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Interview with Dil Raju
Date: February 7, 2011, Hyderabad
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Dil Raju is known for sensible and different cinema. His latest movie Gaganam with Nagarjuna and Prakash Raj (Prakash Raj produces the Tamil version Payanam) is all set to release on 11 February. He shared many details about his film Gaganam to Here are the excepts -

Tell us how did Gaganam film happen?
Prakash Raj narrated the concept of Gaganam during the release time of Aakasamantha. I loved it and we planned to produce it in Telugu (me) and Tamil (Prakash Raj) with in a combined budget of 5 crores.

I had shown the preview of Tamil original of Aakasamantha to Nagarjuna. He loved the film. I asked him if he could act in Prakash Raj’s role so that I could remake Akasamantha in Telugu. Nagarjuna said that it won’t suit his image at this point of time. I approached Nagarjuna again to do the commando role in Gaganam movie. He got excited about the subject and asked me to prepare the full script with the treatment. We worked for 3 months and arrived at the final script. Radha Mohan, Prakash Raj, me, cameraman and dialogue writer participated in the script work. Nagarjuna was completely impressed by the script. He initially thought that it was going to be a serious film. But we incorporated lot of entertainment that generates out of the situations in the script. He gave a go-ahead. Since Nagarjuna came aboard, we made sure that the movie is made on a grand scale. The set and visual effects itself cost us more than 4 crores.

What is the story of Gaganam?
It is a hijack-based script. The story takes place in 5 days. People of various backgrounds and characterizations board a flight and it gets hijacked. This story has various aspects to it -

1. Each passenger (one politician and one film hero among them) react to such a crisis situation in a different way.
2. The reactions of the family members, relatives, friends who sent them off and who are about to receive them at destination.
3. The Government reaction and the decisions it take. The deployment of the right people from air force and army to deal with the crisis.
4. How media sensationalises the issue without realising the human angle in it.

There is beautiful humor generated out of tense situation in the flight. Humor is going to be a major asset to the film along with the script.

What is the reason for the delay in release?
We started the film in March 2010 and wanted to release it by September. Since we had Brindavanam slated for September/October, we wanted Gaganam to release a month after Brindavanam release. Since Brindavanam got released in October, we wanted to release it in November. The Tamil film industry had too many big releases in November and Prakash Raj wanted to postpone it to December. We wanted to release on 3 December, and Nagavalli got released on the same day. We wanted to release it on 9 December, but Ragada was coming for 17 December and there was no big gap. Hence, we decided to release on 3 January, but the strike in Telugu film industry stalled our post-production activity. We wanted to release on 4 February and KSD Appalraju’s date was also confirmed on 4th. I asked them for a commitment that they will not release Appalraju for 11 February and they obliged. Finally, Gaganam is releasing on 11 February. All the this delay helped us in getting our post-production work done with perfection.

What is your gut feel on the movie?
Prakash Raj saw the final copy of Tamil version on 5 February and said that Gaganam is like laddu. I saw the 1st copy of Gaganam today morning in Prasad labs when I went to check the DTS of the movie. The final output of the movie is of great quality. We shot the movie in Red Camera and cameraman Guhan used various cameras to a great effect. There will be tension in the movie and at the same time there is nice entertainment. Gaganam is going to be a visual treat.

Tell us about the previews of Gaganam?
I am going to show the premiere of Nagarjuna’s Gaganam to the press three days (8 Feb night) before the release. There will be premieres for industry people on the night of 9 Feb. Then we (Nagarjuna, Dil Raju, Prakash Raj and others) will travel in a chartered flight to Sangam theater in Vizag at 10:30 am for morning show. Then we will visit Geeta Apsara theater in Rajahmundry for 1:30 pm. After that we will go to Annapurna theater in Vijayawada at 4:30 pm. Then we will return to Hyderabad to attend a 4-screens premiere in Prasads multiplex during the time of first show. The second show premiere in Hyderabad will take place in Cinemax.

You are showing premieres to press, industry people and the audiences well in advance before the release. Are you not afraid of negative talk it may generate?
There are many misconceptions about the movie among the industry people and the people who closely follow the film for the following reasons -

1. There are no songs, hence movie will not be good
2. There is no craze for the movie
3. It will be like a documentary because of hijack subject
4. Nagarjuna is doing a guest role
5. It got postponed many times because Dil Raju is not satisfied with the output

All the above mentioned things will be answered when we have premieres. I have shown the double positive of the movie to people of various backgrounds (technicians as well as movie lovers). I got the clarity that it will be liked by all sections of audiences. I want to break the norm and show it to all the people who matter.

Are the Telugu and Tamil version going to be the same?
Major part of the both these versions is same. But we edited/modified certain scenes in both versions to suit local sensibilities. The Tamil version will be of 2:08 hours runtime. The Telugu version is pacier and it will be having a runtime of 1:58 hours.

Tell us about your next projects?

Mr Perfect: Shooting of the movie is complete except for a 6-days shoot of songs. This movie is slated for March/April release. You will see a new Prabhas in the movie just liked we had a new NTR in Brindavanam. It is an youthful family entertainer. It represents the present mindset of youth who see not much difference between their life and career. They have become as calculative in their lives just the way they are in their careers. This movie addresses that aspect beautifully.

O My Friend: Siddharth is acting again in our banner after Bommarillu. Venu Sriram worked with us since Arya and he is getting introduced as director with this movie. It will deal with the friendship aspect between a boy and a girl. The pooja ceremony will be held on 9 Feb and the movie will go to floors on 21 Feb.

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