us about the progress of Pawan Kalyan's latest film on Vyjayanthi
story is finalized. We are in the process of completing
the dialogue version of the film. It might take a month.
We might be going for regular shooting from September 2003
onwards. It's a prestigious product. It would contain all
ingredients one expects from Vyjayanthi banner and will
live up to the expectations of Pawan Kalyan's fans from
his film. This film would be an eye-feast for Telugu movie
lovers. Shriya and Meera Jasmin are paired up with Pawan
Kalyan in this film.
film industry is now going through bad times. But your last
three films Indra, Pellam Voorelithe and Gangotri
are blockbusters in the recent times. What is the secret
of your success?
I wanted to do a film with Chiranjeevi with a role that
Chiranjeevi has not done before. It's the role of a factionist.
That became the trump card. We wanted to choose a backdrop
that was never attempted before. Hence we went to Kaasi.
If we have 20% of the substance in the script, Chiranjeevi
adds remaining 80% with his histrionics and screen presence.
The credit for the success of this film should go to Chiranjeevi.
Hats off to K Raghavendra Rao garu! When we decided to produce
the 100th directorial venture of K Raghavendra Rao, we firmly
decided to go to sets with a perfect script. We knew that
100th ventures of all big people turned out to be duds in
the history of Telugu cinema. We wanted to break that sentiment.
Chinni Krishna came up with a different love story. Keeravani,
who gave musical superhits with Raghavendra Rao like Allari
Priyudu, Pelli Sandadi and Annamayya, came up with brilliant
tunes. This combination has helped Gangotri become a musical
Voorelithe: Allu Arvind liked the Tamil original 'Charlie
Chaplin' a lot. We wanted to produce this film on Siri Media
banner and chose SV Krishna Reddy as the director. I was
pretty busy with Indra's function and script work of Gangotri.
Allu Arvind took all the pains of getting involved with
the script work of 'Pellam Voorelithe'. Srikanth and Venu
got lots of appreciation through this film. SV Krishna Reddy
is back with a bang with this film.
am really happy with these three successes, as these films
not only entertained the crowds but also gave maximum satisfaction
and recognition for the cast and crewmembers of these films.
These three hits came in the time of Industry's crisis.
Incidentally, this year happens to be 25th year of Vyjayanthi
banner and it brought huge success to me and my banner.
the recently announced 50th National Film Awards none of
the Telugu films were qualified even for the best regional
film award. Prakash Jha has spoken some unceremonious words
about the deteriorating standards of Telugu films. What's
your opinion about it?
jury that reviewed the films does not have any judgment
about the standards of Telugu cinema. If you see the Telugu
films exhibited in USA, we get lot of critical appreciation
about the films. We have high standards of filmmaking and
we maintain superior quality. This is what happens if they
keep physically unfit people as committee members. It's
our mistake to send our entries to these so-called National
Awards. This is my personal opinion.
have either super hits or utter flops in the industry. We
have very few minimum guarantee films releasing these days.
Do you think Telugu film industry is in a slump?
depends on how we look at it. It is the need of the hour
to get new writers and directors to Telugu film industry.
In the last couple of years, we saw new breed of directors
producing fruitful results. In the recent times, a director
made a producer spend 3.5 crores for making a film with
180 working days and exposing 120 rolls. That film turned
out to be a dud. Telugu film industry witnessed these kind
of films released in the recent past. As a producer I would
not call it as a slump situation. But it's purely the producer's
inability to have control over the script and the escalating
budget. Instead of blindly spending money over a film, a
producer must involve himself more into filmmaking.
awareness about video piracy was created by the film industry
for the past one year. Did you see any fruitful results?
The situation has become worse now. If we take more precautions,
the pirates are inventing new methods of spreading piracy
at a rapid rate. We want to react very strongly by closing
the entire film industry down if piracy continues to affect
the film industry. However, CM has given an assurance that
he would cooperate with film industry by including video
piracy in Organized Crime Act. He asked us to sit with lawyers
and come out with recommendation about how piracy could
be curbed legally.
have very good support from the higher cadre (higher police
officials and government). But the MLAs (belonging to both
ruling party and opposition) are protecting the culprits
to the core.
best example for this is Simhadri and Vasantham. There is
so much of piracy happening on the two hit films in spite
of the vigilance by the producers Dora Swamy Raju and Prasad.
Earlier, we used to think that pirated videocassettes are
available only in video shops. But now, they have become
such a common commodity that they are available even in
can see the 'records' mania gripping up the publicity of
hit films in the last one year. Producers are giving ads
to film magazines saying that their respective films broke
all records. How does a common man know which record is
genuine and which one is bogus? Because of these records,
the animosity among the fans of various stars is growing.
Can't the film producers' counsel have a check on these
ads and testify them?
have discussed about this issue lot of times. Nobody really
bothers when a successful film is promoted aggressively.
But what creates confusion is the trend of arranging felicitation
for flop films and terming them as hit films. We can't go
and stop those producers, as they try every possible method
to recover their money.
records' publishing is restricted to film magazines and
they are targeted at fans. These records would not affect
the decision-making process of a common man who makes the
film a real hit. The real trouble starts for any producer
when their movie crosses 50 days. Unless, repeated viewers
come to theater any film would not reach the 100-day mark.
have been very successful as a filmmaker. Do you have any
future plans of constructing studios, labs or multiplexes?
have some plans in the future. We need to update ourselves
with changing trends and new technologies. But, we need
to wait for some more time before venturing into any project.
Lets take the example of digital cinema system. Right now
we have 7-8 brands of digital cinema systems with each one
having its own merits and demerits. And we need to adapt
a universally accepted digital cinema system. In addition
to this, lots of cinema halls are closing down. It costs
around 25 lakhs for each center to digitalize the theater.
I guess we need to play the 'wait and watch' game now. But
by introducing new technologies, we can definitely restrict
the video piracy. At the same time, we need to compromise
on certain issues.
you think releasing films with maximum number of prints
helps big producers to recover money fast and there by not
letting pirates exploit the market?
The best example is the recently released Simhadri. It was
released with maximum number of prints and that strategy
worked. For example, I released Indra with 7 prints and
they released Simhadri with 14 prints. But this 'maximum
number of prints' strategy work only for mass films with
you think, its time to bid adieu to the culture of 50 days
centers and 100 days centers when one releases the film
with maximum number of prints? Is it possible to release
original video/DVD of films after a few weeks of the release
of the film so that piracy could be curbed?
alone cannot take a decision on this matter. We need to
involve the exhibitors and distributors too. Lets take the
example of Bollywood. In Telugu film industry, we are giving
satellite rights after five years to TV channels. In Bollywood,
they are giving satellite rights after 3 months and 6 months.
Some people say that giving satellite rights after 3 months
and 6 months has pushed Bollywood into slump. Some other
people argue that it has brought down the piracy. We need
to involve each and everybody in the film industry and organize
a seminar for a week to brainstorm and come up with the
best possible solution.
you think returning money to the buyers when a film flops
is a good practice? If buyers get used to this system, they
would demand reimbursement from producers for all disasters?
have the answer in your question itself. It's the distributors
who hike the price by going for competition. The prime sufferers
in the entire process are exhibitors. These distributors
take money from exhibitors by promising that they would
buy big heroes films at any cost. If we have an industry
hit that broke all the records, then the buyers are buying
similar films at the same price, which could only be given
for an industry hit. The probability of all big films becoming
industry hits is very less. Based on the buyer's offering
rate, the producer hikes the remuneration of the heroes.
In the whole process, even if the film becomes a disaster,
the producer and distributors are safe. But it's the exhibitor
who loses everything.
you think Recoverable Advances system is a good one for
we had a meeting with distributors where they proposed that
all the movies need to be sold either on Recoverable advances
model or on minimum guarantee basis. We agreed upon it.
But the moment we came out of the room, producers were surrounded
by distributors who promise to they buy the producer's next
film at any cost on NRA basis. There is no unity among the
distributors. Each and every distributor cares for his selfish
purpose than for the system. In this scenario, we are helpless.
of the films produced by newcomers are becoming disasters.
Is there are way to prevent rich and inexperienced guys
entering the film industry?
we try to stop them, they would ask us with what experience
we came to the industry 25 years back. Lot of the people
come to industry because of glamour. I told you this incident
in my earlier interview also. I was traveling with a rich
businessman who owns a corporate empire worth 500 crores.
He told me that though he is rich and successful businessman,
he is not known to the common man where as I am known to
almost all the Telugu people as I am a big producer. He
said that he wouldn't mind losing 10-15 crores, but he wanted
to become a producer. Cinema field has such kind of alluring
glamour. When such producers entering the film industry,
they tend to hike the remuneration of hero by 2-3 times
in order to get the dates of that star. Industry always
needs new breed of producers. But these producers should
have minimum knowledge on moviemaking.
are fast approaching. Where are you planning to contest
for the next year's parliament elections?
is still some time. I would let you know the details once
us about your future projects
Kalyan, Shriya, Meera Jasmin
all these projects would take 2 to 2 and a half years.
were there at the inauguration of Prasad's
IMAX multiplex on 23rd of July. What do you think about
the culture of multiplex theaters and how is it going to
change the viewing habits of Telugu film lovers?
IMAX was opened, the other cinema halls in the city did
not have more than 35-40% collections. The newly coming
multiplexes have great sound and visual systems. They also
incorporate shopping malls and food courts. With the advent
of multiplexes, the movie lovers are coming back to the
theaters. There are many more multiplexes coming up in Hyderabad
now. There is one multiplex coming up near Taj Krishna with
the collaboration of the Spencers & Oberoi. Two multiplexes
are being planned in Jubilee Hills area. K Ragahvendra Rao
is planning one. One more multiplex is coming up in Secunderabad.
One more would be built in Kompally. This multiplex culture
is giving new hope for box office. People who lost interest
in watching films in theaters are coming back to multiplexes
to enjoy the experience of viewing films in a new way. It
is also revealed that wherever there are multiplexes in
North India, Hindi movies fared well. A study reveals that
1500 multiplexes would be coming up in the next two years
in North India alone.
in Prasad's they have a flat rate system of Rs 60/- per
head. They should have left 2-3 rows in front for masses
for Rs 10/- so that they could also enjoy the shows. They
can balance it by pricing the regular tickets little higher.
you have any plans of encouraging your daughters to take
care of Vyjayanthi banner in the future?
elder daughter is studying in USA. She has lot of ideas
related to cinema field. She is also interested in learning
a course related to movies in New York for four months next
year. I encourage them to excel in whatever fields they
choose. I would be happier if my daughters take over Vyjayanthi
you think the business potential of Pawan Kalyan has gone
down because Johnny was a disaster?
Kalyan is a fantastic performer who always strives to have
different elements in his films. Pawan Kalyan possesses
the same craze and stamina even after the release of Johnny.
Whenever I make a film, I do not think about the business
potential of that film. But I have such a confidence in
my projects that I could create high business demand for
any of my films. With that confidence, I spend a lot of
money in my projects to get a quality rich film both in
terms of content and extravagance. 90% of the areas for
my films are retained by me. So I don't have to bother about
distributors buying my films. The script of Pawan Kalyan's
film is such an entertaining one that I am eagerly waiting
for the day when this film goes to floors.
worked with Chiranjeevi earlier and you are currently working
with Pawan Kalyan. Do you notice any similarities/differences
in their working style?
of them are very good hard workers. They involve themselves
in the nitty-gritty of filmmaking for a better product.
Both of them have infinite zeal to deliver a hit film. The
only difference I see is that Chiranjeevi gives more preferences
to masses in his films. Pawan Kalyan tries to give preferences
to youth and class also along with the masses because of
his age factor.
Kalyan keeps a low profile about his films. You give your
films maximum boost in terms of publicity and press relations.
Which method would be followed for your film with Pawan
always good to keep a low profile for films. We need to
hide things. If something is leaked, other filmmakers may
copy it. When Pawan Kalyan and Vyjayanthi banner is involved
in a film, there is going to be enormous hype in the market.
I would like to have a low profile for this film. At that
same time, I make sure that I keep the press happy and content.
you have any plans for the USA distributors to curb piracy?
I went to USA, I suggested distributors in USA something.
Most of the Telugu film distributors in USA are working
people. I don't want them losing money by investing their
hard-earned money into Telugu film distribution. If the
distributors in USA get united, we can propose releasing
all popular Telugu films in USA through them on commission
basis so that they don't have to put a penny from their
pocket. They should also ensure that video piracy does not
get spread in USA. But at the same time, there should be
unity in our producers as well. Nobody should say that they
want to sell right to USA because somebody offered them
1 lakh dollars. The USA distributors should also be sincere
and honest. To serve the NRIs in a better way, we don't
mind adding more spools of 100 days functions of Indra,
cultural programs, Godavari Pushkaralu to the feature films
we send to USA so that Telugu NRI's feel at home by watching
read two more interviews of Aswini Dutt
Interview one (pre-Indra)
Interview two (post-Indra)