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You are at Home > Celebs > Interview > Tammareddy Bharadwaja
Interview with Tammareddy Bharadwaja by Jeevi

Date: 13th May 2001 Venue: LJ Studios, Hyderabad
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Tammareddy Bharadwaja is known for his frankness in the field. Everybody in the Industry calls him 'Annayya'(Big Brother). He is also branded as the labor leader as he takes care of the union issues in Telugu film industry. has met the humble and forthright director at LJ Studios, as the recording of 'Ramma Chilakamma' is going on. Here are the excerpts of the candid interview.

Tell us about your background

I have come from a filmy background. My father is Tammareddy Krishna Murthy garu, a film producer. He produced lots of films with NTR, ANR and Sobhan Babu. Lenin Babu, my brother was a director. I was an engineer by profession. I was working in an irrigation department.

I was never interested in films. I never used to visit studios. I have become a producer, accidentally. Then I produced a few films. Later on I started directing films as I was not satisfied with the production. I have done seventeen films so far. 'Ramma Chilakamma' is my eighteenth film.

What is your first film?

'Kothala Rayudu' is my first film as a producer. For Chiranjeevi too, it was first film as a full-fledged solo hero. My second film was also with Chiranjeevi, i.e. Mogudu Kavali. Kothala Rayudu was a 100 days film and Mogudu Kavali was a silver jubilee film. I produce Chiranjeevi's first 100 days and 175 days films.

Why did you sport Chiranjeevi for these films?

At that time, Chiranjeevi was doing small roles. I found a spark in him and decided to cast him as a solo hero in 'Kothala Rayudu'. And he proved himself. I don't say that I have done a great favor to Chiranjeevi by casting him. At that point of time, he suited my budget and it worked. My instinct at that point of time proved correct and the rest is the history.

Who are the heroes introduced by you apart from Chiranjeevi?

Bhanu Chandar (Maro Kurukshetram), Suman (Iddaru Kiladilu), Anand, Prithvi and Srikanth are the heroes introduced by me. The second films of Rehman (Manmadha Samrajyam), Prakash Raj, JD Chakravarthy are also done by me. Malasri's first film as heroine was 'Manmadha Samrajyam'. She went on to become number one in Kannada industry. I may not be a successful man. But I am successful in casting the right people.

What is your first film as a director?

My first directorial venture was 'Manmatha Samrajyam'. Second one is 'Alajadi', which was an instant hit. Then I had directed more films, out of which Pachani Samsaram and Swarnakka were good commercial hits. I had the biggest financial set back in the form of 'Veta Gadu'.

What went wrong with 'Vetagudu' (It is a remake of Hindi film 'Baazigar')?

It was purely because of delay in the production. It is supposed to be wrapped up in 3 - 6 months of time. But it took one and half year in making. Hence the charm in the film is lost as the subject became stale. The hero (Raja Sekhar) has given seven continuous flops prior to 'Vetagadu' release. Hence, the openings for this film were dull. After seven year, I don't want to blame anybody. Everyone knows what has actually happened.

You are branded as the rebel in the industry and called as 'Union Man'. How did you earn that tag?

In the year of 1993, there was a strike due to the divide and difference between Hyderabad Telugu film industry and Madras Telugu film industry. Hence the shooting of the films was stalled in AP.

At that point of the time, I was thrown in to this dispute. D Suresh Babu was a studio owner (Suresh Productions). Venkat was a studio owner (Annapurna Studios). Shyam Prasad Reddy was a studio owner (Sabdalaya). These three people are very good friends of mine. They are interested in getting the Telugu film industry to Hyderabad. But they cannot actively participate, as they would be accused of doing so to protect their own interests (feeding studios). Hence they needed somebody, who is not a studio owner, to shield them. They caught hold of me. I was also emotional and genuinely interested in getting Telugu film industry to Hyderabad.

They want a 'local man' to take the charge of situation. We had a bad time during that struggle. We were humiliated. As a normal man, I can take all that humiliation. But for Suresh Babu and Venkat, who are born with silver spoons, its too severe for them to take.

And today, I can proudly tell that it's four of us, who are responsible for moving Telugu cinema Industry from Madras to Hyderabad. Since, we have made the industry shift from Madras to Hyderabad, it is my responsibly to protect the same.

Since my childhood, I was interested in labor problems. My father was a communist and I was a union member in student union federation. Because of that reason, I was attracted towards union problems. The labor people here are innocent. They trust me a lot. For the past eight years, I have been attending to their problems and solving them. I am educating them.

As I know the producers too, I have become a kind of bridge between the producers and labor. By that way, I used to give a mutually amicable solution to the problem. But for the past two years, I have distanced myself from these issues. But this year, I was again forced to plunge into it (Prakash Raj issue).

What's your opinion on Prakash Raj getting banned by MAA and his fast-unto-death later?

Being the president of AP Director's association and a part of AP Film chamber of commerce, I should not comment about the same. It is MAA's (movie Artist Association) internal matter. We have got no right to question that.

But I personally feel that, they should not have humiliated a fellow member Prakash Raj like this. He might have done a mistake. He should be punished for this. But he should not be humiliated in such a way that he should quit acting in films for six months. Personally, I don't appreciate the kind of humiliation Prakash Raj is subjected by MAA. But as a president of AP Director's association, I will also ban him. We are waiting for the decision to be taken on 18th of May and we will all implement the same. (The decision was taken not to Ban Prakash Raj on 18th of May).

Why did you change the name of the banner?

I started off my production house on the banner of 'Charita Chitra', which is named after my daughter. After the debacle of 'Vetagadu', I closed my office and quit the film industry. I even went abroad to settle down. But I could not stay back for long from film industry. I came back and reverted the banner's name to 'Ravindra Arts', which is my father's banner and started the film 'Swarnakka'. It was an instant hit. Later on I made 'Sanchalanam', which was a mild setback. After that, I did 'Suri', which was a total washout.

What went wrong with Suri?

There was no planning for the film. It was started as a small budget film. Later on the number of working days was increased and rolls exposed were spread over. The cost of the film went up, automatically.

Chakri accused that he was not credited for his work in the titles as he has done screenplay, story and dialogues for the film

The length of the film was too much and there was no time to put up the titles. To be truthful and frank, I did not have money to put the titles. Doing titles of the film would cost me around 50 to 60 thousands. I did not even have money to put in a 'Nede Vidudala' paper advertisement for the film on the release day.

Everybody knows that Chakri has given story-screenplay and dialogues for the film. It was my cost cutting exercise that took out the titles. Will I gain anything by taking away the credit from him?

I was very angry with Chakri. I would have removed his name. But I am not that type. I had no money. But none of these guys come forward to offer me some help. I did invest money for both Hindi and Telugu versions. Now, the differences between us are sorted out.

I thought that Suri was postponed, as I did not see any ad in the papers.

I never postpone the release date. Weather I have money or not, I make sure that all the prints will be delivered on the release day. The moment I fail to do the same, I will quit the industry.

Do you want to produce the film after your 'Suri' experience?
I don't think I can produce any more films. I have plans to make a film with Chiranjeevi and Nagarjuna each. Those films would be made in association with KC Sekhar Babu (producer of Ramma Chilakamma). As soon as the subject is ready, we will start the film.

Which is easy? Directing own film or other's film?

Directing other's film is easy. Lots of tensions are relieved. No problem of selling the film or getting the finances. The producers of my films know my style of filmmaking and know my output levels. So they will not blame me later if something goes wrong.

There are good reports of 'Ramma Chilakamma'. What are your views on that film?

It's a totally different subject. This kind of films was made twice in the past. One film is Chiranjeevi's 'Kothala Rayudu' and other one is Pawan Kalyan's 'Gokulamlo Seetha'. This film shows that even baddies does have sentiments. It shows the human angle of bad guys. It's a very difficult subject to handle for a director. I think I have done my best. For Sumanth and me, this film is going to be a comeback film. It all depends on how audiences receive.

Tell us about 'Entha Bagundo'

Entha Bagundo is a new subject for me. I started off my career with youth films(Kothala Rayudu) followed by family subjects(Pandanti Samsaram). Then I changed my style to revolutionary and social films(Swarnakka). Entha Bagundo is an out and out comedy flick. Out of all the films directed by me, only 'Padanti Samsaram' had a comedy track running. This film is a 100% comedy film. There is Brahmanandam, Kovai Sarala, Bharani and AVS in this film. It's a challenge for me. It's like taking a test for me at this age as I am touching the subject, which I have not done before. Laya is doing double action in this film.

Is 'Ramma Chilakamma' a remake?

It's remake. We bought the rights. But I am projecting it as a straight film to avoid unnecessary attention. The film 'Entha Bagundo' is a straight one. I have given the concept of the film. Akella, Sainath, Rajendra Kumar and Krishna Vamsi have developing Story.

What are your future films as a director?

I don't have plans to direct any film after 'Entha Bagundo' unless I get a great subject.

How old are you?

I am 52.

Don't you think you should be taking rest in this hot summer instead of straining yourself?

I am still working. You have seen my schedule today. I don't think I can take rest. I do put into efforts for 14 to 16 you're a day.

Who do you think is the best hero in the current trend?

I can talk something about Chiranjeevi, who works hard even after getting so much of image. In his beginning days, we were roaming together. He used to sleep in my office. I used to sleep in his room. When we were shooting a song on him for 'Mogudu Kavali', he asked for kneecaps, as he has to apply his knees to dance. I could not provide him, as they were not available. His knees started bleeding and he did not stopped working. He worked till the morning with bandages on his knees.

He is putting same kind of efforts even now, after twenty years. His sincerity and dedication towards his work has not changed even after he became a Mega Star. Still he is struggling hard to keep up his image as the number one.

In another aspect, Pawan Kalyan has none to beat him. Every hero in the present scenario involves in all the aspects of movie making. Pawan believes in himself. He doesn't want the best technicians to work with him. He knows what he is doing and he picks up the small cadre people and grooms them. He is doing it and proving himself right by giving hits. Whereas, other heroes want the best of the technicians and involves in every aspect of film making and does not give the out put. For other heroes, the requirement is more and output is less, where as Pawan Kalyan could able to deliver the goods.

Those heroes who cannot give hits, but keep on involving in movie making should keep quite, instead. I may be wrong and my statement might hurt them. The unnecessary involvement by heroes is one of the reasons why so many films are failing.

Do you think the Telugu cinema is in doldrums now?

The industry was in the same state since its inception. The capacity of Telugu cinema is delivering 12 hits per year. The audiences cannot take more than that. There were 12 hits when we had 30 movies a year coming up. There are 12 hits even if 200 movies released a year.

What is the film you liked the most in the recent past?

Nuvve Kavali. I think there is no other film that can beat 'Nuvve Kavali' in the past one decade. Another reason for its success is that it's a clean film. I don't know why these commercial directors insert vulgarity by having double entendres, exposing of heroines and having obscene movements in the songs. The producers who resort to these techniques can start prostitute houses running instead of making films.

If a vulgar film becomes a hit, others immediately start making vulgar films. Why can't these producers follow the success of 'Nuvve Kavali'. SV Krishna Reddy has given so many hits. All his films are clean ones. I have not seen any vulgarity in Pawan Kalyan films too. I don't know what sort of pleasure other people have by putting vulgarity in their films.

Who are your favorite directors?

Since childhood, I used admire Bharati Raj. I also like Mani Ratnam. I wanted to make films like that. But I never did. Only 'Alajadi' went a little near to their standards.

Why don't we get another Bharati Raja and Mani Ratnam from Telugu filmdom? Do we lack creativity unlike Tamilians?

Telugu people have lots of pride and self-respect. You need to run from pillar to post to get a chance to direct a film. The industry is pretty unorganized. There is one scriptwriter, one director, and one screenplay wright. You need to convince the Hero with proper story and screenplay. Now, it is become increasingly difficult to convince hero with a readymade story and screenplay. Where as in Tamil, those guys do not shy from going to each and every person and try to impress them with their script. That's why Tamil directors are more successful.

Secondly, our Telugu people have a weakness. We don't recognize our own people. But we give undue importance to the people from other languages. That is there in Telugu film blood.

In Tamil, there is a creative and linguistic culture. Each and every director and assistant director out there is capable of writing his or her own dialogues and screenplay. They have very good oratory skills and are pretty good at narrating stories. That's the reason why you find most of the Telugu people shying away from giving good speeches in Public areas. In Tamil, you find even chota leaders do posses exceptional oratory skills. In Telugu, there are no more than 20% of the directors who can write dialogues for their films.

That's the reason why our heroes get floored to Tamil directors.

Don't you think we are losing our creative directors like Ram Gopal Varma and Krishna Vamsi to bollywood?

Ram Gopal Varma and Krishna Vamsi are the best directors among the current crop. These guys understood the technique of mesmerizing the audiences with sound and visuals in this digital age. Unfortunately Ram Gopal Varma shifted to Hindi field. Now, Vamsi is doing some Hindi film. He might comeback or he might not come back. I am not willing to talk about other Telugu movies directors as there is no difference in me directing a film or them directing a film.

There is another reason for this. Once you enter the Bollywood, the reach is different and the remuneration and recognition is far higher.

Who is singing in your films? Telugu or non-Telugu singers?

I am making sure that all the singers in my films 'Ramma Chilakamma' and 'Entha Bagundo' are genuine Telugu singers. I personally don't like the pronunciation of non-Telugu singers. You have heard the songs of 'Ramma Chilakamma'. Don't you like the voices of telugu people in those songs? I follow what I preach.

Interviewed by Jeevi
Other Interviews
Jayant C Paranji
Kodi Rama Krishna
Chakri (JD Chakravarthy)
Ramana Gogula
Naga Babu
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