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You are at Home > Celebs > Interview > Jayant C Paranji
Interview with Jayant C Paranji by Jeevi

Date: 14th April 2001 Venue: Annapurna Studios
Other Interviews
Kodi Rama Krishna
Chakri (JD Chakravarthy)
Ramana Gogula
Naga Babu


Smile! It costs nothing. That's what the Jayant does all the time. When I called him up for an interview, he was pleased and at the same time he was annoyed as I referred to his film as 'Cowboy'. He told that, the title of the film is not decided yet in rather mild voice. He was shooting the song 'Oyabba Hai Rabba' on a Cowboy set at Padmalaya studios with Mahesh Babu and Bipisha Basu. He squeezed out some time for an interview with, which took place at another set erected in Annapurna Studios.

Tell us about you back ground and how you landed up in Telugu films? (Audio clip - 5:06 minutes)

I am basically from Bangalore. I was born, grew up, and did my schooling out there. I am actually a Tamilian. But for two/three generations, we have been in Bangalore. My father was in government service and was posted in Hyderabad. That's how we shifted to Hyderabad. Then I did my college here.

I used to do a lot of theater right from my school days. That's the starting point basically. We used to have English theater club and we used to do lots of plays in school. When we shifted to Hyderabad, my interest in theater continued. There is one 'Dramatic Circle of Hyderabad' in town, which I have joined. We used to do plays regularly. The background was basically the theater. Being in Bangalore was an advantage because I used to watch English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada films. No other city in India offers that luxury. It was a part of my growing up thing. So, language was not a big problem.

I learnt Telugu, after coming to Hyderabad. I can speak and write Telugu fluently now. I was doing my B. Sc (Hons) when I was in my college. In the second year itself, I joined a friend who was making the documentary films. Once I started working with my friend, the interest in college totally disappeared. I was so hooked on to documentaries that I did not feel like going to college. Naturally my attendance was zero, which meant that I could not procure hall ticket to write my exams. So my college was never finished. So I am a college dropout basically!

I worked with my friend for a year and we made around three documentary films. Then I started making my own films. People started getting in touch with me directly. I started making corporate films. So I picked up and for me it was a trail and error mothod. I did make corporate films for big companies like Usha Sreeram, APSRTC, Vijaya Diary Milk etc. The theater (drama) and corporate films (technique) some how combined and I am in films.

My first entry point was Suresh (of Suresh Productions). He was an old friend of mine whom I knew through my friend's circle just like I knew Nag and Venky. Suresh has asked me to join films. And I worked as an assitant director for three Venkatesh films by Suresh Productions. They are Dhruva Nakshatram, Bobbili Raja and Coolie No. 1. In between I was continuing with my corporate films and ad films. Then we found a good script and 'Preminchukundam Raa!' happened. Before that we started of a project and shelved it after a four days of shoot as nothing fell in place. We heard the script by Deena Raj for 'Preminchukundam Raa!' and re-worked over it. The base of the story was excellent. Luckily it worked out well and it became a hit. And the rest is the history. Click here to listen

The treatment in your films is pretty different. What makes your films so fresh? (Audio clip - 2:15 minutes)

We are not sticking to the hero image films. All the films I have done so far were not been made with keeping the hero's image in the mind. For 'Preminchukundam Raa!', we made Venky cut his hair short and change his dress style to give him a youngster look. We made him play a role of college kid. Lot of people commented about Venky doing a college kid role as Venky has done lot of macho and tough-guy roles. Suddenly we had him in a sequence where he follows the heroine (Anjala) in a bicycle while she is going to college.

Even with Chiranjeevigaru for 'Bavagaru Bagunnara', its not the usual Chiranjeevi who was introduced in a fight sequence followed by a song. That's why, on purpose, I introduced Chiranjeevi in a song. Never before, Chiranjeevi was introduced in a song. The only thing that we did add on was the bungee jump, which he did in New Zealand. That became a good introduction shot and straight we went into a song. Chiranjeevi did not play a tough guy in that film. He did the role of a guy who is helping the girl out, who can go to any extremes to save her. Even when he was insulted, he keeps quite only for the sake of the girl. Same thing is done again with Venky in Premante Idera. If I had Venky come and catch hold of Anjala, instead of following her on a bicycle, I don't think Preminchukundam Raa would have worked. Neither would Bavagaru Bagunnara nor Premante Idera. Not sticking to hero images, has given the freshness to the films. Click here to listen

You have introduced three girls in Telugu namely Anjala Zhaveri, Preity Zinta and Aishwarya Rai and also would be introducing Lisa Ray and Bipisha Basu. Why are you after fresh girls? (Audio clip - 1:22 minutes)

It's nice to work with fresh and new girls. There is always freshness on screen. I don't think 'Preminchukundam Raa!' would have been as effective if that film had Soundarya as heroine instead of Anjala. Rambha was the only experienced girl I worked with. I could not have got a fresh girl for Chiranjeevi. Otherwise it would have been …… (giggles). All the films I worked so far, including Bavagaru Bagunnara, are love stories. The hero falls in love with a girl and inadvertently, he lands up in acting as the husband of his lover's sister. He is caught in a lock. Now that girl feels like cheated and entire second half revolves around the point of him explaining his innocence. He could not get a moment to explain it to her. If he has told her the truth, the film would have been over by the interval time. And, luckily, the film worked. Treat it fresh and any line should work. Click here to listen

Your first film 'Preminchukdam Raa!' is the best film done by you so far. What made that film so special? (Audio clip - 1:01 minutes)

That's because 'Preminchukundam Raa' was the only film where I actually got time to do the post-production work After the shooting got over, I had a whole month to reedit, check on sounds, fine tune the whole thing, sit with the music director and do the re-recording properly. And then the print came out. Unfortunately, for the three films after that I could not get time to do the postproduction work. Most of the people do still say that 'Preminchukundam Raa!' is my best film. There is an old saying by Raj Kapoor that a film is made on two tables. One is the story table and the second one is editing table. I got a chance to work on writing table for all four films. It is very important for the director to work on the editing table. Click here to listen

Could please give me the time wise break-up for a film for pre-production, production and postproduction? (Audio clip - 1:57 minutes)

There are no set rules. Sometimes, your pre-production time can be over in three days. The film Bavagaru Bagunnara's pre-production was done in just seven days. Everything fell into place. Script of Premate Idera and Ravoyi Chandamama took a long time. But the post-production definitely needs a lot of time. It's pretty important to fine-tune the film after production. They watch the TV and switch the channels. Today, every guy who has bought a Rs 10/- ticket and sit in the auditorium is a director himself. He is exposed and has seen more films than any of us do. If he looks at the first three or four scenes, he can tell what is the interval going to be and what's the climax would be like. They are so smart today. Audiences got used to the remote control mentality, which means, subconsciously, that if something does not hold interest for more than one minute, they change channels. Over the last two years, they are tuned to that. That remote-control mentality has come in, which means that the concentration level of the Telugu cinema viewer has reduced to two minutes. In an auditorium, unfortunately, they do not have a remote. If they did, the whole Telugu cinema industry would sink. Unless you give them something new every two minutes, they will want to change channels. Click here to listen

You have done four films so far. Except for 'Preminchukundam Raa', English and Hindi films inspire all other three films. Do the remakes influence you? (Audio clip - 2:37 minutes)

If you look at it, only 'Premante Idera' was in the same style of another language film (DDLJ).

For Bavagaru Bagunnara, we just took one point of this man pretending to be somebody's husband from 'walk in the clouds'. We took that point and changed the entire story. This theme has come in lot of Telugu films in the past like Missamma. So I would not say 'Walk in the clouds' was not an inspiration. I always liked 'Walk in the clouds'. We took a love story and added this point to it.

'An Affair to remember' is something that I always loved. I always wanted to remake it. It is one of my favorite films. So I did 'Ravoyi Chandamama'.

That way, even 'Preminchukundam Raa!' film does not have any story. The boy goes to Karnool and he meets the girl next door and falls in love with her. The father of girl turned out to be a faction leader. Boy knows that faction leader does not allow their marriage. He elopes with her and comes back. Faction leader comes back and takes the girl back. Boy goes back and gets the girl again. You can't call that a story. But it worked. Success of the film depends more on narration than story. There are people who can tell go story badly and there are people who can tell a bad story really well. It's eventually story telling that works in pictures. Click here to listen

Eventually, you are the one who set the ball rolling for films with Rayalaseema faction's backdrop in Telugu. How did you manage? (Audio clip - 0:32 minutes)

That character (of Jaya Prakash) caught on. It is the first film somebody has used Ramayalaseema faction as the backdrop. The characterization of Jayaprakash caught on with masses very well. Suddenly everybody seems to be taking Rayalaseema as a point in the film. Definitely, Preminchukundam Raa is the first film with this backdrop. Click here to listen

How did you fix JP (Jaya Prakash) for the villain character in that film? (Audio clip - 1:52 minutes)

He has done small character before. But I always liked him. We did a film together when I was an assistant director to B Gopal for Bobbili Raja. He did a small role of tribal king in that. But there is something about his personality and stature. I suddenly remembered him when I was working on Preminchukundam Raa. He went off to Guntur. I told Suresh to try him out. Suresh got him down and we did a screen test again for JP. I changed his looks. We gave him thick eyebrows, hair in the ears and tough mustache. I told him to change his voice from high pitch to low. His did tremendous homework. Hats off to him. He went off to Rayalaseema for a month and picked up the dialect. He was terrific with that and the total credit goes to him. He surprised me on the sets when he told me that he picked up the accent. I gave him the script and asked him to convert the dialogues into Rayalaseema dialect and he did. It really worked. Now, nobody is speaking in Telangana anymore. Earlier the villains used to speak Telangana. Everybody is hooked to Seema language now. The total credit goes to Jaya Prakash. Click here to listen

What went wrong with 'Ravoyi Chandamama'?(read the review here) (Audio clip - 1:39 minutes)

There are too many reasons. We have started off with wanting to make a good film. It was a great script. But somewhere, during the making of the film we went wrong. We were little rushed. We were pushed by the release date. Unfortunately, the release date was fixed as 14th of October. And it harassed me to no end. I did the entire second half in 12 days. That's not the way to make the film, which is why I decided to turn producer. For the current film, I am going along with the way we are working. Once the film is ready, I will think of release date. I will aim for some particular date. But it's not sacrosanct to release on that day. They told me that October 14th was a great muhurtham as any film released on that date would become a super hit. What happened? It was a disaster. A bad film is a bad film. That brahma muhurtam did not work. (Giggles). Click here to listen

How is it like working with youngster like Mahesh Babu? Tell us about the film too (Audio clip - 2:04 minutes)

It's fun! He is a kid, basically. He is around 24 to 25 and very young thinking. It is nice to be working with someone who is young. He has tremendous spirit, which hopefully should work to project it on the screen. He has tremendous energy. I am taking advantage of that. The film itself is a high-paced film. There is hardly any storyline to it. It's just one adventure. I do not want to reveal the story. The whole film is a journey. It has one incident leading to another incident. It is something new that I am trying. The whole film is going to be like MTV music video. I am hoping to catch that audience who are used to the remote control (watching TV at home). It's an entertainer. Basically it's a fun film. It is about three characters caught up in circumstances they are not in control of. And the girls in this film are wonderful. They are working hard and both of them are very good looking. Mani (Sharma) has come up with some good music. It will be a different Mani in this film. Both of us started off our careers at the same time. I am 4-films old and he is done 30 films so far. Everyone is working hard. So, lets see! Click here to listen

What is the budget of the film? (Audio clip - 0:35 minutes)

I don't know. I will find out once the copy comes. Click here to listen

Are you going overboard with the budget?

Everything is under control. I am cost conscious. Budget of all my films including that of Ravoyi Chandamama is much lower than what has been anticipated. You can check with any of the producer. I have never overshot the film.

What is the release date of Mahesh film? (Audio clip - 0:50 minutes)
I am looking at end of July. But I am not sure. It depends on how the things would work. Since it is adventurous one, its not a comfortable film to do. Each scene requires a different location. Because of the kind of film it is, even if I have to do a small scene, I have to put up a set. I have to get horses. I have to get props. I have to get guns. You are witnessing what's happening out here. If I need a shop in the film, I can't go to Lifestyle and shoot. I have to put up one set. That is what is taking time. This is not an easy film to do. It's pretty tough. And everybody is kind of working hard. Click here to listen

You are producing this film. Don't the production chores bog you down? (Audio clip - 0:38 minutes)

I am finding it now. Its difficult and I am new. I am fairly an easy-going guy. I have roped in my brothers to handle the production work. They are very good though they are from different field. They have got good business sense. Hopefully, it should work!. Click here to listen

Are you putting money from your pocket or going for financing?

I am doing bit of both. I am putting my own money and borrowed the rest from financiers. It's a kind of film, which needs lot of money. There are lots of financiers who wanted to take on the film.

Let me play the devil's advocate. Why should anybody come to the theater to watch your Cowboy film? They must have seen lots of Hollywood cowboy films. What is so special in the Telugu version to pull them to the theater? ? (Audio clip - 1:08 minutes)

We have only taken the genre of the western film. We have taken the backdrop of Cowboy film. Krishna's 'Mosagallaku Mosagadu' is a remake of 'Good, Bad and Ugly'. They have taken the script as is it and converted into Telugu setup. This (my cowboy film) is not an inspiration from any film. This story line has not come in any other films. We have set up the story line first then taken cowboy as the backdrop to it. It does also work as a story for a regular adventurous film. Click here to listen

Do you mean to say that a 'Thief of Baghdad' can also be made out of the same story?

Not just thief of Bagdhad. You can take one boy from Krishna Nagar (An area near Ameerpet in Hyderabad) and two girls from some other place who are caught in a situation on a journey together. They are traveling one place to another. Some bad elements come in and swing the whole story around. If this film has to be made in today's world setup, the hero of this film would be wearing jeans and riding bikes instead of horses.

Don't you think doing a Cowboy film for two and half hours is a risk? People might get bored looking at the same kind of dresses on the hero for that much of time. (Audio clip - 1:39 minutes)

Ten years back, I worked for a film called 'Bobbili Raja'. In the entire first half, hero Venkatesh wore one outfit. In the entire second half, he wore another outfit. That film was a super duper hit. Which means the bottom line is, if the script is good; if the film is good; they will watch. Chiranjeevi did one film called 'Khaidi'. Thoughout the film, except for one flashback episode, he was wearing one outfit. That film was his biggest hit till today. The costumes, I am telling, nothing works, Jeevi! It is the script that works!! If the script is good, they will watch it 200 times, weather its big star or small star; weather its Tarun or Chiranjeevi! Look at what 'Nuvve Kavali' is doing now. It has shaken the entire film industry. It is a small film with one new boy and a new girl. The audiences were mesmerized with the film. The theater next to it was running empty houses with big stars. If the film touches your heart, it will work. So far, for all the four films I made, I aimed at touching the heart. This time, I am aiming at excitement. Throughout the film, there would be unlimited excitement. I am going to get a feeling of excitement for the audiences. If they get that feeling, this film would work. I am not aiming at the heart at all. I am aiming at the guts of the visitors with this film. Click here to listen

How was the recent trip to Karnool? (Audio clip - 0:59 minutes)

It's been exhaustive. We came back from Karnool recently after an eight-day shoot. And the Karnool was hot. We were shooting in the rocks there. It's an incredible location. They used a small bit of it in 'Jayam Manadera'. They could not exploit the caves inside, as it did not suit them. But, for me, it's an ideal location. It's just 100 yards from the main road and nobody can see it from main road. There is incredible rock formation out there. And the Karnool crowds; my God! They are terrific and with Murari doing so well Mahesh has become pretty hot. The crowds are unbelievable. Click here to listen

Don't you think the super success of Murari would generate unprecedented openings for your film? (Audio clip - 1:53 minutes)

I am more worried about the unlimited expectations from the crowds. The success of Murari will raise the expectations of the people little more. That's the one this I have always been scared of. There is no limit to what their expectations are. Today, if you say cowboy, they start having their own stories running and its pretty difficult to beat them. If you say that your movie is a love story, they can't guess how the film is going to be like. If it's a family drama, they can't guess. But the moment you say a cowboy film, they will come to know that it's an adventurous film. They will have their own screenplays running about the film. I have to be better than what they imagine. That's difficult. That's why so many movies are failing. Click here to listen

What is the title of the film? (Audio clip - 0:42 minutes)

We have been throwing some ideas around. But it's not finalized yet. I wanted to have fun title. The reason why I leaked the title 'Takkari Donga - Chakkani chukka' is that audiences will assume it to be a fun film. They wont think that it's going to be an adventurous revenge film. Hence I can divert their attention and keep their expectations low. If you have any suggestions for the title, please let me know. Click here to listen

I would rather run a contest on and send you the list of the titles suggested by the visitors in a month's time. But you have to reward the winner, if you select it from visitor's suggested titles

Sure. Please go ahead!

KS Rama Rao is supposed to be producing this film. Right? (Audio clip - 1:32 minutes)

This project was supposed to be a love story. KS Rama Rao was supposed to produce this film. Then I got excited. When Mahesh Babu was in New Zealand, I called him up and asked him if he would like to do a cowboy film. There was one five-second silence. Then he got very excited. He told that he would not mind doing it. Once it became a cowboy film, people start expressing their doubts about the relevancy of cowboy film for today's world. The film has become a very expensive proposition. Three people are most important for any project. They are the director, producer and the actor. If anyone of them is not confident about project, it's not advisable to make a film. Then KS Rama Rao dropped out and I took over the reigns of production. I don't want to be restricted. I don't want to be asked to complete the second half in 12 days time. I don't want to go through that (the trauma faced during the final days of Ravoyi Chandama shooting) again!! Click here to listen

What are your future projects? (Audio clip - 1:32 minutes)

I have some old backlogs that I have to do. There are two Hindi film that I have committed to which I have to do. One is with Sanjay Dutt, Preity Zinta & Preethi Gyngania that is going to be produced by Sanjay Dutt himself. Another one will be a love story that will either have Abhishek Bachhan or Tushar Kapoor in the main leads. I will also do another Telugu film for Dr. KL Narayana (of Durga Arts) with Venky as hero. I am working on a script that excites both Venky and me. I have to do another Telugu film for Ashok Kumar(The producer of Druva Nakshatram & Premante Idera). Click here to listen

Don't you feel that directors get less recognition compared to Heroes in the recent times? (Audio clip - 0:45 minutes)

No. Directors are always been noted right from the beginning. Look at the generation just before us. Everybody knows about Dasari Narayana Rao and Raghavendra Rao. They were like icons and pillars of Telugu film industry. Everybody knows about Ram Gopal Varma. Everybody on the street knows about (Krishna) Vamsi. People have gone to see a film because Raghavendra Rao or Dasari Narayana Rao directed it. Click here to listen

You are the favorite director of Telugu cinema fans. But who are your favorite directors? (Audio clip - 3:20 minutes)

Out of today's lot, definitely Mani Ratnam is my favorite director. One day, I would like to make a film like Nayakan. What a movie it is! I must have seen it at least for 20 times. Hopefully, one day I would make films like that. There are people like Fazal also who are extremely talented. I have seen a Tamil film called 'Kadalikku mariyade' by Fazal, which has Vijay and Shalini in the main leads. I wondered when I am going to make films like that after watching it. It is a beautiful film. They remade it in Telugu with JD. But, it did not work well in Telugu. I cried in the auditorium after watching the Tamil original version. That's when I realized that I have to go a long way to make films like that. In Hindi, both Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar are tremendous. These two guys are miles ahead. It takes us long time to get to that level. Look at Karan Johar! At the age of 24, for the scene number four in Kuch Kuch Hota Hain he had audiences in his grip. In the first two scenes itself, he established that Rani Mukharjee is dead. So, the father brings up that girl. Third scene is at home where the kid misses her mother. Scene number four has the kid in an auditorium and she was given a topic for elocution. She has to pick up a chit and she was very well prepared. That chit is about mother and everything she prepared for, she forgets and starts crying. That's when Sharukh, being a father of her takes over, and he talk of the mother. And everybody in the auditorium clapped. That's the kind of command Karan Johar had in that film. He got a grip on the audiences in the fourth scene and rest of the film just flowed. After that, audiences do watch even if there are trash scenes in film. He is mastered that technique. I am waiting for his next film. I am going watch his next film 'Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gum' on the first day first show. So is Aditya Chopra. These two guys are the directors I admire the most.. Click here to listen

How does the name sound to you?

It's a very catchy name. But I am just trying to figure out the how somebody hit on a site like this. That's why I asked you in the morning about why did you name this site as idlebrain. If somebody wants to surf a site about Telugu films, they would hit on sites like Telugu or Telugu film. Why should they hit on Now you tell me why you named it as idlebrain.

85% percent of the netizens do browsing through search engines like yahoo. Now the surfers have become smarter and they tend to go for specific searches. For example, if they want to listen to the songs of Nuvve Kavali on the net, they would go to and search for a key word 'Nuvve Kavali Songs'. I do make sure that the Nuvve Kavali jukebox page from would be the first result in the results thrown up by yahoo, which means I am giving the visitors what they want. If they click on that link and come to my jukebox page and if they were satisfied then they would surf the rest of the site. 90% of my visitors come to web site by directly typing on the address field of browser or through the bookmark, which shows the mnemonic power of the and the kind of following it has among the visitors. My idea is to develop as a brand for Telugu cinema and over a period of time people would think of when they want to know any thing related to Telugu cinema.

Wow! That's a pretty good approach!

Do you want to convey anything to visitors?

Hmm …. Come and see my movie!!!

Interviewed by Jeevi
Related Articles: Checkout the interview of Nagababu & Ramana Gogula
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