making of Rajamouli
Basically I belong to Kovvur (near Rajahmundry). I
was born in Rayachur (Karnataka) and I belong to a
farming family. I studied in Kovvur till 4th class
and then shifted to Eluru. I studied till 1st year
of Intermediate over there and took break for two
years. Then I finished 2nd year of intermediate in
Kovvur and then I decided to put a stop to my formal
am a film freak since I was a kid. I got addicted
to watching films. I never planned or dreamt of becoming
a film director. Since I dropped out from education
and my family is into films (father Vijayendra Prasad
is story writer and cousin Keeravani is a music director),
I decided to enter film industry. I started my career
as an assistant to the editor Kotagiri Venkateswara
Rao (he is the editor for all my films). Then I worked
at AVM recording theater for few days. Then I assisted
my father Vijayendra Prasad for six years. I used
to give narration to film directors on behalf of my
father. When I see the output after the film's release,
I used to feel bad that none of those films were shaped
up the way I imagined. That is when I decided that
I could become a director and deliver the output the
way I imagined. I also realized that there is no individuality
for me if I work as an assistant to my father.
back, my father directed a film called Ardhangi, which
went on to become a disaster. We went into debt trap
as we were also involved in the production of that
film. It took years for us to pick up and put the
packed my stuff and moved to Hyderabad from Chennai.
At that time, Gangaraju was planning to direct his
second film (which eventually never took off) after
Little Soldiers. It was with Gangaraju I learnt about
the practical aspect of filmmaking. I also realized
that nobody helps anybody here and we gotta work hard
to survive and succeed.
that time, K Raghavendra Rao was appointed as the
Electronic Media Adviser to the State Government.
Myself and Chandu (Chandra Sekhar Yeleti of Aithe
approached Raghavendra Rao with concepts for TV spots.
We were given TV ad spots to direct certain social
message oriented commercials. I made my first earning
through that. It was the most memorable moment of
my life. Later on I did ads for Telugu Desam Party
on, I directed Santhi Nivasam TV Serial which
was produced by K Raghavendra Rao. I worked like a
maniac for one and half years. That period is the
most arduous period in my life as I used to work for
17 hours a day. During that period I hardly watched
10 films. Even K Raghavendra Rao used to call me 'Rakshasudu'
for the kind of rigorous work I put in. Inspite of
all my hard work, K Raghavendra Rao used to give 5th
priority to me among his protégés. Vara
(director of Naa Alludu) was given first preference
for all K Raghavendra Rao's works though I worked
harder than all others.
and Vara were selected to direct Student No.1 jointly.
At that time Vara was directing two prime TV serials.
And the producer thought that there could be confusion
in direction if two guys direct it. Hence, Vara dropped
out and I was confirmed.
is how Student No.1 happened. There are 1000's
of director wannabes who tap the doors of production
houses everyday for a chance. I had every good thing
happen to me just like that without even asking for
it. I worked on Student No.1 right from the
script level and delivered it.
Student No.1 success, I was supposed to direct
fantasy flick with Surya Prakash (son of K Raghavendra
Rao) as hero. But his first film Neetho was a flop
and budget for fantasy film is quite high. That is
when they decided that it was economically not feasible
and the project was shelved.
Student No.1 was a hit, the people in business
circle attributed the majority part of the success
to darsakatva paryavekshana of K Raghavendra
Rao. I did not realize it as all the people who met
me said that I did well as director.
banner was making a film with NTR. Initially they
shot some part of the film titled 'Kurrodu'
and shelved it. Then they roped in Uday Shankar and
shelved that one too. That is when I narrated Simhadri
subject to NTR and he immediately accepted it. Actually
that subject was supposed to be made in the combination
of B Gopal and Bala Krishna. It was dropped in the
last minute. Simhadri became a huge success.
With the success of Simhadri, people started
attributing the credit for the success of Student
No.1 to me. It was like tasting two successes
with one film.
got plenty of offers after the success of Simhadri.
But I deliberately made a decision not to make an
emotionally charged mass film like Simhadri
immediately. I don't want to get branded as mass director.
I am the kind of guy who enjoys different genre films
like Gharana Mogudu, God Father and Annamayya
with the same fervor. Hence I did Sye, which
is radically different compared to Simhadri.
to Sye, I heard that you are one among those
directors who increase the budget?
You are posing this question to the wrong guy. You
should ask this query to the producers I worked so
far. My producers know the real story and what I am.
Even if I give an explanation, it does not do any
is the response you got for Sye?
I got response from unexpected quarters. Youth immensely
liked the film. Simhadri got me good image
as director, but the appreciation came only from masses
and the fans of NTR. I got more recognition as director
with Sye than Simhadri.
must tell you an exciting incident regarding Sye
film. Willie Hateraka - coach of Indian Army's Rugby
team - saw the film Sye and got very excited.
Rugby is played in 144 countries. And International
Rugby Board is looking for promotional material and
they could find only 3 films worldwide with Sye
being one among those films. Hateraka understood the
emotions of the film though he cannot even understand
English properly as he belongs to Maori sect of New
Zealand. He also recommended me to the International
Rugby Board as the director for their proposed feature
film based on Rugby game.
are regarding as one of the most stylish and technical
directors of Telugu cinema. What is the secret behind
Most of the film is made on story table. As per the
story, we do scenes division. For each scene, we do
shot division. This is where the technique comes into
play. The technique (crane, camera, lighting, movement,
trolleys, filters etc) should be used while doing
shot division. One should also know which emotion
should dominate in that scene.
is more important film any film - Story or Technique?
Some people say that story should be given more emphasis
than technique. But I feel that technique should be
given as much importance you give to story. Telugu
Movie lovers are exposed to Hollywood flicks on TV
and we can only get them to theater to feel the experience
with stories narrated with sound technique.
of our directors emote on sets in order to explain
the scenes to the artists? What groundwork do you
For emotionally intense scenes, I stand in front of
mirror and try to emote different ways of doing it.
By doing so, I would get judgment about it. Some times,
my wife gets scared by looking at my antics during
mid-nights in front of the mirror.
In Hollywood, there is a specific definition for screenplay.
Screenplay is a major department of filmmaking over
there. But over here, we can't single out screenplay
and define it. I can roughly say that it consists
of scene order, dialogues and shot division. Screenplay,
Story writing and direction are three things that
are inseparable in Telugu films.
screenplay is a joint effort, why do our directors
take credit for screenplay? (Athreya once said, "screenplay
anedi directors ki inti pera?")
I do not know about the other directors. I do take
credit for screenplay, because it is me who steers
the direction of story and narration.
do show so much of violence in your films?
I personally like violence. I feel that violence in
a film is right if we substantiate the anger that
causes the violence. Let me give you an example. If
you are riding a bike and a car crosses you in a dangerous
manner. When you ask that driver, he trashes your
question in ridiculous manner. Then you get angry
and want to kick that driver. In a similar way, if
violence comes out of that kind of anger in films,
it is very much justified.
said that other directors could not give the output
the way you expected while narrating the story? Could
you able to deliver good output?
While making 'Student No.1' I realized about
many practical difficulties. I gave an output of 85-90%
compared to what I have imagined while preparing the
story. I guess that is quite satisfactory.
is Chatrapati all about?
This film is made on mother sentiment. This film also
deals with the exploitation done to immigrants who
come to India from the places far away and live without
any official identity.
told about the same immigrant issue to an interview
given to a Newspaper. One of the IBDB
members predicted that this film could be the rip-off
of Al Pacino's 'Scarface'? What's your response?
Let me be honest. The story of this film is given
by my father Vijayendra Prasad. He saw Scarface
and got inspired by the point of immigrants' problems.
But Chatrapati would have no scenic resemblance
to the film Scarface.
us about hero Prabhas's performance in this film?
Prabhas has looks and body language that has mass/action
image written allover it. I wonder why he has not
done any out-and-out mass film so far. All the films
he has done so far are love subjects. Chatrapati
is his first mass film. But, his histrionics are great.
He is a thinking actor. He would ask me about the
scene before and scene that follows for every scene
in order to assess what exactly he needs to enact.
That unique quality itself would take him to a very
is the duration of Chatrapati?
I came about 2:50 hours. It was the same length for
Simhadri and Sye as well.
must have seen the entire film of Chatrapati
now. What is your judgment about the film?
We make the judgment of a film when we finalize the
story. That is where the real judgment comes out.
Entire shooting process is just manual labor. Most
of the creative job is done in the story discussions.
I must have seen each shot of the film for 100 times
by now. So I can't give any judgment after watching
the final product now.
announced a film with NTR as hero in your home banner?
Yes. It would most probably take place once I complete
my next film with Ravi Teja as hero.
are the Telugu films that impressed you recently?
I liked Athadu. I also liked Andhrudu
(hero Gopichand's performance), Aparichitudu
(few brilliant scenes - rest is boring), Chandramukhi
(terrific climax), Athanokkade (few shots)
etc. I liked certain aspects in all these films. Arya
is the only film (apart from Sye) I liked in
total in the past one year, though the climax appeared
routine. Among the heroines, I am amazed by the performances
of Jyothika and Ramya Krishna in Chandramukhi
and Narasimha respectively.
are your favorite Hollywood films?
I like 100's of Hollywood flicks. My most favorite
film is 'Brave Heart'. My top five favorite
films are - Brave Heart, The Last of the Mohicans,
Good Bad and Ugly, Terminator 2 and Indiana
Jones series. I like action/adventure genre films
seem to be changing your hairdo and dressing style
at random pace in the past one year. What is the reason?
I allowed my wife to take over my hairdo and dress
you have any words of wisdom for director wannabes?
I got the chance of direction without even asking
for that. A guy who struggled hard to get direction
chance would give a better suggestion. But out of
my own experience, I would like to give an honest
advice to the first-film-hit directors. Please do
not take advances from producers in jiff after your
debut film becomes a hit. You would have trouble later.
you want to say anything to visitors of idlebrain.com?
Don't trust Jeevi! (giggles) Jokes apart, I never
give messages to anybody - in person or through films!!
Sameer Reddy (Cinematographer)
Marthand K Venkatesh
Sayaji Shinde (Villain)
Gowri Mumjal (Heroine)
MS Raju (Producer)