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Interview with Ajay Sastri
Date: February 5, 2008, Hyderabad
ajay sastri

Ajay Sastri is one of the new found talents of the Telugu film industry. Equipped with good academic background and experience in ad filmmaking, he is making his debut with a different film titled 'Nenu Meeku Telusa?' Manoj plays the male lead in the film. Here is our exclusive interview with Ajay Sastri.

Tell us about your background?

I worked in O & M ad agency in Mumbai before joining films. I met RaNa (son of D Suresh Babu) after coming here and he produced a short film titled Barah (12) in my direction. It was aimed at film festivals. We shot it in 3 days by using the resources available at Rama Naidu studios.

Krishna Vamsi saw that film and liked my work. We became good friends. I joined him for Danger film and I also worked for Rakhi film. He gave me a free hand in story writing and scripting. I learnt a lot while working for these two films. I was mostly at the writing table for these films.

After Rakhi film I shot a cell phone video titled Square 'n' - the scientist with the help of Naveen (son of actor Naresh).

Manoj has been a good friend of mine for a long time. He wanted a cell phone video to be shot on him. I shot and edited the video in just an hour. Impressed by it, he asked me if I have any stories. I narrated him the story of 'Nenu Meeku Telusa?'. He took me to Mohan Babu for narration and a decision is taken to produce this film.

Manoj went to USA and worked on his body. He shed weight and built the body with the help of the technicians who worked for Hollywood film '300'. He reduced his weight only through diet and exercises. No surgical methods were involved in it. It was Manoj who took the initiative and decided about make over. His new looks bearing long free flowing hair and no mustache was his choice. And he is looking pretty good and apt for the character.

We held a low-profile pooja for this project in November. Manoj invited Ravi Teja and Jagapati Babu and they did the honors. Mohan Babu performed pooja.

Then we shot the trailer of the film in two days on ultra low budget. When we shot the trailer we had two complaints. The first one is that it is too long. We shot the trailer by keeping theatrical release. It was not supposed to be aired in TV as a 30-second capsule. The second complaint was that we released the trailer too early. Manoj pushed me to go ahead with the plan. The response for the trailer has been terrific. With the response, we are confident that we can go ahead and make the film the way we wanted to.

We have shown the basic problem of the hero in the trailer. It is called recurring amnesia. And one has to watch the film to know the story and conflict.

Don't you think it is very difficult to make such a film with 2 and half hour duration?
What we had shown in the trailer was the idea. Idea itself is not the film. We had shown the problem of male protagonist. This plot of the film has many characters involved in it. The film is not narrated from hero's point of view. There are few subplots on the film.

How do you describe your film as?
I would call 'Nenu Meeku Telusa?' as romantic comedy with thriller orientation. This kind of genre goes beyond the borders. We are planning to shoot this film in Telugu and Tamil languages.

Tell us about the technicians?
Sunil K Reddy (Okariki Okaru & Mr. Medhavi) handles camera. Ravinder (Chatrapati & AOR) handles art department. Sirivennela pens all the songs. Achu - son of popular Malayalam music director Rajamani - makes his debut as music director with this film. Achu assisted MM Keeravani in many films. The music of the film will be a fusion of Carnatic and Hip Hop.

When are you planning to release it?
Lakshmi Manchu is producing this film. This film will be the production no. 49 on Sri Lakshmi Prasanna Pictures banner. The shooting of the film starts soon. We are aiming for Summer 2008 release.

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