hope came in the form of smaller films like ChaloTholiprema and Awe. The last one, in particular, was a brave move. The genre-bender did have its missteps, but showed that a debut director (Prasanth Varma) could instil confidence in well known names to enact characters they would have never dared to earlier – lend their voices to a tree, a fish.

Then came the big ticket Rangasthalam through which director Sukumar showed a new, raw side to stars like Ram Charan and Samantha in a gritty, rustic tale set in the 80s. The ambitious Savitri biopic Mahanati by Nag Ashwin stoked nostalgia and made younger viewers look up the iconic actor’s filmography. Smaller gems like SammohanamChi La Sow and Care of Kancharapalem followed, and Telugu cinema could also boast of a racy spy thriller in Goodachari. And then, it seemed like a dry spell. During this period the neighbouring Tamil film industry made rapid strides with a slew of cutting-edge films. As 2018 draws to a close with a newer director Sankalp Reddy presenting the space thriller Antariksham (it falls short, but was a glorious attempt), we hope 2019 will see Telugu cinema embracing the new wave, along with the big-budget biopics and historicals that have been lined up.

Meanwhile, here is a list of our top picks from last year.

 

Samantha and Ram Charan

Samantha and Ram Charan  

 

Rangasthalam

Rangasthalam is like a novel. In its first few pages, this fictitious dusty village of the 80s reveals itself gradually. The dialect is rooted, not a generic one that mainstream films present in a broad brushstroke for instant appeal.

 

10 Telugu films from 2018 that you shouldn't miss
 

Mahanati

The word feisty wouldn’t be enough to describe ‘mahanati’ Savitri. She was childlike in embracing the wonderful moments life presented her with, unafraid to live life on her terms, was generous and also reckless, drowning in a quagmire from which there was no way out.

 

10 Telugu films from 2018 that you shouldn't miss
 

Care of Kancharapalem

Care of Kancharapalem is a rare Telugu film that takes us beyond the habitual cinematic settings to familiarise us with the sights, sounds and lives of people of a locality.

 

Leading from the front Mahesh Babu in ‘Bharat Ane Nenu’ By arrangement

Leading from the front Mahesh Babu in ‘Bharat Ane Nenu’ By arrangement  

 

Bharat Ane Nenu

Bharat Ane Nenu deserves a thumbs up for its well thought out plot and nuanced characters. Keeping us hooked to the narrative are Mahesh Babu, accompanied by Prakash Raj in another winsome and complex role, Rahul Ramakrishna, Rao Ramesh, Brahmaji and Kiara Advani among others.

 

Aditi Rao Hydari and Sudheer Babu in Sammohanam

Aditi Rao Hydari and Sudheer Babu in Sammohanam  

 

Sammohanam

The film is a window to the life of a film star through the eyes of an illustrator for children's books. A balanced perspective of what happens when ordinary and glitzy worlds merge, Sammohanam is peppered with timely and witty references to literature, digs on populist industry trends.

 

Adivi Sesh, Sashi Kiran Tikka and Shaneil Deo during the making of ‘Goodachari’

Adivi Sesh, Sashi Kiran Tikka and Shaneil Deo during the making of ‘Goodachari’  

 

Goodachari

Goodachari is the work of a smart, gritty team that rises to the challenge and serves a riveting tale.

 

Ruhani Sharma and Sushanth in ‘Chi La Sow’

Ruhani Sharma and Sushanth in ‘Chi La Sow’  

 

Chi La Sow

Chi La Sow takes us into its fold, nudging us to stay with its pace and understand the layers of its key characters and the whirlwind of emotions. Sushanth and Ruhani Sharma sparkle through their journey.

 

10 Telugu films from 2018 that you shouldn't miss
 

U Turn

U Turn is the remake of an acclaimed Kannada film by the same name and for those who’ve not watched the original, the twists keep you hooked.

 

10 Telugu films from 2018 that you shouldn't miss
 

Tholi Prema

Debut director Venky Atluri’s rom-com builds its tempo gradually and before you know it, sweeps you off your feet.

 

10 Telugu films from 2018 that you shouldn't miss
 

Awe

Awe is an unusual film. The trailer didn’t give away anything, except the fact that a few well-known actors have come together to do something new.

 

 

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