us about your educational background?
did my schooling in Don Bosco school, Madras. Then I did my PUC
in Loyola College. Later on I did 2 years of my engineering in
College of Engineering, Guindy before transferring to USA to finish
my mechanical engineering in University of Michigan. I graduated
from Michigan in 1981.
came back from USA to set up an Industry. That did not work out.
My father is into making movies. So I got into my family's business.
I started off my career with the film 'Devatha' in 1982.
you genuinely interested in films at that time?
I love movies. But I was brought up in a way that I should chose
a profession other than films to make a better living. My dad
wanted one of us (Me and Venkatesh) to become a doctor. At that
time, Suresh Productions was not a big player. Some producers
asked me to act in film when I was a child. I did not act. It
was the same case with Venky. My parents did not want us to get
into movie business as moviemaking was considered to be a risky
business at that point of time. We have to gamble with money and
the returns are not assured. That's why I got into engineering.
My uncle was an engineer. Hence, I also wanted to become engineer,
start up an industry and serve the society.
I returned back from USA after studies, Suresh Productions was
not doing so well in movies. Then I thought that I should help
my father by joining him in moviemaking. I have natural skill
of making good stories and identifying right things. One after
one, the things started working for us. The company was in the
up side again.
did you migrate from Madras to Hyderabad?
started making films in Hyderabad since 1982. My father used to
make lots of movies with ANR. ANR used to prefer shooting in Hyderabad.
We helped in setting up Annapurna studios at Hyderabad. Our film
was the first film to be shot in Annapurna studios. At that time,
we also did a Hindi film titled 'Maksood'. We thought flying people
from Bombay to Hyderabad is more economical compared to flying
them to Madras. We also had affiliation with Annapurna studios.
father always wanted to come back to home state. The government
has given us some land and plots in Jubilee hills. That's how
we shifted to Hyderabad. After that we shot most of our films
over here since 1984 though we stayed in Madras. Later on, we
built our houses and guesthouses in Hyderabad.
my son was born and when he came to the age of schooling, I decided
that we should stay permanently in Hyderabad. We applied to the
government to grant us some land to construct studios. They gave
us land. We constructed Rama Naidu studios. As our films started
doing well, we slowly expanded by adding floors and facilities
to the studios. My father's goal is to have one-stop-shop where
the entire film can be made. And we did it.
did you start producing films independently?
my brother Venky started his career as hero, I started making
films independently. Though I was involved with the making of
'Dhruva Nakshatram' and 'Brahma Putrudu', I started putting my
name as producer from 'Bobbili Raja' onwards. It does not matter
who produced the films. The company has got brand equity and we
go by that.
movies and Rama Naidu movies have got contrast styles in production
values and story selection. Why is it so?
We do have different styles. All the stories I make, I tell my
father. Sometimes, he makes the films even if I don't okay the
story. I will make the films even if my father does not approve
them. But all the stories made by me are narrated to my father.
Most of the Suresh Production produced films will have same
formula. Don't you change it?
film's industry success rate is 15% and failure rate is 85%. But
Suresh Productions has 85% successes and 15% failures. We try
to play to the commercial success. Keeping that in mind, sometimes
we are trendsetter and sometimes we are followers. Always trendsetters
are very successful. At the same time its very difficult to set
did a standard Atha-alludu story with forest backdrop for 'Bobbili
Raja'. 'Preminchukundam Raa' is again a standard romantic film.
That film started off the trend of young romantic films in Telugu,
though a dubbing film like 'Prema Desam' has come.
aim is not to be a trendsetter, but to be a successful producer.
I want to be the successful Producer.
goes into making a film?
should get a good script. That's where the first skill stands.
Then you cast it right with apt artists. Then you make the film
in a disciplined manner. And then you market it right.
is the percentage breakup in terms of time for pre-production,
production and postproduction work in your films?
takes roughly 60% time for pre-production work. The production
takes 30% time. We don't spend as much of time as it is necessary
for postproduction, as lot of post-production goes along with
production simultaneously. Another reason is that we do not have
extraordinary post-production skills in our company. I don't spend
a couple of months on DTS mix or editing. We take more than 200%
time when compared to industry average for the process of finalizing
do you prefer new heroines in your films?
look good. They are reasonable. They probably listen to you. You
will not have date problems. And usually many of these scripts
need younger heroines. If you take the new heroines I have launched,
'Kaliyuga Pandavulu' had Kushbu. I wanted a new heroine for 'Bobbili
Raja'. The director wanted to cast Radha. But I was keen on casting
a new heroine Divya Bharati. But 'Kalisundam Raa', which was the
Industry's biggest hit at that time, did not have a new girl,
but still it worked. Simran got stardom in Telugu with that film.
And we also did Tabu, Preethi Zinta, Anjala Zhaveri and Arti Agrawal.
We are making the same old stories. By adding fresh heroines,
we get freshness to the film.
have mastered the art of selecting new directors and making blockbusters
with them. How do you spot that talent?
still do not know how to spot it. I wish that every good directors
and storywriters who is there in the market came to me. I invite
all of them with open arms and I have all the time in the world
to listen to them. I will definitely give them a break. Any number
very difficult to get a good story. I do have loads of money.
But I do not have a good story to make a film. Checkout all these
heaps of paper (referring to bunch of filed papers all around
his desk.) All these papers have stories and scenic orders submitted
by lots of writers. Anybody who is reading this interview can
send their stories, if they think they have excellent storyline
when you announce your next film, can we presume that a good film
is already half made as you found a good enough script to start
a new film?
There are many times I made a film knowing that it is not a best
film and it can be made much better. But the time and environment
at that time forced me to complete that film. I was not 100% satisfied.
But still we did it.
does the script for your films?
take the recent examples. For 'Preminchukundam Raa', Deena Raj
and I made the majority of the script. Then I fixed Jayant to
do the film. Then, Paruchuri brothers joined us and made it a
Swamy came up with the story and I Okayed it. I was very angry
at the hospital system at that time. Uday Shankar came up with
storyline of 'Kalisundam Raa'. The writers did the script. Writers
are given more importance in our company.
do not have good number of storywriters in the Telugu film industry.
Paruchuri brothers have given stories for 80% of my films. Earlier,
we had Satyanand and Jandhyala garu as the good storywriters.
Only Trivikram Sreenivas stood out as the best among the latest
storywriters. We hardly have any storywriter who has done more
than 10 successful films. I also like the people who are well
behaved and disciplined. I can't handle too much of indiscipline.
This is the main policy in our company.
Production seems to be making one film per every two years to
get Nandi awards. Do you have any strategy of doing on award film
after two commercially successful films?
you make a commercially successful film, your bank is full and
you are full of funds. At that point of time, money is not an
important issue and a hot topic comes up which I am really angry
at and we make an award film. It does not bring you the money,
but it gives you satisfaction.
remember one incident when we were making 'Bobbili Raja'. Venky
was a successful star by that time. People came and commented
that Raja Sekhar has Ankusam and Nagarjuna has Shiva but Venky
does not have a path breaking film yet. That comment hit me hard,
when somebody in the press asked me. And we really did a great
film 'Bobbili Raja' which shook and broke all the records. Later
on 'Chanti', a remake film was released and became the industry
number one grosser.
told that you get fed up with some social issues and make films
on them. What are they?
still have not made any film as hard as I should have been making
it for the commercial reasons. For example, I was really upset
with the hospital systems and the way hospitals are run in India.
I saw my friend suffering in a government hospital. Then Tirupati
Swamy came up with the story and I made this film.
I am against the caste system that runs in our society. I hate
the people who ill-treat the lower castes. That's why I made 'Jayam
Manadera'. And we camouflaged it, as I did not enough guts to
say that I can make film that we will get rid of reservation system.
At the same time, I am also unhappy that lots of upper caste people
are also not treated well. But I don't have guts to make a film
on it. Gentleman was the film on that concept. There are lots
of personal issues I have, which I can't really make films on.
I am trying to strike a balance between my personal emotions and
economics of cinema.
have been around in the industry for a couple of decades. What
do you think are the milestones achieved by Telugu cinema in these
major triumph achieved by Telugu film industry is shifting from
Chennai to Hyderabad. I am really proud of being one of the main
people involved in bringing Telugu film industry from Chennai
far as technology or technique is concerned, we have not done
too well. We have done very well in terms of being together as
a producer's council. We had been quite successful in Telugu in
terms of studios compared to Tamil or Malayalam industry. But
we have not really gone into any new path in terms of marketing
of films and quality of filmmaking. Tamil films have better technique
compared to our films. That's because we lost out huge chunk of
creative talent in Madras when we shifted to Hyderabad.
we are completely settled in Hyderabad as a superior industry,
now we should concentrate making films with superior technique
compared to other languages. A big example of successful and technically
superior film is Shiva (by Ram Gopal Varma). Ramu has gone a way
ahead compared to rest of the filmmakers as far as technique goes.
We need more Ramus.
do you think we lost Ramu to bollywood?
wanted to go there. It was always there in his mind to make Hindi
are lots of negative comments in Industry about Suresh Productions
that you make the movies run forcibly as you have distribution
system and exhibitors in your hands. How far is it true?
never run my films on deficit. I will be the last man to lose
money by paying for deficits. People have that perception that
we run our films. It's not true. We place our product in the right
theaters. We do the right publicity. We take right terms from
exhibitors. We don't sell our films. We don't want our risk to
be passed on to somebody else. Since everything is with us, we
take more care. Our managers make sure that the film gets its
full run without running into deficit.
as hero, my brother does not insist on running his films for many
centers for much number of days. If you take the list of my films
and my brother's films, we have the highest number of films, which
were removed between 90th day and 100 days. Those numbers are
not really important too to us. They are good milestones. But
they are not end of the world.
you taking any actions to curb VCD and DVD piracy?
I am desperately trying to take some action against pirates. I
wish that people do not watch or distribute pirated stuff. It
is a social obligation on our part. It's unfortunate that we are
not growing, because people are watching our films without paying
anything to the makers of the films. I am not against the new
technology. But people should pay to view films using this technology.
But people are viewing it for free, which is the saddest part.
sad is, we are not getting money that is due to us, legally. If
we get to know then we can enter into the league in a bigger way.
We are trying to fight it. But, we do not have enough support
within the industry. We do not know the gravity or seriousness
of this problem. If we complain to the police, they have 100 better
things to handle on priority basis compared to raid on the pirates.
It is very unfortunate that the people in power do much of the
piracy in the state. We need to fight all that.
a person is buying a VCD/DVD illegally means he loves that product.
When ever he buys a pirated VCD/DVD he is hurting the Telugu film
industry in a big way. I was also telling exhibitors that piracy
is their problem too. If a person watches VCD illegally at home
or watches illegally shown cable TV, it's a certain percentage
loss to the exhibitor as well. And the laws here are very weak.
Implementation is weaker.
the producers know that piracy is the most important thing. But
we do urgent things in life and ignore the important things. We
are making a committee for this and collecting money.
you take USA, dubious companies are making lots of pirated DVDs.
A Telugu movie lover does not mind waiting for two more months
and paying two extra dollars if he is assured that he gets original
and high quality DVD. Do you have any plans of selling off the
Suresh Productions movies rights to any DVD maker?
I wanted to keep the DVD rights for some more time. We are selling
off the DVD rights now. But my only apprehension is that if official
and high quality DVDs come out in USA, there will be DVD rampage
in India too. All those DVDs will come to private cable operators.
Now they are showing the inferior quality movies on TV. Now, they
can show the crystal clear quality film on their cable net illegally.
That's why we have been holding the rights back.
one point of time, we wanted to pass a resolution in AP Film Chamber
Producers council to cancel the entire Telugu film business in
USA. If we think that 10 or 20 thousand extra dollars of money
producers earn is the reason why the pirated VCDs/DVDs are coming
in India, we wanted to ban releasing Telugu films in America.
there has been lots of talk that the people who are distributing
the films in USA are themselves the principals behind the DVD
racquet. A couple of distributors in USA traded charges against
each other. They sent me pages of information maligning each other.
I wanted to have a talk with them and asked them to meet me together.
But, they did not have guts to talk to me and clear their names.
But still, they are doing business. If that's the way they want
to cheat and do business, if they are really cheating, then God
help them. We can't do much. We can only hope that sooner or later,
they would be in trouble.
far as my films are concerned, we are going to take action on
pirated DVD makers and the sites that are promoting and selling
these DVD's. We are looking at appointing a lawyer out there and
file a suit on the pirates and the related sites. We are also
looking at doing movie distribution through proper means by AP
Film Chamber person heading the distribution out there so that
there is a little more control on the proceedings out there. We
want the American Telugu NRI get to watch film material officially
and legally, if it's going to pay to all of us.
the month of March, there will be lot of material out on what
we are planning to do and what we would be doing. Everybody is
busy with New Year and Pongal releases. You can see a major move
taken by us by 1st of March, both in India and America.
do you think is the role a Telugu film web site can play for Telugu
unites that vast number of Telugu film lovers across the world,
which is losing touch with Telugu. There are lots of guys who
have left AP 70 years ago, who can still follow Telugu/Hindu rituals
but still can't talk Telugu. I hope they were brought closer to
the language and the people. It would be great that if we can
do something like that. And I hope our media and our music has
a part to play. Internet has the most extraordinary connectivity
to the most remote places. Those Telugu guys, who lost in touch
with Telugu films would probably come to know that these four
guys are major heroes in telugu today. I wish that we could revive
those interests. I know lots of Maurutius people who are originally
Telugu, but lost touch with it, long back. Maybe, we can push
some Telugu music and movies into them through Internet.
you say pushing music. Do you mean giving it for free?
would not mind giving the songs of 'Nuvvu Leka Nenu Lenu' for
free on Internet if a Telugu guy from South Africa want to listen,
as long as the site playing those songs gives courtesy to the
music company and the producer.
us about your product 'Nuvvu Leka Nenu Lenu'?
made 'Nuvvu Leka Nenu Lenu', because I want to give a break to
Kasi, who worked as an assistant director for Suresh productions
for a long time. We worked on a simple romantic family story.
He took the story up to Tarun and Roja Ramani and narrated the
script. They were happy. He got the dates and we made this film.
It's a good romantic story with a lot of family atmosphere. I
hope that it does very well. I want all the people to bless that
new director who has come from our company. The music of this
film became quite popular. Audio sales are very good. The publicity
given for this film is being appreciated. We have to see how well
it does at box office. I don't give statements that my film will
break the records. It's not my style. I hope it does well.
you see some of the big films by big heroes, they are taking a
year and more to make it. Do you have any time limit set when
you are making films?
usually shoot anywhere from 65 days to 85 days to make a film.
Those 65 days to 85 days would be spread on how the artists give
dates and how the climate pattern at that time and how ready we
are with the script.
is the film that was made in minimum number of days by you?
most of my films take 80 days to make. 'Ganesh' and 'Jayam Manadera'
have made only one flop film in the form of 'Super Police'. What
has gone wrong for that film?
only film that I Okayed the script and went for the shooting was
'Sri Katna Leelalu' many years ago, though my name does not appear
in the credits. I knew a week after started making that film,
that we were making a flop film. We knew that casting is wrong
and we knew that the shooting is not getting done well. We used
to fight on it every day and it failed. All other films have done
relatively as much as we have expected them to do.
average to flop film was 'Super Police', which was also a known
failure. We are not surprised that it did not do well. My brother
was not keeping good health those days. So we had to go around
with the script and we were little confused. We still made money
on that film also because of the music by AR Rehman.
is a comment that Suresh Productions gets new talent, pays less
in return and makes movies with minimum budget, thereby getting
more return on investment compared to other producers. What's
your version of it?
could be a valid reason. I get good director and pay marginal
money to take care of his living. He also does not mind as his
gets a break and he is also damn happy. But, the time I spend
with him and the facilities that I give him cost me much more
than if I had taken the same script to a successful senior director
and paid him hefty remuneration. We did that exercise with Raghavendra
Rao garu once. If he had to direct 'Kalisundam Raa', he would
have completed the film 10 days faster. Budget wise, the cheapest
films in the company were directed by Dasari Narayana Rao garu
and Raghavendra Rao garu. Hence, there is no money saved when
we make films with new director. On the paper, it is written that
we are saving 20 lakhs on director. But ultimately, it evens out
for the extra number of days we shot with the new director.
your daily schedule and personal preferences?
come to office by 9:30 am and stay on till 1:30 am. Ours is a
closely-knit family. And I am into round tabling. That's the social
meeting place for us. I also watch lots of sport like cricket
and American football and baseball. Even now, I know which team
is doing what in states. I also like eating good food.
you have any words to say to idlebrain.com visitors who want to
should come in and do this Showtime business without a show. Cut
the 'Show' out and do the business and they will become successful.