The Sankranthi festival is considered to be one of the most important dates of the year for the Telugu industry, who meticulously plan out their films to meet the date. This year, three films in the NTR biopic Kathanayukudu, Ram Charan’s Vinaya Vidheya Rama and F2: Fun and Frustration are hitting the screens on separate dates. Superstar Rajinikanth’s Petta which is having a grand release in Tamil Nadu has entered the race late in order to bring out the Telugu version simultaneously on the 10th of January. Things were moving quite smoothly, until Telugu distributor Vallabhaneni Ashok lashed out at the producers like Dil Raju and Allu Aravind for blocking screens and not giving space for Petta to release across the two states.
Speaking at the pre-release event of the film, Ashok said that Petta was struggling to find screens across the two states because of the ‘theatre mafia’ – a handful of producers who are controlling the screen count and the scale of a film’s release. Ashok even went to the extent of calling them dogs, and urged the government to take action against these producers.
Hitting back at these comments, producer Dil Raju said, “All the Telugu films had announced their dates six months ago. It was Ashok himself who initially said that he would release Petta on the 18th, but then changed his mind to bring it out on the 10th. We are finding it tough to accommodate theatres for three films itself this Sankranthi and are doing our best to help the situation. These kind of comments from Ashok are uncalled for.”
According to sources in the know, Dil Raju has already cancelled a couple of screens for Petta in the disappointment that he has faced by hearing these words from the distributor. Trade pundits indicate that the situation will worsen for the Superstar Rajinikanth starrer in the days leading to the release, as abusing well-known and respected personalities like Dil Raju and Allu Aravind has turned out to be a costly mistake.