Hello Kona Venkat garu..
What made you name the film after a classic? What is the justification for it?
The justification for the title will be given in the first ten minutes of the film itself. We wanted a catchy title which people can relate to as well. I wanted to keep a title which can creep into audience quickly and it did. Shankarabharanam is a widely accepted title and did the job perfectly.
How did you get the idea of making such peculiar film?
I watched a Hindi film called Apaharan and was quite inspired by it. And even when I’ve been to Bihar once, I was bewildered by the crime scenario there. Crime and horror are two topics that always interest the audience. So, I felt I can tell a story on the Bihar crime backdrop.
Is it an official remake of Phas Gaye Re Obama?
I originally had a line based on kidnaps in Bihar. But we bought the rights of Phas Gaye Re Obama and just took a point in the film. The rest is ours.
You started your career with films like Satya, Shool before. What made you shift to commercial film writing?
I was quite influenced by the impact a commercial film makes on larger section of audiences. I grew up watching the masala flicks of Sr.NTR and Krishna. I shifted to Hyderabad in 2001. I always believed that based on the situation faced, one need to change themselves. It would be even better if a new trend is set! I am glad we could set such trend with Dhee. If I chose to make more films like Shool, my career would have been different. I learnt that a known story should be told in a novel way. More than the storyline, it is the narration which makes all the difference. In fact, my real life itself is like an action film because I had more adventures more than in a film.
Shankarabharanam has a song called Daaru Peele. It does sound like encouraging alcoholism…
(Smiles) My career in fact started with a song on boozing (Kallu Maama for RGV’s Satya). Coming to this song, it is purely situational and applies only to the film’s scene. The song features main characters of the film having a fun time and Sirasri (lyricist) did a great job penning it. When I visited Vizag recently, I saw a group of youngsters listening to this song in car while driving. In fact, we wanted to clip off the song because of the duration factors but distributors insisted that we keep this song for its popularity!
Any special reason for casting Anjali in your back to back films?
I was mightily impressed with her performances in Love in Shopping Mall, Journey and Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu. I don’t believe in giving break to any actor because for a really talented artist, break will come any way. Coming to the bandit role in this film, I think I could just look beyond and believed that she could do any role and she just proved me right once again.
What is your take on current media and growing reach of social media?
I must thank media for being very supportive for small films promoting them. Even audience is taking media’s opinions in knowing about a film which is quite good. Media and Cinema are one and the same – they always run behind most happening things and persons. Well social media, I think it is growing on par with the mainstream media which is remarkable. Social Media is quite powerful when used it right.
Do you think Reviews system is impacting the film’s business in any regard?
These days every normal person claims to be a reviewer. What remains debatable is how good they are in speaking about a film. If a film is really genuine and has good content, no review will impact the success.
Are you encouraging music director Praveen Lakkaraju because he’s your find?
He is a gem I discovered in USA. When I wanted to do a short film titled Ram and Juliet I met him with some reference. Though he was a software engineer by profession he didn’t keep passion aside. He used to compose during night times at his residence in New Jersey and I really liked his dedication. He gave great tunes for Ram and Juliet which will be releasing soon. He also worked for Geethanjali but Shankarabharanam will become a biggest break in his career. We asked him to give music which is out of the box style and he delivered it great. The sound design he gave for this film truly deserves an award.
How about encouraging Prithvi instead of Brahmanandam in your films?
Obviously Prithvi is a fantastic actor. In connection with this film, though we initially thought of Brahmanandam, keeping in view of the harsh working conditions in Rajasthan and Bihar, we did not want to trouble him. So we preferred Prithvi and he gave his best for this hilarious Parmesh role. It will be a laugh riot for sure.
About choosing Nikhil & Nanditha Raj?
I saw a unique fire and commitment in both Nikhil & Nanditha and they have lived upto my expectations.
Your reaction on Srinu Vaitla complaining against you in Film Chamber?
He is free to do. Well it is not a war but just ideological differences between me and Srinu and no chamber can solve it.
When can we expect it to be resolved?
I don’t know. Hopefully very soon.
Your family’s contribution in your success?
Oh completely! They are my support system. Of course, they do complaint about not spending time with them.
I am going to do a film which is inspired from my own life. I had many crazy adventures in my life. I eloped and married in a temple and in an effort to help my friend I tried to go to Goa. I’d have almost been jailed for 7 years if things went wrong. And once I almost planned to get a person who deceived my friend kidnapped right in Basheerbagh (Hyderabad) center but that fellow luckily escaped and rushed into Control room. Later, the issue was settled by police. So, this film will feature such crazy incidents inspired form my life and this film will try to tell how worse life can get for hot blooded youth.
Okay..thanks and wish you the best for Shankarabharanam & future projects!