Srinivasa Reddy made a name for himself as comedy director with back-to-back small-budget comedy hits like Adirindayya Chandram and Tata Birla Madhyalo Laila. His latest film Yamagola Malli Modalaindi is all set to hit the marquee on 23 August. Here is our exclusive interview with the director -
I was born in 1969 in Velagalavari Palem (Tanuku mandal) of West Godavari district. I completed my primary education in Velagalavari Palem before moving to Penumantra for high school studies. Later on I joined in DNR inter college in Bhimavaram where famous movie personalities like SV Krishna Reddy, Trivikram and Sunil studied. I had to drop out of the college in the first year and go to Karnataka due to some unavoidable circumstances.
I joined as an assistant for popular Kannada director Vijaya Reddy in 1984. That is when I got introduced to M Shyam Prasad Reddy. My first film in Telugu was Shyam Prasad Reddy's Ahuthi. I worked in direction department under Kodi Rama Krishna for that film. Later on I worked as an assistant director for various films directed by G Ram Mohan Rao and Y Nageswara Rao. Y Nageswara Rao used to treat me like a brother and there is lot of his influence on my work. I worked as co-director with Siva Nageswara Rao for three more films. He encouraged me a lot.
During that time my friends (Anand Reddy, Srinivasa Reddy, Ramalingeswara Reddy and Rama Krishna Reddy) joined their hands with me to produce my debut film 'Ashadam Pellikoduku' (1997) with Ali as hero. Then I directed a suspense film titled 'February 14 Necklace Road' with Suman and Bhanu Priya in the main lead. Then I directed a film titled Andam. This film was produced by MS Reddy and T Subbirami Reddy. That film is still languishing in cans. I suffered a lot for the next four years.
That is when Trinadh Pedhiredla (PRO) took me to N Suryaprakasa Rao and introduced me. We made Adirindayya Chandram with Sivaji as hero. This film was completed in the scheduled time due to the help of Sivaji and his friend Ammiraju. It worked well at box office. It was N Surya Prakasa Rao who gave me life as a director. After that I directed Tata Birla Madhyalo Laila. This film became a hit and got me recognition as a comedy director.
Tell us about your latest project Yamagola Malli Modalaindi?
When I was doing promos for Tata Birla Madhyalo Laila in Frame Graphics studios, Raja Sekhar (one of the partners) told me that we were going to make a film together. Then I told him that we can mix my kind of comedy and their kind of graphics to come up with a storyline. That is how Yamagola Malli Modalaindi started.
We have seen many Yama films in the past. How different is Yamagola Malli Modalaindi?
All the films we have seen dealt with the hero meeting with an accident and going to Yamalokam. Then he fights with Yama and returns to earth. In the end, hero tricks Yama with a senti scene and sends him away permanently. But in this film, Yama comes directly to earth to take the life away of a person.
Tell us about characterizations?
1. Srikanth: Srikanth did the role of Jr. Yama (grandson of Lord Yama played by K Satyanarayana). Srikanth proved as a versatile artist with the films like Operation Duryodhana and Shankar Dada Zindabad. He is an extraordinary performer. In my opinion, Srikanth is the next actor outside Nandamuri heroes who can deliver terrific performances in pouranikas. He comes to earth to do his duty in this film.
2. Venu: Venu did the role of Jr. Chitragupta. We created scenes in such a way to suit his body language. His comedy in this film is going to be a good relief.
3. Heroines: Meera Jasmine did the role of a soft and kind hearted person. Reema Sen did the role of sub-inspector of police. Her role is of rough and tough nature. The entire story revolves around Meera Jasmine’s character.
4. Kaikala Satyanarayana: All Yama backdrop films with Kaikala Satyanarayana doing the role of Yama became blockbusters. We added some comedy by making him a BP patient and diabetic.
5. Allu Ramalingaiah: We used graphics to create Allu Ramalingaiah doing Chitragupta character.
6. Krishna Bhagawan: Krishna Bhagawan did pivotal roles in my earlier films. This film too is no exception. He did the role of Narada. He is a huge plus point to this film.
Tell us about the music?
Jeevan Thomas has composed nice music for this film. He worked with senior music directors like MS Viswanadhan, Rammurthy, Ilayaraja and AR Rehman as music conductor. He has deep knowledge in carnatic, western and Indian classical music. There are five songs in this album. The audio went down well with the music lovers. This music will help the success of the film.
What are the highlights of Yamagola Mallimodalaindi?
Story and narration are the main highlights. The scenes involving bringing Yama and Chitra Gupta to earth are going to be extraordinary. The scene in which Yama embodies into a doll and the scene in which Srikanth squabbles with six Venus are going to be hilarious. The other main highlight is the interval episode where Srikanth is shown as Kala Yamudu. The graphics in this film have a duration of 1 hour.
Tell us about the producers?
The producers (Amar, Rajasekhar and Satish) have their own graphics and animation company. The graphics in this film have a duration of 1 hour. And those graphics are very well done because the producers own the graphics studios. We had ample time and talented people to do these graphics in an impressive way. It took over 6 months to do graphics work. I am sure that these producers will become big in the future.
You had seen the final version of the film. How did you like it?
I was thrilled looking at the film. There is comedy, action, drama and sentiment in this film. It would be liked by the entire family. After the release of this film, I am expecting offers from big heroes and big production houses.
What is your goal as a director?
I want to make films that gives multiple profits to producer, distributor and exhibitors. My films should also give more value for the money spent by audience. I also would like to do heart touching films like sagara sangamam, matrudevobhava along with commercial films.
What are your future projects?
1. Premabhishekam (Veediki Cancer ledu): This film will sport Srihari and Venu madhav as heroes. Dasari provides story
2. Kuberulu (Veellaku anni appule): Srinivas will produce this film.
3. A film with Srikanth as hero. This film will be produced by an NRI Kishore Putta.
4. A film with Allari Naresh as hero in EVV Cinema banner. Ammiraju will present this film.
5. A film with RR Moviemakers.
Mickey J Meyer (Music director)
R Narayana Murthy (Producer)
Baba Sehgal (Singer)
Buddhadev Dasgupta (Director)
Tom Alter (Actor)
Kundan Shah (Director)
Priyadarshini Ram (Director)
Selva Raghavan (Director)
Vijaya Bhaskar (Director)
R Ravinder (Art director)
Chandra Sekhar Yeleti (Director)
Mohana Krishna Indraganti (Director)
Dega Deva Kumar Reddy (Producer)
Nidhi Prasad (Director)
Hema Chandra (Singer)
Vijay C Chakravarthy (Cinematographer)
VN Aditya (Director)