Gopichand's journey in Tollywood in not all bed of roses. Making his debut as hero with Toli Valapu (2001), he tasted bitter failure. Without any inhibitions, he switched over to villainy. His histrionics were so powerful that he bagged Nandi Award (Best villain) for Jayam; and held the audience in wonder with his ruthless wickedness in Varsham. Though he got an opportunity to work as hero again during the time of Jayam making, he honestly waited till he achieved stardom. When he made his second coming as hero with Yagnam, he received wide applause and his success streak as hero continued, irrespective of the destiny of his films. His latest film Souryam is all set to hit the marquee tomorrow. Gopichand, beaming with confidence, says that still he is not a perfect artiste. "I hope to compete with ace comedians like Brahmanandam, besides learning the art of fine romance onscreen." An exclusive interview to Idlebrain. Excerpts:
How did Souryam materialize?
Cameraman Vasu told me that Siva is having a good story. I asked him to tell Siva to come and meet me. He did not come. I was discussing with D Suresh Babu and he told me that he heard a potential story from Siva who is looking to direct a film. D Suresh Babu sent Siva to me and he gave me 2 and half hours of narration. I agreed to do it immediately.
What did you like in Souryam?
There is not even a single boring moment in the film. Entire film is entertaining with the right mix of commercial elements. There is lot of clarity in director while narrating the film. Siva executed the film very well.
Why repeat Anushka?
The first reason is that ours became a hit combination with Lakshyam film. The second reason is that the character suits her very well. There is a very good prominence for heroine role in this film and it is an important role.
Jayam, Varsham, Yagnam, Ranam, Lakshyam, Souryam – why two lettered titles ending with zero?
More than the sentiment, I feel that souryam is apt for the story line of the film.
What is the reason for doing it for a new producer?
I had known producer Anand Prasad for the past five years. He was willing to produce a film with me as hero when Jayam was released. I asked him to wait as I did not have the market. He has lots of confidence in me. I felt that this is the right time for him to produce a film with me as I have created a market for myself as hero. As per my judgment, Souryam is a safe film.
What went wrong with your earlier film Ontari?
Killing heroine after raping her did not go well with the sensibilities of Telugu audiences. The masses could not understand the spaced out flashback format. The main point of the film is about hero taking revenge on the people who killed his love. I told director BV Ramana that he would get the entire credit for hit/flop as it is a very risky subject to execute and then convince the audiences.
What went right with Lakshyam and how much did it collect?
Lakshyam collected a share of 18 crores, as per my knowledge. The combination of me and Jagapati Babu as brothers worked. The heroine and songs are pluses. The climax is a major asset.
You have created a market for yourself where your minimum guarantee film would rake in around 10 crores. What is the proposed budget for your films?
I don't believe in having a fixed budget for my films based on my market. I think the producer should spend the money as per the demand of the story.
Don't you think director Siva being a Tamil guy might not do justice to a Telugu film?
He has been in Telugu film industry for the past 7-8 years. He knows the sensibilities of Telugu people very well. He is a pucca commercial director. He is very good at extracting emotions.
You worked for over 10 films so far. Do you think you lack anything as an actor?
I feel that I should learn more about performing comedy. I should be able to compete with comedians like Brahmanandam in their combination scenes. I should also be able to do romantic scenes more convincingly.
You seem to be more concentrating on doing mass films. Why don't you do different subjects on small budget?
The dynamics of trade in film industry is different compared to other businesses. Our heroes market is valued at what our previous film has collected. The moment I do a small budget film, the buyers for the next big budget film would hesitate to pay more quoting about the money collected for a small budget film. I have done Okkadunnadu film. Though it is a good film, it did not work at B and C centers where all my mass films do well irrespective of how good they are.
I hear very good subjects. But these subjects cannot be done at this point of time. If the number of multiplexes increases in AP and then I might do such small budgeted films.
What is your next project?
I have not committed any film yet.
Siva (Souryam director)
Mamata Mohandas (Actress)
Lakshmi Lahari (Actress)
Ramesh Varma (Director)
Neha Thota (Child actress)
Srinivas Avasarala (Actor)
Uday Kiran (Actor)
Ram Gopal Varma (Director)
PG Vinda (Cinematographer)
Hari Yelleti (Director)
Kishore Ganji (Producer)
Ram Mohan (Producer)
Salim Panda (Actor)
Surekha Vani (Actress)
Manjari Fadniz (Actress)
A Raja Sekhar (Director)
Sayaji Shinde (Actor)
Viswa Tej (Actor)
Geetha Madhuri (Playback Singer)
Sneha Ullal (Actress)
Prem Kumar Patra (Producer)
GV Prakash (Music director)
Mohana Krishna Indraganti (Director)
Bharat (Child actor)
Malini Dasari (Cinematographer)
Rama Jogaiah Sastry (Lyricist)
Uday Kiran (Hero)
Aditi Sharma (Heroine)
Nagur Babu (Mano) (Singer)
Sekhar Suri (Director)
Sindhu Menon (Heroine)
Vinu Thomas (Music director)
Nihal (Music director & Singer)
Smita (Pop singer)
Sonal Chauhan (Actress)
Raghu Kunche (Singer)
Udaya Bhanu (Anchor)
Meher Ramesh (Director)
Rao Ramesh (Actor)
Gopi Mohan (Writer)
Ajay Sastri (Director)
Vara Mullapudi (Director)
Bhumika Chawla (Actress)
Jagapati Babu (Actor)
Vijay C Kumar (Cinematographer)
Sekhar Kammula (Director)