us about your background and your journey towards the making of
was born in Madras (now known as Chennai). I belong to a very
poor family. I lost my mother at an age of three. I don't even
remember how she looks like. Somebody showed me a photograph and
asked me to pay homage and I was told that the lady in that photograph
is my mother. My father was addicted to alcohol and he also expired
when I was a kid. I have an elder sister and a younger sister.
Our relatives adapted each one of us. But one of our relatives
joined my sister in an orphanage. So I came out of my house and
joined as a lorry cleaner to make my living. My sister joined
the relative's house from which I came out. I worked for years
as a lorry cleaner to earn my bread and butter.
then joined as an assistant to a cameraman and worked with him
for various films. But he mostly specialized in the special effects
aspect of a movie and I was more interested in working for a regular
commercial cinema. I had a habit of narrating small storylines
and an upcoming director asked me to help him with story and dialogues.
I joined him as an assistant director and worked for a 6-month
project. When that movie released, it went on to become one of
the biggest blockbusters of Telugu cinema. In case you are wondering
what that movie is, its Shiva and the director I assisted
was Ram Gopal Varma. I also worked as a cameraman for the second
unit of that film.
Gopal Varma made me the cinematographer for the film Rathri
followed by Antham, Money etc. Then I got a break in a
Hindi film called Baazi [directed by Oscar nominated Lagaan
director Ashutosh Gowariker]. I also did a few other films in
that period Ramoji Rao garu opened Ramoji Film City (RFC) and
I helped RFC by getting some Bollywood projects for them. One
evening Ramoji Rao garu happened to spot me in RFC and
thanked me for getting Bollywood projects. I was taken aback by
his generous gesture as I had experienced that 95% of the people
live in their artificially created fake paradise and they fail
to acknowledge small people who contribute to their success. I
strongly believe that, his humility to acknowledge deserving people
of their help irrespective of their position made Ramoji Rao garu
what he is today.
that time, Usha Kiron movies produced a film Mechanic Mavayya
with a budget of 4 crores with Raja Sekhar as hero and lost a
huge money. I asked about the remuneration of Raja Sekhar and
found that he charged 50 lakhs as his remuneration. I wanted to
dispel the myth of big stars. So I approached Ramoji Rao garu
and told him that I would do a film for him within a budget of
30 lakhs. I also told him that there are a whole lot of talented
technicians and artists waiting for a break and that they are
even willing to do a film for free. Some girls are even ready
to sleep with guys to get a heroine chance. We are not asking
them for that. We are requesting them to do it for free as it
would be mutually beneficial.
asked me to narrate the story. He listened to it till the interval
and then he told me that he couldn't judge the film properly as
the story belongs to 16-17 year segment. But he assured that he
would give me 10 lakhs more than what I asked for. He told me
that he had the confidence in me as I came from a very poor background
and worked very hard to reach the position in which I was at that
time. I asked him if I had to narrate the story to the story department
of Ramoji Film City. He asked me not to bother about anything
else. He also told me that he is writing his 40 lakhs as a loss
and that he does not mind even if the film becomes a flop.
took a room in Yatri Nivas and finalized the script and selected
the cast and crew for the film. We paid Rs 11,000/- to the cast
and crew for their pocket money. We made the film as per the budget
and released it and the rest is history.
are branded as an arrogant person by the media and film industry.
But you seem to be a very simple and humble guy with a tinge of
frankness. Why did the media create such an image for you?
because I don't take any crap. May be because most of the people
out here don't know what they want and what to give. They are
in a state of confusion. Most of the film people out here have
false prestige and inflated egos. If I don't like anything, I
say it on their face. Hence, people brand me as an arrogant man
as I don't act like a sycophant. Even when it comes to my team,
I make sure that all the people are professional, dedicated and
sincere. Otherwise, I would throw them out of my projects.
people like to hear eulogies about their work than sincere feedback.
Let me narrate this small incident to you. I was working on a
subject for a movie with this hero at his residence. A film of
that hero released on that day and a herd of people visited him
with flower bouquets to congratulate him on his film's success.
They started showering him with praises saying that the movie
received a 10-week talk and 100 days talk. The hero was naturally
happy and was gladly accepting all the encomiums. His wife and
kids were cutting cakes to celebrate his happiness. When the hero
went inside, I told his wife that everybody is lying to him and
that the film was an utter flop. The film was taken out of the
theaters by Monday (within three days).
in this industry love lies. They are complacent to living in a
fake world created by sycophants. That's why most of the films
by big stars are full of fakeness. There is no authenticity in
their films. Hence it is natural for the filmy people to brand
me arrogant when I bluntly say the truth on their faces. They
mistake my bluntness for arrogance.
am not saying that I am an ideal person. I do a lot of mistakes.
I have lot of negative points and a very few plus points. But
it's those few plus points that are helping me become successful.
are you so frank?
try to be very straight forward as it relieves me of all my headaches.
If we are diplomatic and hide our true feelings inside, we start
acting, which leads to a lot of tensions. I want to have a nice
and worry-free sleep every night.
would like to tell an incident here. When we were making Chitram,
Atluri Rama Rao garu [the executive producer of Usha Kiron
Movies] arranged a press meet. He took me aside and asked me not
to reveal two things. The first one was that the film's title
is Chitram, as somebody else already registered it and
that RFC guys were trying to get it through a deal. The second
point was that I should not reveal the budget as 40 lakhs as the
press might think that it's a cheap film.
first thing I told in the press meet was that the film's title
is Chitram and that the budget was 40 lakhs. By doing so,
it relieved me of my pressure. Then I asked the press to shoot
me questions as I could answer them with a peaceful mind.
heard that you faced a lot of problems to release Nuvvu Nenu
as there were no buyers. Is it true?
Because of the failure of Family Circus, buyers were apprehensive
about the box office performance of Nuvvu Nenu. All the
buyers, who pledged their commitment with the film, failed to
pay the full amount. A buyer being apprehensive is totally understandable
Nenu has a lot of scenes that are inspired by popular Hindi
films. Is it coincidental or deliberate?
not coincidental. I never claimed that Nuvvu Nenu is an original
script. I told everybody right from the beginning that Nuvvu-Nenu
is a very old story and there is nothing new in it. I told them
that the only new thing in that film is the casting and treatment.
Even today, I am telling you that the story is not original.
any love story. There are only three major factors. There would
be a guy and a girl who belong to opposite status. After they
fall in love, the togetherness is established. A problem creeps
in and they get separated. How they get back to each other forms
the climax. This forms the base for any love story, be it Romeo
Juliet, Laila Majnu, Bobby, Maine Pyar Kiya, Qayamat Se Qayamat
Tak, Nuvvu Nenu or Jayam. The only difference in a
few love stories is that they end with a tragedy.
have not been kind to Nuvvu Nenu, though it became one
of the biggest blockbusters of last year. What could be the reason?
watch a film to rip it apart. However good the film might be,
they eye it with an intention to scrutinize it coming under the
pressure of their identity. Normal viewer watches it with an emotion
and if he identifies himself with the emotion running in the film
he likes it and makes it a blockbuster. But a critic goes to a
movie with scissors and unscrupulously divides the film into separate
threads called story, artists, music, photography, direction,
dialogues, screenplay etc. Hence, they miss the emotion of the
film as a whole. Moreover, critics are of the opinion that they
are more intelligent and smarter than the director of the film.
They don't watch the film for themselves. They watch the film
to recommend it to others. In spite of critics ripping Nuvvu Nenu
apart and complaining, people who watched it as normal audience
liked it. When critics dissect the films like they usually do,
they become mathematicians, but not movie lovers.
is what happened when Sony entered Hollywood and took over Columbia.
When a major company takes over another company, calculations
do come in. Instead of being creative, they played it safe by
coming up with sequels to blockbusters like Rocky - Rocky
II, Rocky III, and Rocky IV etc. This is what happens
when mathematicians take over the field of art.
once tried watching a film from a critic's point of view. I then
realized that critics (or reviewers) never watch a movie from
a common point of view. They think they are greater than the director.
When they write reviews, they try to advise the audience and try
to make an impact on the decision making process of the audience.
I tell you there would never be a film, which would truly and
perfectly satisfy all the critics.
us about your latest movie Jayam
is being made with an old story but with a new treatment. I know
I might be sounding cliché tic but you have to watch it
to believe me.
is another rumor that you have planned to release Jayam
on the same day of the release of Sreeram because that
film was supposed to have some dialogues, which were meant to
I planned to do the same. But, they have withdrawn those dialogues
in that film. And now I don't want to release Jayam opposite
Sreeram. Though the makers claimed that it was not deliberate,
the writers (Paruchuri Brothers) had a history of doing these
kinds of acts. In the past too, they degraded a journalist in
their film by making false references to him. Since I live in
a civilized world, I stepped down four steps after they decided
to take two steps back.
an interview to a magazine, you said that you wanted to release
Jayam on the same day as the release of a director's film
because he humiliated you. Can you comment on that?
not a director but a filmmaker (producer) I was talking about.
He missed the opportunity, as he did not start his film yet. Otherwise,
I would have definitely released Jayam opposite his film.
is that producer?
and watch. You will realize it soon as my next film would be releasing
opposite that film. I don't believe in taking revenge through
expletives. I believe in hitting back with my work.
believe in giving quality output. With my quality work, I have
knocked down the stars and everybody knows that. I met so many
stars to make films with them. They don't give you any encouragement.
In addition to it, they would make you feel dejected. How to get
even with those stars? Make a super hit with new comers and prove
yourself! That is what I have done with Chitram and Nuvvu
Nenu. You now know the chaos in the industry. Big stars are
facing severe identity crisis.
is the need to put 10 songs in Jayam?
audiocassette has only 10 songs. But, the film would be having
15 songs. The viewers are used to watching films by superstars.
We proved that we could make films with non-starters as well.
Generally people are used to watching 6 songs in films. Now, we
are proving that we can make super hits with 15 songs as well.
What matters in a film is its capability to convince the audience.
The number of songs we have is not an issue at all. My film is
an emotional experience. It's not a numerical experience. It has
nothing to do with number or mathematics.
you have any specific reason for using RP Patnaik as the singer
for eight songs out of 10 songs in Jayam audio album?
we did Chitram, I wanted RP to sing all the songs. But
with a great difficulty he agreed to sing one song [Maavo
song]. Before RP sang for the tracks of Jayam, we tried
different singers for those songs. But nobody matched the emotion
that RP showed in his voice while singing the songs. I don't look
for the softness or tenor in a singer's voice. I look for the
feel and emotion in the singer's voice. And RP had it.
tell you the truth, I don't really care for voices when I listen
to songs. Even today, I don't recognize the voice of the singer
by listening to any song. I look for the emotion and depth in
the voice. After Ghantasala garu, the only singer I found
to have emotion in his voice is RP Patnaik. His voice suited the
mood and emotion I was looking for in Jayam and everybody
would accept it when they watch the film on the big screen. If
people can accept Balu singing all songs in an album for decades,
I don't find any reason in they not accepting RP as a full-fledged
was rife with the news that you were going to do a film with Chiranjeevi.
Is it true?
of us never had any announcements or statements. It's the media
that speculated about it. Chiranjeevi garu seems to have
told in an interview that he would like doing a film in my direction.
But nothing has been confirmed yet.
saw a news article in idlebrain.com that I was planning to do
Jayam with Allu Arjun. When a person is successful, people
start guessing about his new moves. To be frank with you I am
a very unpredictable guy and my decisions change their course
of direction on the fly. And I never force myself to stick to
any of the statements I make.
I had spoken about any thing 4 years back, it would not have a
weightage of even two grams now. But if I talk anything today,
it carries two tons of weight. When a person becomes a celebrity,
he tends to change. He would be very careful speaking in interviews
and would change himself to act as per the statements given in
the interview. But I am not like that; I don't want to kill the
Teja inside me because I am famous now. So, if you hear any rumor
about me, just call me up and I will give a frank and reliable
us about your personal life. Are you married?
am married. It was a love marriage. I have two kids - a boy who
is five years old and a girl who is two years old.
you have any suggestions to the director wannabes?
never give any suggestions to anybody.
did you learn the art of direction?
is nothing but plain commonsense, which is quite uncommon in the
Telugu film industry at present. My world is very small. My imagination
and creativity is limited to small screen area of 2.3:1. I don't
give any advices to anybody. I only advise people who are acting
in my films to get the maximum effect.
you have anything to say to the visitors of idlebrain.com?
not birth, family, cast, riches, intelligence or money that take
you to places. It's sheer hard work that takes you to greater
heights. If you have the will, you can become whatever you want.
No power on the earth can stop a sincere worker.