inspired you to become an actor?
since I was a baby, I was brought
up by my grand father (ANR) and my grand mother.
They are like parents to me. Even today, I stay in my grandparents
house. And I will be staying there only. I grew up in a
household with me, my grandparents and Nagarjuna uncle.
The environment around me definitely printed something in
my head. I wanted to be a part of this film industry as
an actor or something else.
is your educational background?
have studied in Hyderabad public school till I was 17 years
old (till +2). After that I went to USA for further studies.
I was there for six years. I went there to do engineering,
but dropped out in the middle of it, because I was not going
to use that degree for my career. If you look at my family
history, my uncle Nagarjuna had a wonderful engineering
degree from Michigan, but it does not help him in his acting
career. When I was studying film education was not as prevalent
as it is today. Now we have lots of schools that award degree
in film and video. I decided to transfer my degree and I
got an under graduate degree in Direction and Screen writing.
It has nothing to do with acting.
helpful is your degree to you in your film career?
I think most of the thing I learnt about the industry is
after I came and started working here. I honestly feel there
is nothing that equals work experience. I managed to pick
up lots of things just through sheer observation. I was
always interested in technical aspects of the film.
you apply any thing you learnt at your film school?
I were to apply what I learnt out there, I would be making
films for you and me. Not for the general public. You have
to be in touch with the nativity of Andhra audience. You
can't be caught in that trap. Basically I used the experiences
I got through my failures to this film. I have applied what
I have learnt from Ram Gopal Varma. He started off his career
in Annapurna studios. I have known
Ram Gopal Varma since I was 12 years old. I am also
using the experiences of my family and Annapurna Studios.
worked with the best of directors like Ram Gopal Varma,
K Raghavendra Rao and Karunakaran. But the commercial success
always eluded you. What do you think is the reason?
always feel that all the elements should come together to
make a successful film. Unfortunately in my movies there
were some mistakes. But I am not attributing them to a particular
person. Mr. Ram Gopal Varma made tons of flops, where I
am not involved. So is Karunakaran & Raghavendra Rao.
It was just a sheer coincidence that I happened to be in
their unsuccessful ventures. I have nothing personal against
anybody. Ram Gopal Varma is a very dear friend of mine till
today. So is Mr. K Raghavendra Rao garu. I do keep in touch
with him regularly. In all my previous films I got myself
involved just as an actor. Sometimes it does work. Some
times it does not. In my case it did not work. For
Satyam, I practically worked like an assistant director.
I took more responsibility onto my shoulders for Sathyam
us about your project Sathyam?
is basically the story of Sathyam from the time when he
was years 9 old. He goes through a lot struggle. He takes
everything with smile. He is very sharp-talking and positive
character. At the point when he feels every is gone for
him --- how he gets it back is the gist of this film. It's
a very positive and entertaining film. We tried to cover
all the basis for this film. I
don't know if its an author backed character though the
title of the film might suggest that its an author backed
script. We have wonderful characters like Genelia, Kota
Srinivasa Rao. All the characters are very well rounded
ones. Its not hero-centric film. That's why in the publicity
and promos of the film I tried to promote 'Sathyam'. This
is not a film to promote Sumanth. I was very adamant about
is really good in this film. I signed
her personally before I saw Tujhe Meri Kasam and Boys.
I saw one ad of hers and decided that she is the girl who
should be in my script. I am glad I took that decision because
she proved to be successful. She is beautiful on screen
and she is working like a charm. And her character is Sathyam
is very different from the characters she played. So there
is an element of freshness. There is quite charm about Genelia
in this film
of the film is very good. We have Sameer Reddy and Raja
as the photographers. Sameer did 70% of the film. I think
the editing in the film is very new. We
tried some new techniques in editing like lot of graphic
matches. Its something that is hard to convey on
paper. If you see the film, few shots would amaze you with
the editing work. A
lot of credit should go to the director. I was very involved
with the action portion like designing the action sequences
with Vijay master. He used to ask me what kind of stunt
sequences I want and he used to watch various tapes starting
from my grandfather's Donga Ramudu to the latest fight techniques.
did not have any huge budget to play around with. I did
not want it. If we got an astronomical budget, I would take
another two years to get this film ready. Hence, I told
my studio to give me good budget, but not an extravagant
budget. There has been lots of struggle between direction
and production. Me and my sister! My sister Supriya is the
executive producer of this film. Nobody can get 100% of
what he/she wants. But we got 80%
of what we visualized at the script level for Sathyam.
I am quite happy with that.
is so much of positive buzz about Sathyam in film industry.
How did you able to generate it?
I have not done anything. There was no under-production
publicity. That was a conscious decision. I really don't
believe in under-production publicity. I
always feel that a film is like a dish. We go to
a restaurant to eat a dish and say if its good or bad. I
do not go into the kitchen and inquire what cook is doing
and when cook started cooking etc. Whatever the euphoria
created around the film could be attributed to music and
publicity. May be the 2 years gap helped.
have you been doing in this 2-year gap?
had lots of offers. I refused around
15 films in these two years. I just wanted to work
on my own terms. And I wanted to get involved in the project
in each and every department of it. I wanted to work on
this in a different way compared to all my previous projects.
Fortunately I found a director who is receptive to my involvement.
He is open minded about my suggestions. We had an agreement
that I would be working as a co-director for Sathyam. Director
is the captain of the ship. I don't want to take away any
credit from him. Director is the most important person in
any film. I always had the freedom of expressing my opinions
about the shots. In a word, Sathyam film is a complete team
effort, which was unlike any of my previous projects.
Basically there are two categories of films that come
up in Telugu. One is melodramatic film and other one is
casual film. Where you place Sathyam film?
preferences are going to change from day to day. If there
is a melodramatic script that I really like, I might want
to do that film. It all depends on the script. There could
be a really good melodramatic script. There could be a really
good casual script. For Sathyam, we tried to mix the best
of both worlds. You cant categorize Sathyam as either a
complete mass film or a complete class film. We designed
Sathyam in such a way that there is something for every
segment of Telugu audiences. There is lots of romance, family
drama, entertainment, action etc. I
don't want this film to be just one dimensional film.
are your hobbies?
I am pretty much of a home buddy. I do watch lots of Television.
I love sports and national geographic. I love to go out
and eat whenever I can. I am an avid food addict.
kind of food do you like?
There again I am pretty multi dimensional. But, authentic
Chinese food (not indianized Chinese food) is my favorite.
do you get authentic Chinese food in Hyderabad?
Once in six months, I go to Singapore
just to eat and shop. Its like going to Delhi. There
is a direct flight to Singapore from Hyderabad.
are your strengths and weaknesses as an actor?
tend to keep that to myself. What I consider my strength
and weakness is something totally different from what people
perceive after looking at me on big screen. I subconsciously
and internally work on my strengths and weaknesses. My strength
and weakness keep changing from script to script. The strength
in certain script could a weakness in some other script.
Its all relative from film to film. I keep all that to myself.
I am very secretive about my strengths
you analyze yourself?
Its pretty much hard to analyze oneself. I really tend not
to get into self analysis. It's a trap. The film is bigger
than anything else. It bigger than an actor, a director
and a producer. The final output is what I analyze. I don't
tend to analyze the intricacies of myself. I am being very
honest with you over here.
only selected and qualified sons used to enter film industry.
Now a days, each and every kin and kith ranging from comedy
actor to big stars are entering film industry. Don't you
think public is getting averse to this trend?
You can be anybody's son and you can be nobody's son. Finally
its all boils down to the films that you are part of. The
public consensus now is going to change.
us about the cooperation and affection Nagarjuna is extending
don't have to make any bones about it. He is the number
one person for me in this industry. He stood behind me like
a rock, because he is confident that I have something in
me. I went and asked me, 'Listen. This is our studio. This
is our money. Lets not play with it. If you don't see anything,
lets not do it'. Then he said, 'Not only me. Lots of people
have seen lots of positive things in you. Just shut up and
do this film'. I am always the one who is more cautious.
He is very good with intuition. That's
why Nagarjuna is one of the few people in the industry who
has guts to take chance like nobody else. And he
has done that for very long time. He is hit. And he missed.
But when he is hit, he hit it in a real big way. I really
trust his intuition. And sometimes when I don't trust myself
I just trust his intuition about me. That's how this film
got made. That's why this film is happening on 10th December
2003. Sometimes, I believe his judgment on me better than
my own judgment on myself.
we expect a film from you as a director in near future?
I do not deny the fact that I am very inclined towards direction.
Direction is lot tougher than acting. Direction is the toughest
job in the industry, if you want to do it the way I want
to do it. I don't know right now if I am ready for direction.
May be in the future!
do you think is the best among your contemporary actors?
I am little biased. Mahesh is my friend. So I am going to
say Mahesh is best among contemporary
actors. In the younger lot, I like Mahesh a lot.
I have been very much busy on 'Sathyam' project for the
last two years. Everything else been out of focus. Lets
see what happens. I am a pretty tough person to get along
with, because I am so in to myself. I am very quite, reserved
and introvert by nature. One has to
be really a remarkable woman to put up with my distant personality.
you surf idlebrain.com? Don't you think that the telugu
film industry should be more receptive to websites and internet?
I do surf idlebrain.com regularly.
Its there in my favorite list. We need to use internet as
the tool. Today, I was watching an interview of Kamal Hassan
about video piracy. The person who was interviewing Kamal
Hassan said that we have to abolish producing VCDs to stop
piracy. This is what they said about Television when TV
came up. Now people are saying the same thing about VCDs
and DVDs. Next they are going to say it about internet.
We just have to go with time and technology. Internet
is a huge tool and I think cinema industry should embrace
it with open arms. The press and film industry should
share symbiotic relationship. We have to feed of each other.
you want to say anything to the visitors of idlebrain.com?
Sathyam has been a result of 2 years of toil. I put my feet
in mud with Sathyam. Please wish the best for 'Sathyam'