Tollywood, the Telugu-language film industry based in Hyderabad in southern India, produced more
movies than Bollywood in 2013-14. Every year, thousands of aspiring actors and technicians move to
the Krishna Nagar and Indira Nagar neighbourhoods in the city, hoping to make it big in the film industry.
Many of them come from rustic towns and villages and have no real acting experience or the much
needed 'background and maintenance' – industry-speak for caste, money, connections and generally being
slick and smart. Clueless about how to get cracking, many actors begin as junior artistes (extras) and with
some luck and effort, make it as members of the supporting cast or lead actors in C and B-grade movies.
Portfolio photographs of aspiring actors on display at a dance institute, which also doubles up as a casting agency, in the Krishna Nagar neighbourhood of Hyderabad, India. May 2012.
Preetham Alladi (23), shooting for the first scene of his new film, waits for the director’s cue tp enter the frame in Hyderabad, India. July 2015.
Sonam, an actress from Mumbai, on the sets of a horror thriller in Hyderabad, India. Actresses from Mumbai and northern parts of India are preferred by local filmmakers for their fair skin and willingness to wear modern and revealing outfits. October 2014.
Film sets at Ramoji Film City, the largest film studio complex in the world, in Hyderabad, India. Many other langauge films, in addition to Telugu language ones, are produced here, providing employment to many technicians and junior artistes. December 2012
Lakavath Chanti (20) gets his portfolio shot at a studio in Indira Nagar, Hyderabad. May 2015.
Outside a wigmaker’s in the Krishna Nagar neighbourhood of Hyderabad, India. May 2012.
Anil Kumar Kuntapaka (21), Arun Kumar Yalanati (26) and Vinod Kumar Giriboina (28) engage themselves in a game of carrom at the office of the newly formed Telangana State Junior Artistes Association in Indira Nagar, Hyderabad. March 2015.
Syed Adil (24), a junior artiste, in the production cab on his way back home after the day’s shoot. December 2012.
Junior artistes, acting as Taliban fighters in a movie that is partly based in Pakistan, at Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad, India. December 2012.
Ramesh Tummala (19), playing the devil in a horror movie, waits as the lights are adjusted for appropriate effect in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, India. August 2015.
Moviegoers jostle for space as they stand in queue for tickets to the first day, first show of Baahubali, the most expensive Telugu-language movie ever, at a movie hall in Kukatpally, Hyderabad, India. July 2015.
Mohammed Nazeem Ali (32) takes care of his family’s elevator business but his fascination for movies led him into producing a movie. He is also the lead actor in the movie which is yet to be finished. October 2014.
Preparations underway at a pandal before the Ganesh Chaturdhi festival in Krishna Nagar, Hyderabad. September, 2015.
Anitha Mukkurala (23) and Kavya Reddy Gurram (24) have become friends while shooting togther for a film. They both now share information about opportunities and also look out for each other. August 2015.
Artistes rest during a break in between shots on the sets of Baahubali, a period drama in Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad, India. October 2014.
Junior artistes on the sets of Baahubali, a period drama in Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad, India. October 2014.
A junior artiste peeps out of the voting tent to ask a question to the polling official, while voting for the new executive committee of the Junior Artistes’s Association in Indira Nagar, Hyderabad, India. June 2015.
Sai (23) acts falling unconscious after being struck by a supernatural force on the sets of a horror film in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, India. August 2015.
After one and half years of trying to land a good role in the film industry, Arun Kumar Yalanati (26) calls it quits and makes a few calls to a junior artiste agent who owes him money before leaving. May 2015.
Ashok, a young artiste who also works with film set construction crews, on his bed at a lodge in the Krishna Nagar that he rents for Rupees 30 (USD 0.50) a night. July 2012.