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Interview with Namo Venkatesa
Date: January 16, 2010, Hyderabad
seenu vytla

Seenu Vytla – the king of entertainment – spoke at length with about his Sankranthi release Namo Venkatesa starring Venkatesh and Trisha. He discusses the box office performance of Namo Venkatesa and gives details of his next project with Mahesh Babu. Here are the excerpts -

How is Namo Venkatesa doing at Box Office?
Namo Venkatesa turned out to be the biggest hit in my career as well as Venkatesh’s career. This is my first movie in Sankrathi season and I am realising the potential of Sankranthi season through the collections amassed by Namo Venkatesa. This film sold on NRA (Non-returnable advance) basis to all the distributors. All of them are happy and are giving excellent predictions about the movie’s box office performance. My earlier biggest hit’s collections are going to be crossed by Namo Venkatesa in 6 days in East Godavari area. Namo Venkatesa was released in Rajahmundry in 4 theatres and the distributor has to increase the number to 8 on the day two. Venkatesh has got great following in Vizag area and Namo Venkatesa is going to collect one crore more than Venkatesh’s previous biggest hit. It is going to collect 6 crores share in Ceded area. Nizam’s openings are extraordinary.

What is the reason for Namo Venkatesa’s box office performance?
I would give the first credit to Venkatesh’s characterization. Big heroes would shy away from doing such a role . Brahmanandam makes the hero a bakra in the movie. Hero has to dance to Arya 2 songs. Venkatesh said that he was keeping a blind faith on me and gave complete freedom and cooperation to me.

What are the high points in the movie?

1. Jathakam episode
2. Interview scene
3. Driking scene (the biggest high point in the movie)
4. Non-stop laughter from interval to the 5th song.
5. Entertaining chase scene towards climax.

The songs of the movie also helped a lot to the movie. We used chopper to have aerial shots of greenery in Iceland for Soundarya song. We went to virgin locations in Iceland despite of low oxygen levels and dangerously narrow roads. It all paid off when we watched such beautiful locations on the big screen.

You have your signature comedy in your movies. Don’t you think you are becoming repetitive with themes and scenes over a period of time?
I think you are referring to scenes like drinking scenes in the movie. I asked NRK Reddy (distributor of Vizag) if I can take off drinking scene in Namo Venkatesa. He said that drinking scenes in Amitab Bachchan films were hugely entering and successful. Likewise, when crowds go to SeenuVytla moves, they expect a good drinking scene. I was in two minds about it first and had to think over it for 10 days in Kodaikanal. And finally, I decided to go with it. It turned out to be the most entertaining scene in Namo Venkatesa.

Brahmanandam was hilarious in your earlier movies, but he played a slightly negative role in this movie. Master Bharat was hugely entertaining in your earlier movies because he is shown as a naughty guy. But in this movie, he plays a positive character of helping the hero. What is the reason for designing their characters differently?
Priya Darshan is known for such themes. He used Paresh Rawal as comedian, character actor and villain. I wanted to show different shades of these actors. Another reason why I did so is due to the ability of Venkatesh in comedy department. Venkatesh is one of the finest heroes in India who has excellent command on comedy department.

There is a complaint that the love angle is not treated properly?
It was more like one-way love in this movie. Hence we need not show any love orientation from Trisha’s side. Hence it is not possible to go into depth regarding love aspect as we concentrated mainly on entertainment.

There are comments that the movie became prolonged and formulaic towards the end?
The main reason for Namo Venkatesa to become a blockbuster is due to the sentiment that worked in the last fifteen minutes. It really helps to have action episodes in order for the film to work at box office in Ceded area. Hence we designed nice and entertaining action episodes to satisfy mass movie lovers.

You are known for quick execution of projects. Tell us about Namo Venkatesa details?
We shot the entire movie in a span of 5 months despite of Trisha’s lack of dates, Jaya Prakash going to USA for 15 days and Venkatesh taking rest for 15 days due to Chikungunya. We finished the movie in 90 working days. We shot the chase scenes in just 3 days. We hired chopper for just 2 hours to complete the aerial shots in Soundarya song. We exposed 1.35 lac feet of negative footage.

Tell us about the technicians?
I have a specially appreciation for our 24-year old editor Varma who worked for days together without any sleep. Writer Gopi Mohan understands the way I think and we have great wavelength match and it worked really well during scripting stage. He patiently accompanied me for a year to help us out in the movie. Devi Sri Prasad gave nice music and very good re-recording. Art director AS Prakash is excellent. Prasad Murella gave his best work in this movie.

Tell us about your next movie with Mahesh?
I had been doing films to satisfy the taste of audiences. I have a personal taste and I never got any opportunity to a film that I would really love to make. The action parts in my previous films are appreciated by movie lovers. Not many people know that I get highly tensed while directing comedy scenes and I am extremely relaxed when doing action sequences. Mahesh’s movie is going to be a beautiful love story with nice action elements and my kind of entertainment. Mahesh has specifically told me not miss out on my signature entertainment/comedy. It is going to be a love story I am attempting after Anandam movie. It is going to be a visual poetry and it will be shot in North Indian locations like Ladakh.

Tell us how much did it cost to make Namo Venkatesa and how much it is going to collect?
The budget of Namo Venkatesa is around 20 crores and it is going to collect over 30 crores in AP along in the long run.

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