Right from beginning of Telugu Cinema production to later its transformation into an Industry, budgets and quality of films have been growing sometimes proportionally and most of the times, inversely proportional.
Pathala Bhairavi, Mayabazaar are huge budget films in the early 50's and Keelu Gurram was high budget film from 40's. The films and their stories demanded budgets but not the market.
Anarkali, Gundamma Katha, Jagadeekaveeruni Katha, Chandrahaasam, Sri KrishnaArjuna Yuddham, Lava Kusa, Sri Seetharamula Kalyanam, Anthasthulu, Prem Nagar, Dasarabullodu, Gulebhakavali Katha, Sri Krishna Pandaveeyam, Mahabaludu, Bangaru Babu, Alluri Seetharamaraju, Mosagallaku Mosagadu, Kurukshetram, Sampoorna Ramayanam, Seethakalyanam, Andala Ramudu, Simhasanam, Uma Chandi Gowri Shankarula Katha, Sri Krishna Tulabharam, Chikkadu-Dorakadu, Jagadeekaveerudu Athiloka Sundari, Aakhari Poratam, Bigg Boss, Anji, Shakthi, Yamadonga, Bhairawadweepam, Sri KrishnaArjuna Vijayam, Aditya 369, Rakshakudu, Narasimha Naidu, Simhadri, Indra, Johnny, Nani, Komaram Puli, Agnyathavasi, Spyder, Baahubali, Magadheera, Saaho are the biggest budget films from Telugu Cinema over the years, respective to their release time.
Some of them changed the course of Industry by being colossal hits, while others failed to have proper recovery after the first week or few weeks of run.
We can't make a list of flops and hits out of all the above listed in this article as the length will be a big question mark. The point is when you come to the latest films like Shakthi, Badrinath, Magadheera, Yamadonga, Akhil, Baahubali, Agnyathavasi, Spyder, Saaho makers are thinking about the story first and then the budget.
Yamadonga, Magadheera, Baahubali are the only exceptions from the above list that really made use the budget and all belong to SS Rajamouli. Trying to give him competition even Shankar's 2.0 couldn't really make us feel that all the budget is worthy.
Agnyathavasi, Spyder, Shakthi, Badrinath looked like from first frame to last, makers wanted the large scale but never understood if their story really needed so much money.
Saaho falls in their category too. When you go back and watch a film like Gundamma Katha, we see three to four lavish sets and the movie with an ensemble cast was finished in those sets. Pathala Bhairavi has a huge span but we can see how controlled yet lavish the production was.
Mayabazaar, Lava Kusa were known for their innovation in technical skills, quality in production and Jagadeekaverudu Athiloka Sundari for visual scale.
When you combine these two qualities, we get Baahubali, Magadheera. Mounting a movie on story and budget required for it, is more important than spending endlessly as market allows it.
Filmmakers need to understand this and check all the necessary points they have to hit before making a film on budget that we never heard before.
Saaho could be a great reference point in wastage of money on screen. It was undoubtedly market driven by Baahubali success than story demand!