The apocalyptic fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction where the Earth’s civilization is collapsing. The post-apocalyptic fiction deals with the remaining world after the civilization has collapsed. The World wars, biochemical warfare, zombie apocalypse, Cybernetic revolt (AI takeover), alien invasion, pandemics etc are major themes of the apocalyptic fiction.
Apocalyptic fiction in Tollywood:
Telugu cinema has always been wandering around the past and present, and there is not much imagined about the future. Several dubbed films depicted the futuristic nation in films such as ‘Oke okkadu’ and ‘Super’ as a developed country which justifies the theme of the movies. Additionally, the Telugu film ‘Aditya 369’ depicted the post-apocalyptic world after a Nuclear warfare. But all of them are either representative or subtracks in the movie. A Telugu short film titled ‘Hyderabad in 2012’ is an apocalyptic fiction. However, we are yet to see a feature film that happens in a futuristic world in an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic setting.
References to post-apocalyptic world:
Several Indian texts have prophesied about the future world. Bhavishya Purana, Kalagnanam of Sri Veerabrahmendra swami and Kaivara Tatayya etc mention the details about the apocalyptic world. But Indian filmmakers never bothered about them. Moreover, almost all Indian movies discussing about futuristic worlds take inspiration or directly copy from Hollywood movies. Apart from them, we have climate and environment forecasts that provide abundant data about the coming decades. The movies depicting large scale calamities help people understand the consequences of ignoring environmental problems. Moreover, we are already facing the worst of the air pollution, climate and groundwater problems. These movies will alarm people into thinking about it.
Qualification of Telugu film directors:
Apart from ‘Aditya 369’, the apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic worlds are never discussed in Telugu cinema. It is true to some extent that our filmmakers rarely research the story and theme. So, the Sci-Fi movies have roots in Hollywood movies instead of books or novels. They require huge budgets and without adequate budgets become comical. Even after the financial risk, the box-office performance of such movies is questionable as they are not received like commercial movies. A Sci-Fi movie if well made, can receive both financial and critical success. But the filmmakers need to be well versed in the subject they are dealing with, otherwise it may end up as a mess. We have filmmakers with good academic background like Trivikram Srinivas (MS in Nuclear Physics), Sukumar (Lecturer in Mathematics), Avasarala Srinivas (Worked for Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory), Srikanth Addala (MS in Physics), Madhura Sreedhar (MS in Research) and numerous people from IT background. But we fail to witness a good Sci-Fi in Telugu film industry.
The Telugu filmmakers generally avoid the ground reality such as slums, mismanagement of surface water, lack of ground water, heatwaves, untimely rains, whirlwinds, air & water pollution etc. Although they are not calamities, they have become a part of our daily lives. However, the filmmakers prefer the AC rooms, well designed interiors and clean roads with greenery around. Nowadays most of our movies are urban based which moved far away from the rural lifestyle and problems. Whatever little we can see in movies is mostly fabricated to present the villages beautifully or to pinpoint the specific problem that our protagonist is going to solve. The movies featuring post-apocalyptic worlds may change the perception of audience about several problems.
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