The much-publicized movie Chintakayala Ravi is all set to release on October 2. Thanks to its crazy title and commercial elements like double-female lead and the successful music, it assumed huge expectations. Nallamalupu Srinivas (Bujji), young producer with guts to dream big on the celluloid, is excited but without a trace of tension about the film. Repeating Venkatesh after Lakshmi and doing the same with Anushka after Lakshyam, Bujji is confident of its blockbuster levels with Bollywood like production values. In an exclusive interview to Idlebrain.com, he speaks in detail about the making of Chintakayala Ravi. Excerpts:
Tell us about your background?
I hail from Guntur. I worked as a commission agent for cotton seeds over there. Bellamkonda Suresh is my uncle. I used to move with him out of my passion for films. That’s how my career in film industry began. My first experience in production department was for Vijaya Santhi’s Vyjayanthi. I worked as executive producer for Sambaiah, Maa Annayya and Cheppalani Undi. I made my debut as producer with a film titled Raa with Upendra as hero. I got a break as an executive producer with NTR-Vinayak starrer Aadi. It was followed by Chenna Kesava Reddy and Kalyana Ramudu. I started Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Productions and produced Lakshmi, Lakshyam and latest Chintakayala Ravi. In between these ventures, I also undertook production of two films (with Teja starring Vishnu, with Venky starring Allari Naresh and with Teja starring new comers), but they were shelved.
How did you get Lakshmi project?
Venkatesh was supposed to do a film with Vinayak as director. And Vinayak wanted me to be the solo producer and Venkatesh accepted it.
How did Lakshyam happen?
I was impressed with Gopichand’s work in Ranam and wanted to make a film with him. At that time Srivas narrated me the story. I have taken the main point and changed the story and producer Lakshyam film. I went to D Suresh Babu for a third opinion on this subject and he wanted to join in the production. That’s how Lakshyam happened.
How did Chintakayala Ravi happen?
Actually, Kona Venkat told me the story four years ago. I made Kona Venkat narrate the story to D Suresh Babu and he referred us to Venkatesh again. Kona Venkat came up with Hyderabad and a village as the backdrop. Venkatesh suggested taking up the locations of USA and a village in AP – for juxtaposing. We fixed Yogesh for direction.
With films like Aadi, Lakshmi and Lakshyam, you proved yourself to be a producer who know mass pulse?
I and Vinay were roommates. Dolly, Donga Gopi and some of my friends used to night out frequently discussing various subjects. It helped me. I have to like and be convinced about the story first. So far my taste towards subjects and scripts turned out to be correct. There is no secret about know mass pulse.
When I hear a subject, I hold the judgment whether the story is good or not. As a producer I wish to put the maximum effort with 100% involvement. I alone take the responsibility when a movie hits or flops. I don’t push the blame on anyone. I accept the flops without any qualms, because I think my fault would be definitely there. Financial planning is compulsory for making a good film.
Your film Raa flopped. What experience you got out of it? How do you face risks?
No. Raa is not a flop. It turned into a minimum guarantee film. That time, I had no knowledge of the business areas. Risk factors are common in any profession. Business itself means risk. We should have judgment of the story and faith in the director who would deal with it. This way, there should be no scope for any delimitation. As of Chintakayala Ravi, everybody is happy. I and my distributors. I will follow this in future also. Always I consult Vinay and D Suresh Babu for third opinion about subjects. Without doing so, I will not touch any project. When a movie is successful, I take it with the concept of “We” (Manam), and don’t like to enjoy the success solo.
So far you did mass films. This is a class one with Venky. What’s the difference?
Yes. The mass films generally are the ones when the reels just pass. It is a kind of genre. But, this (Chintakayala Ravi) is a triangular love story. As the films runs, the audience will hold great anxiety. Lakshmi garu enacted the mother sentiment extraordinarily. You have big comedians like Brahmanandam, Sunil, MS Narayana and others; two heroines, alluring songs and all. So, Chintakayala Ravi is also a separate and new genre movie. Even without stunts the audience will love it.
What is the reason behind selecting Vishal-Sekhar?
After Om Shanti Om, it’s like advancement for the Bollywood industry when it comes to music. I thought of Vishal-Sekhar for Chintakayala Ravi, hoping that they would give great music and working with them would have professional values. Suresh Babu and Venkatesh were also happy with the selection. They are very good, always smiling. They worked just as friends rather than as composers.
The working style of Tollywood music directors is very casual. They used to record the tunes in CDs and ask us to select from them. But Vishal Sekhar used to perform live when we go to Mumbai for music sittings. Their work is so impressive that when they gave us four tunes to select one from them, we ended up selecting all four tunes. Highlight is that their music sense and wonderful output helped us to be doubly careful in matching it with our visual work.
Tell us about the shoot in the USA?
I should tell about one person here. He is Narravula Gopi. He worked as the foreign coordinator of this film. For the first time, we applied for 48 visas and obtained visas for all, without any tension. The credit goes to Gopi. He does the work in tune with our style and requirement. He took 50% of my tension away. As of scouting for locations, myself, director Yogesh and camera man Ravindra Babu visited the US. Besides, a good number of my friends like Srinivas Reddy, Poosapati Lakshmipati Raju and Sujatha assisted me in our foreign trip. We did shoot in the areas of New York, New Jersey, Washington DC and Paramount. We carried Jimmy Jib and ARRI 435 camera from here for shoot over there. We hired special lighting equipment and chopper over there.
What’s the main reason for the quality?
From the pre-production stage itself, we thoroughly planned our schedule. The credit mostly goes to camera man. He did a wonderful work. In all we shot for 25 days in the US.
Tell us the contribution of Kona Venkat?
Other than the story, Kona provided the screenplay and dialogues. He took care of everything with complete involvement. There is humor and elevation of family emotions in the dialogues. Kona bore in mind the segment of our Telugu software pros there in US; and readied the characterization of Chintakalaya Ravi, software engineer.
What about the business? How many prints?
Almost all are those who made business for my previous films Lakshmi and Lakshyam. All are happy. We plan to release with 275 prints (biggest ever figure in Venky’s career).
Any specialty in NTR’s special appearance?
It was my idea. After consulting with Venkatesh, Suresh Babu and my director, I approached NTR for making a guest role in a song sequence (Shava Shava Bhalle Bhalle), sharing steps with Venkatesh. Without any thought next, he immediately said he was doing it for me. There is no logic in it. NTR just comes, dances and goes. It will be highly thrilling. Rajasekhar did the choreography. Raju Sundaram composed steps for four songs which are shot in USA.
Any other artistes playing guest roles?
Yes. Hero Venu will appear in a sequence. Sameer (IPL Commentator), Nikitha are also there.
How strong are the production values?
All my films are rich in production values. Even for a single-scene artiste also, we took him to the US. No compromise anywhere. The role might be small, but it should come out with big quality. Chintakayala Ravi is like watching a Bollywood movie. Yogesh too is confident of this. Most part of the film was shot in the US. The entire family audiences could watch it in a very healthy atmosphere. Mother, father and children can go the theatres combined. All the technicians and cast are the best. I am thankful to all my cast and crew.
What’s the duration of Chintakayala Ravi?
It will be something like 14,000 Ft, roughly 2.30 Hours.
What about your film “Koncham Ishtam Koncham Kashtam”?
This is also a romantic entertainer just like Chintakayala Ravi. It is directed by Dolly (Kishore Pardhasani). This is his debut film. I believe in Dolly just like I believe in Vinay. The main story of the film revolves around Siddhardh, Tamanna, Prakash Raj (hero’s father), Ramya Krishna (hero’s mother) and Nazar (heroine’s father). Brahmanandam and Venu Madhav and others form the prominent cast. 65% of the shoot is completed so far. This film sports the best of the technicians like cinematographer Vijay Chakravarthy (Bommrillu fame), music director trio Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy and Sreekar Prasad (editing). We are planning to release the film on January 14th. Audio function will be held on huge scale with live performances by the musician trio.
When will there be your film with NTR again?
Yes. I have a commitment with NTR. It will be planned soon.
I plan to remake Chintakayala Ravi in Kannada with Punith Rajkumar.
Chintakayala Ravi is releasing pos the government decision to reduce the ticket rates. How do you feel about it?
This decision will drastically create a dent into our business. What’s this Rs. 35/-? It is the lowest rate compared with the market in the other states of India. Even a state like Bihar has admission rate as Rs. 60/-. For making quality films, we should have better production values. For better production values, we should have good budget. This is not possible with the current system of ticket pricing. I personally feel that the movie is my product. I should decide its price based on my production cost and its recovery. Just like an industrialist. See, hero like Ashay Kumar who was charging 5 crores a few years back is taking 70 crores per film post Singh is King because of the exponential growth of the market and good pricing structure.
Incidentally Chintakayala Ravi is the first big Telugu film releasing after Government has passed an order not to increase ticket rates for the first two weeks. We already met Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy garu in this matter. He assured us with a positive response. Let us hope for the best.
Uday Kiran (Actor)
Chandra Sekhar (Actor)
Dil Raju (Producer)
Siva (Souryam director)
Mamata Mohandas (Actress)
Lakshmi Lahari (Actress)
Ramesh Varma (Director)
Neha Thota (Child actress)
Srinivas Avasarala (Actor)
Uday Kiran (Actor)
Ram Gopal Varma (Director)
PG Vinda (Cinematographer)
Hari Yelleti (Director)
Kishore Ganji (Producer)
Ram Mohan (Producer)
Salim Panda (Actor)
Surekha Vani (Actress)
Manjari Fadniz (Actress)
A Raja Sekhar (Director)
Sayaji Shinde (Actor)
Viswa Tej (Actor)
Geetha Madhuri (Playback Singer)
Sneha Ullal (Actress)
Prem Kumar Patra (Producer)
GV Prakash (Music director)
Mohana Krishna Indraganti (Director)
Bharat (Child actor)
Malini Dasari (Cinematographer)
Rama Jogaiah Sastry (Lyricist)
Uday Kiran (Hero)
Aditi Sharma (Heroine)
Nagur Babu (Mano) (Singer)
Sekhar Suri (Director)
Sindhu Menon (Heroine)
Vinu Thomas (Music director)
Nihal (Music director & Singer)
Smita (Pop singer)
Sonal Chauhan (Actress)
Raghu Kunche (Singer)
Udaya Bhanu (Anchor)
Meher Ramesh (Director)
Rao Ramesh (Actor)
Gopi Mohan (Writer)
Ajay Sastri (Director)
Vara Mullapudi (Director)
Bhumika Chawla (Actress)
Jagapati Babu (Actor)
Vijay C Kumar (Cinematographer)
Sekhar Kammula (Director)