Two of interview
Nagarjuna asked me to do a film with him as hero. Hari Krishna
was the producer of Pattabhisekham and during the making of that
film he used to treat me as his own brother. He is very fond of
food and used to treat me a lot with different kinds of food.
As I was new at Chennai, I did not know how to handle forks and
chopsticks. He used to always ask me to accompany him for lunches
and dinners. At that time I asked him to continue acting in films.
He used to brush that suggestion off. But when I came to know
that he accepted a brief ferocious role in Sreeramulayya,
I decided that it is the right time to approach Hari Krishna.
When I requested him to play elder brother to Nagarjuna in 'Seetaramaraju',
he gladly accepted.
film 'Seetaramaraju' was released and it became a good
hit. But this film faced stiff competition from other faction
films like 'Samarasimha Reddy' and 'Anthahpuram',
which were released around 45 days prior to Seetaramaraju's
release. Two weeks prior to Seetarama Raju's release, Hari
Krishna came out of TDP and established his own political outfit.
Because of this the NTR following he had got split. There might
be faults committed by me as director as well. Another reason
is that Seetarama Raju became a heavy film with less entertainment.
that period I came across Mahesh Babu and narrated him a story.
Initially we thought of having two fresh heroines for this venture.
But due to certain pressures, we had to cast Simran and Sakshi
Sivanand. The first half of 'Yuvaraju' was not up to the
expectations. The audience felt that the cine mileage (cinema
mileage = experience in terms of number of movies) of heroines
is more than that of hero in that film. The kid Teja, who acted
as son of Chiranjeevi in 'Choodalani Vundi', acted as son
of Mahesh Babu, which made it a little difficult for regular cinegoers
to appreciate. He did a terrific job though. The movie came up
to 'reasonably good range' just because of the way I treated the
film in the second half. As per the trade pundits - among Mahesh
Babu's films - only Raja Kumarudu and Yuvaraju satisfied
all the buyers in terms of content and trade aspects.
got delayed due to extra days of shooting. I was blamed for the
delay and a talk was spread against me that I delayed the project
and there by resulted in the increase of the budget, which is
a baseless rumor. Because of this rumor, not a single producer
approached me after the release of 'Yuvaraju'. I had 26
offers after SSRKCR, had 13 producers approached me after
'Seetarama Raju' and had no offers after Yuvaraju.
producer - not even one of those 26 people who were after me at
one point of time - bothered to approach me after Yuvaraju.
Not a single person told me that he believed in my talent and
the ability of making good films and offered me an opportunity
do a film for them in the limited budget they could afford. This
made me feel sad.
engineering student studies for 4 years and does a job for 30
years. A medical student studies for 5 years and works for 25
years. But I worked for 13 years in this cinema field before becoming
a director. Hence I decided that I should work in this film industry
successfully as director for at least 13 years.
that time, two people inspired me. These inspired technicians
are R Narayana Murthy and EVV Satyanarayana. When Narayana murthy
commercially failed as an artist, he started a 'Sneha Chitra'
banner and mobilized funds from friends to make movies. He created
a niche for himself in the market and succeeded. EVV Satya Narayana
is a very talented director. But he was also not receiving any
offers at one time. During that period, he started EVV Cinema
banner and produced 'Chala Bagundi' and made it a big hit.
I realized that I should not let my talent go in drain because
nobody was willing to offer me any films.
I had Hari Krishna as hero in proposal, my friends who were to
fund the film rejected it as they did not want Hari Krishna in
the film because he failed after floating an independent party.
Also, he was sitting idle. When I adhered to my decision of casting
Hari Krishna, my friends dropped from the project. Then I mortgaged
the flat in which I am staying and brought money from financiers
at high interest rates. When a director gets an idea for making
a film, he should make it as soon as possible. If you postpone
the film and delay the project, the fun of doing it would vanish.
I could have approached producers and narrated the subject to
them. Even if they liked it, I am sure that with the kind of cast
we had in mind for the film - it was going to be released in deficit
and no producer would risk doing that project.
I started my own production banner - Bommarillu, which
means a house that makes films or a house that exhibits films.
I did not want to attempt a youth film because by the time my
film releases, people would be fed up with youth films. I decided
to have a story that has multiple pairs, that belongs to different
generation and age groups. My Guru Raghavendra Rao inspired me
a lot. Whatever films he did, he made sure that people of all
classes and centers enjoy the film with same passion. With his
inspiration, I made L3 (Lahiri Lahiri Lahirilo) film.
studies people from a distance and makes his own opinions based
upon his observations. Once he forms an opinion about you, it
cannot be changed. When he announced SSRKCR with all newcomers,
lots of people discouraged Nagarjuna. But Nagarjuna went ahead
with SSRKCR and his power of judgment proved right. I am
indebted to Nagarjuna throughout my life for the break he has
given to me.
greatness about Mahesh Babu is that he signed me as the director
without watching my two films. He was so much inspired by the
storyline that he asked me to find a good producer to make that
film. He okayed the project after listening to the script in just
30 minutes. Since Mahesh Babu kept blind faith on me, I wanted
to prove myself by giving a good hit. I fighted against all odds
to make that film. But some people created a bad propaganda against
me prior to the release of Yuvaraju. I am very much thankful
to them as they made me more determined and their flack generated
more energy levels in me.
my first movie SSRKCR, I had a caption "trust love",
which means if you trust love it would become a power and guard
indicates that if any person indulges in violence, his death would
always happen in the form of a murder. We thought of putting a
caption 'Don't get into violence' for this film.
this film, I broke the rules than going in a routine way. This
film has a caption that 'if you love somebody - express it'. This
caption formed the base for lots of blockbuster love stories that
came in Tollywood after Yuvaraju.
a long time in Telugu film industry, we shot a film Seetaramaraju
with multiple stars. We balanced the film in such a way that neither
the nandamuri fans nor the Akkineni fans felt that their star
got a raw deal.
L3 (Lahiri Lahiri Lahirilo):
mellifluous song of NTR's grandeur film 'Maya Bazaar' inspired
the name of the film. Every Telugu movie fan must have listened
to that song for at least 100 times during his/her life span.
This song was very popular during those golden days. That is why
I named this film as L3. This song has a very addictive feel,
and mildness in its lyrics. From its musical and the visual aspects,
we could feel the softness of that song. Actually this is the
first film in the Telugu industry where a caption was made in
Telugu language. The caption was "okasari preminchi chodandi".
This film says that love starts the problem and the same love
solves the problem. So I actually broke the rules of the film
industry than being in a regular way. I was always interested
in breaking the rules. When I was sitting in the recording room,
I told Keervaani not to compromise in the quality of the music.
In my opinion, Keeravani is the best director not only in AP but
also in India. When I think about song's lyrics, its my God father
Veturi who comes to my mind first. Its Sirivennela whom I like
after Veturi. I felt the recording of the songs were not good
for the first time so I had to repeat the recording again. This
was done to bring the nativity of the songs by making them sung
by keervani. The others songs were sung by Kumar saanu, Sonu Nigam,
Sukhvinder singh, Chitra and Sunitha.
I planned to make this film, I first thought of actors; Hari Krishna,
Prakash raj, and Rajendra Prasad. For those actors, I selected
Bhanu priya opposite Hari Krishna, Ramya Krishna for Prakash Raj,
and finally Sanghavi for Rajendra Prasad. Unfortunately Prakash
Raj was banned by MAA association and Ramya Krishna was busy with
Tamil films. At that time, I also thought of selecting Sai kumar
but I finally took Suman for that character. The reason behind
my confidence in taking Suman was he did a very good comedy character
in the movie "Peddinti Alludu". I choose Rachana
for Suman. I choose Ravi teja for Rajendra Prasad's character
but Ravi teja was already doing solo hero characters. So he was
dropped. Then I immediately consulted Vineeth for this character
and he accepted this. Venkat was a rookie when I picked him for
SSRKCR. I extracted a decentperformance from him. But at
the same time I felt that he should polish himself in acting and
dances. Hence I suggested him to join a film institute to learn
things. But due to some internal pressures best known to him,
he committed to other films and lost the unique advantage he got
by acting in SSRKCR. I felt really sad for him as he was
my find. With that experience in mind, I picked Aditya (who is
a stage artist from Mumbai) so that he could have a smooth career
ahead. (he is having very good offers now)
this movie, I took Lakshmi for a negative character because I
wanted to do something different rather than taking Bombay actors
for this character. With her, I selected a very good group of
artists to support her character as a family. I showed a very
good environment rather than showing things shown in the old movies.
I never comprised in the costumes so I got all of them designed
at Bombay. I thought of starting the movie during the summer but
unfortunately unseasoned rains spoiled it. A song which was to
be shot in 4 days took 8 days time. Similarly while the comedy
sequences were being shot, Venu Madhav was put in jail. Even Rachana
was down with chicken pox and could not attend the shooting which
was evntually postponed for 16 days. So we had lot of problems
like that. At one spot of the shooting, many of our crew members
were stung by honeybees and were hospitalized for few days. Lakshmi
had a problem with her leg and she too was hospitalized for few
days. Even costume designer went out of country and we could not
proceed with the shooting. As I was the producer and director
of this movie, I could not compromise. So I had to spend a lot
of money due to these problems. At one stage, I was totally bankrupt
and had nothing to spend for this movie. Moreover I did not have
any sensational hits till then, so nobody was willing to support
me. A person named "Sudhakar" (the GM of Mayuri Distributors)
who listened my film songs was very much impressed. He also said
that I am a minimum guarantee director just like the Mr. Dependable
Dravid in Indian cricket. He told Ramoji Rao (of Eenadu group)
about my movie so they financed me to exhibit the movie in the
theatres and promoted this movie. At one stage of the movie, even
my co-technicians and other crew did not have any confidence in
me and they were betting whether my movie will be released or
not and even if it released, it would not be a success. I was
really hurt by this incident but I had confidence in the audience
that they will definitely make my movie a big success. My family
and my wife's relatives were really helping me financially as
well as morally and with Ramoji Rao's support, I was able to release
the movie. I had to cross a lot of barriers like people torturing
me to give their money back before my film release. Until then
I only heard about "nararoopa raksheshulu", and with
these incidents I could see them alive. A lot of people said that
if I could finish this movie within 2.75 crore budget then I could
easily get my money back. But what happened here was I had to
spend much more money due to all these problems. People were really
laughing at me and they were saying that I will not able to release
this movie. One thing was sure, I really thought I could celebrate
100 days function at my birth place "Gudiwada". I had
that confidence in me that I would make it happen.
the release of my movie, all the audience really appreciated me
a lot. Even in the publicity of this movie, we never compromised
at any point. In this matter, Gemini Kiran helped me a lot and
cooperated with me. During this movie release, there was a heavy
competition among the movies. Even in this competition, my movie
was doing very well. It was released with 50 prints and later
on we released 35 more prints. It ran for 50 days in 50+ centers
and completed 100 days in 40 centers. Even though there weren't
big stars in this movie except Hari Krishna, the movie went on
very well with good record collections. Hari Krishna is a very
good person with straightforward mentality. I can surely say that
he didn't do anything bad in politics. In all the aspects, the
movie was a big success. This was a big plus point as well as
a turning point for me. In all the areas where it was released
such as Orissa, Karnataka, Ceded, Nizam, and other parts of Andhra,
the movie ran for 50 days. I was extremely happy because movie
was a big success in these areas where it was very difficult thing
to do without any big stars. I was very happy to see my movie
running successfully in outer state centers like Parlakimidi.
I can't say whether I can or not make this type of big budget
movies in future. As a director and producer, this movie was a
big turning point and really boosted my confidence.
main important aspect of this movie was it really attracted all
sort of audience unlike typical college love stories. It also
had a mass appeal so this was accepted by all sort of different
generation groups. It's entirely a family based movie where everybody
in a family can view the movie and enjoy. It had absolutely no
trace of vulgarity in the songs and in any part of the movie.
Hari Krishna did a very good job here. People enjoyed watching
him. They felt as if they were watching his father acting again.
These movies had class elements in its first half and mass appeal
in the second half, so all sort of audience enjoyed watching this
movie even at small centers. The movie had 3 plus points, one
is novelty in freshness, second is the music, and third point
was Hari krishna's performance. About the comedy part of the film,
the main actors themselves had a comedy character in the script
unlike a routine film which has few comedians doing it. In this
movie, Suman and Vineeth did the comedy sequences with ease and
similarly Hari Krishna. In the second half, Hari Krishna and Lakshmi
combination scenes really had a good impact on the movie's success.
About the title of this movie, the first "Lahari" stands
for emotion, second "Lahari" is for love and the last
one is for entertainment. With these aspects in my movie, I really
had confidence and never backed away from my decision to release
the movie along with the big movies. The performance of all the
actors and actresses was excellent. Hari Krishna's acting as well
as dialogues was one of the important aspects in the movie's success.
His dialogue such as "ee velu maa nanaloni power .. ee
velu naa mesumloni pogaru" was very catchy and people
really loved it. When people saw hero Aditya on magazines and
TV promos, they felt that he was not suitable for hero role. But
when the same people saw him on the big screen, they opined that
Aditya was perfect fit for that role.
the combination of the characters in L3
Krishna and Bhanu Priya: He is dynamic, frank, and straightforward
but she is soft, emotional and sensitive. This combination was
very interesting for the audience.
and Rachna: He is shy, coward, but wants to put up a brave
front. She is shy but likes her beau to be a brave man.
and Sanghavi: He is atheist and she is worshipper of god.
Due to their opposing character combinations, people were curious
as to how they were going to live together.
and Ankitha: Both are young and fun loving. First, the
heroine loves him but hero does not have interest and later vice
versa. So it had very interesting aspect in their characters,
which obviously was very curious for the people about their union.
these contrasting pairings were the plus points for the movie's
All the songs were excellently composed and their lyrics were
equally good. One of the songs was something different which was
made like an old classy traditional one. The lyrics, music, setting,
and even the costumes were specially designed which brought our
nostalgic moments of that golden film era.
We had strong violent scenes during the last part of the movie
which were essential for the climax. In that situation, the dialogue
such as "naa thalli thandri kshemanga unaarantey emarapatulo
naa kallaku maikum kammavachu" "kaani vaalu edaina
pramathamlo unaarantey, naa kantipapa pedhadi avuthundhi, jagratha
peruguthundhi, Randiraa". These dialogues had a strong
impact, justifying the violence in the climax scenes.
aim in life was to achieve something big and to see myself as
one of the senior directors in the Telugu industry. Till now,
I am really happy for what I did. My future plans are to do good
projects giving something informative and useful to the people
along with entertainment.
am a very sensitive person and never like to hear anything bad
about me from others. I like to take risk in making big budget
movies in my own banner "Bommarillu". I would really
like to make all my movie producers happy by taking only good
subjects for their films. I would certainly like to work with
those producers who respect my talent.
feel that stars definitely are higher in caliber and it is they
who attract the crowd than the technicians. I am a firm believer
in this as it was the star NTR who ignited the spirit and passion
in me towards Telugu films and he directly contributed as the
inspiration for me to become a director.
36 producers are interacting and contacting me nowadays with good
offers. So I would certainly take the best subject and make the
producers successful. Till now, all my producers were successful
and happy with me.
in my life:
wish I could fulfill all my thoughts and ambitions. Till now I
could accomplish only a few things successfully. I always wanted
to go in for a love marriage. Fortunately, I fell in love with
a girl and married her. I am very lucky to have a wife like her.
We have very good understanding between us. I love three people
in my life; my father, my mother and my wife. Unfortunately, my
father died during my first movie.
have one big ambition in my life, I would like to direct a Hindi
movie and make it a big success with 250 crores profit. I also
have offers to make such a movie, so I am keenly planning on that.
If any director makes a successful blockbuster movie within his
first 1 or 2 movies, he would certainly get very confident and
would flourish brighter soon in his life. Even though all my movies
are successful, they certainly aren't huge blockbusters. Only
L3 gave me the inspiration till now. Even though I tasted a huge
hit little late, I certainly feel that this is the right time
for me. Given my nature, I listen to everybody but finally I take
my own decision following my instincts.
for the director wannabes:
definitely would like to say that direction isn't an ordinary
job. Every director should have a strong grip over storyline,
selection of artists, music, recording, make-up, costumes, sets,
production designing and all other aspects involved in making
a movie. He should able to have a individual taste whether its
good or bad. Only with these qualities, a person can be a full-fledged
director and can stand for long term in the film industry.
to idlebrain visitors:
would really thank and appreciate idlebrain for introducing me
and giving me this opportunity to tell about myself to the people.