Telugu movies of 2021, ranked worst to best: Feel-good Cinema Bandi to egocentric Vakeel Saab

The Covid-19 pandemic may have accelerated the growth of streaming services in India, but it wasn’t enough to stop people returning to movie theaters in the south. Box offices in the Telugu states recovered shortly after cinemas were allowed to reopen earlier this year. While the cinema industry was still waking from the deep sleep of a 10-month lockdown, Telugu films set new box office records.

However, the devastating second wave again wiped out all the gains made by the Telugu film industry between January and April this year. However, some Telugu movies were not worth the risks their customers took to watch them in cinemas. And there were a few that reminded us of the joy and fun of the experience on the big screen.



This Ravi Teja starrer started the gold rush to theaters in the Telugu states. The film hit theaters in January along with the celebration of Sankranthi. A typical Ravi Teja fare, it didn’t offer the public anything new but pulled the numbers nonetheless. The action and high-octane punchlines kept the audience captivated. The only saving grace of this movie was Shruti Haasan’s performance in the movie.

Krack plays Ravi Teja in the lead role.

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The trailer promised us an intelligent thriller on the edge of our seat. We expected this film to be a test of our intellect, instead it tested our patience. The only thing that makes this movie bearable is Nithiin’s performance and the chess game sequences, which are choreographed quite well.

Zombie Reddy

Prasanth Verma directing feels like it’s set in the PUBG world overrun by zombies. Despite its many flaws, the film’s humor comes as a saving grace. However, Zombie Reddy will definitely offend you if you are a fan of the genre.


Inspired by a true scam, this film follows the rags-to-riches story of a twin brother and sister, played by Vishnu Manchu and Kajal Aggarwal. Apart from acting in it, Vishnu had also produced and written this movie which has no redeeming qualities. Hollywood director Jeffrey Gee Chin is credited as directing this crushing mess of a movie. It is easily the worst Telugu movie released so far this year.

Wild dog

The film is set in the wake of serial explosions that shook Hyderabad in 2007. The film depicts a daring operation by a handful of elite counter-terrorist squadron officers, who promise to bring to justice the mastermind responsible for the attack. It starts off well but soon loses its grip on the narration with a serious dip in production quality.

Frequently Saab

Vakeel Saab is controlled by Venu Sriram. (Photo: Dil Raju/YouTube)

The film was the official remake of the Bollywood hit Pink. While the original film was about consent and how no means no, the Telugu remake was all about Pawan Kalyan’s heroism and why people need him more than he people. Nevertheless, the film achieved its primary goal of creating a box office record.


Director Prabhu Solomon once again professes his love for nature and wildlife with this film. Only his good intentions were not supported by a strong screenplay, which captured the plight of wild animals who are always on the losing side in human-animal conflicts. Even Rana Daggubati’s conviction and commitment to play his role as a guardian of the jungle couldn’t save this film.

Ek Mini Katha

The film was supposed to be a sex-positive adult comedy. But the film instead uses the insecurities of people tormented by the size of their genitals to give a little laugh. It offers little perspective on the seriousness of the case it handles.



Directed by Vijay Kanakamedala, it is a spectacular courtroom drama that will roll out of the Telugu film industry after a long time. Allari Naresh was a real surprise. Known for his comedic roles, the actor takes on an intense character and gives us a memorable performance.


Vijay Sethupathi in Upena.

Directed by Buchi Babu Sana, it is the best Telugu romantic film released in the last six months. The film benefited greatly from the presence of Vijay Sethupathi in it. The chemistry between debut actors Vaishnav Tej and Krithi Shetty was refreshing. The film reflects how even today a woman’s chastity is linked to her family’s honor. And it also dwells on the evil of poisonous pride that comes from the combination of masculinity and caste.

Jathi Ratnalu

Anudeep KV director is completely silly, but in a good way. The director parodies everything under the sun, the middle-class obsession with IT jobs rather than self-employment, and the influence of pop culture on young people and their worldview.

Called De

This romantic comedy is a repeat of all the popular films of the genre. Known relationship problems and the hopelessly romantic heroine are offset by a hero who doesn’t believe in love. We’ve all seen it before. But it’s the familiarity of this film that works in its favor. After enjoying the movie Nithiin and Keerthy Suresh so much, it would be hypocritical to complain about it.

Cinema Bandic

Taking inspiration from their Malayali counterparts, the new crop of Telugu filmmakers bring us feel-good and hopeful stories from far-flung corners of their states. Cinema Bandi is one such film that urges you to trust in the innate goodness of man and the joys of simplicity.

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