Interview with Sudheer Varma about Keshava by Maya Nelluri
You are at > Interviews >
Follow Us

18 May 2017

Director Sudheer Varma stepped into the spotlight with Swamy Ra Ra. The film not only became the face of new-age Tollywood cinema but also opened doors for smaller budget films to enter the big leagues. While his success was seen as an overnight one by many, his journey to becoming a director was a decade long. In this interview he talks about how life has changed since his days as an assistant director, the lessons he learned from his second film Dochay and also delves into how Keshava came into being. This director is known to say it like it is so brace yourselves for a no-nonsense interview.

You’ve worked as an assistant director before you became a director; how has life changed since then?
To my friends I am the same before or after becoming a director. Within myself though, I get tenser now. When you are an AD you pitch ideas to the director and it is up to him/her to take the final call. There is someone above you to take the responsibility. The director’s job is to make the decision and he reaps the rewards or failures as well so to be an AD is easier. Now that I am the director, I have to make the decisions. Everyone is relying on me so I have the responsibility to make the right decision. When you plan a film you have to consider many things. But for Keshava I’m least tensed because I’m very confident about the film.

After the success of Swamy Ra Ra, Dochay didn’t do as well, how did u deal with those different situations?
When you get success, you will definitely be happy because success is happiness. When Dochay didn’t do well I felt bad for many reasons, one of which was for Naga Chaitanya because he trusted me a lot. I still owe him a super hit! And I hope that I can do it for him in the future, as soon as possible. That’s one of my goals. It’s true that you learn from your success but you learn a lot more from your failures. So, after Dochay, I learned a lot and will definitely not repeat those mistakes in my future projects.

What were the lessons you learned from Dochay?
The biggest lesson was to never let success get to you. I got carried away with the success of Swamy Ra Ra and took a few decisions which were crucial to the film lightly. I learned that every aspect of the film is important and nothing should be taken lightly in a film. Now I ensure that before the film hits the sets, all other aspects have been worked on.

Who or what is your screen play style inspired by?
I’m influenced largely by foreign films. I am a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolen, and Martin Scorsese so their work has been very important in my learning. As for my style, whenever I do a film I watch a lot of films from the same genre. If I see anything interesting, I adapt it. The story structure is mine and in place even before I’ve thought of inspiration. After that I might adapt some scenes in my films from others. Still, I do the screenplay to suit our audience. I don’t want the audience to disconnect from the film so I make sure our audience relates to it.

You’ve said earlier that you copied certain scenes in your first film Swamy Ra Ra from other films and even listed some. Should we expect the same from in Keshava?
Whatever I do I am inspired from many other films. But it is not that I do exactly what is in another scene; I don’t put it in the same way. If I’m inspired by anything, I adapt it to our sensibilities and audience. I don’t copy the story; but I may copy an idea. For example, if my script requires that the hero kill someone, I see references where someone kills, if I find something interesting then I adapt the way the scene is styled into my movie. Not only my past films but even in my future films I will do that; that’s me.

Tell us about how you went about creating the script for Keshava.
I wanted to make a film with Nikhil and the first thing I wanted to do was to move away from the genre of crime-comedy because I’d done that already in Swamy Ra Ra and Dochay. Then I got the idea for Keshava from an incident I had come across. From that I made this fictional story and I thought it would be very apt for Nikhil because even though he’s tried many different scripts, this would still be very unique in his career.

How did you decide on the cast of the film?
Nikhil and I wanted to do a film together. After that I started working on the characters, story etc. After developing the whole story I thought about the casting of other characters. My choice for the female lead was Ritu after I saw her performance in Pelli Choopulu. I thought she would be perfect because Keshava required someone who fits the ‘normal girl’ role. Apart from that there was another very powerful female investigative officer character in the script. I was in search for it and when I saw Isha Kopikar in the advertisement for Swach Bharat I felt that she would be just right. I wanted someone who wasn’t too familiar in Telugu but still known. When I met her in Mumbai and narrated the story to her she was quite amped. She was looking to get into Tollywood and was waiting for the perfect script. When she heard this, she thought this would be perfect for her and decided to take it up. As for the remaining characters, such as Rao Ramesh, Ajay, Brahmaji, they were all my first choices and I knew that t
hey would fit their roles perfectly.
You’ve introduced a new concept in the film, Dextrocardia situs inversus, which means that an individual’s heart is situated on the right side instead of the usual. How did you get that idea?
My friend Krishna Chaitanya, whom you would know as the director of Rowdy Fellow, among other things, gave me the idea. If you think about it, a hero taking revenge is nothing new so I wanted to create a scenario where the protagonist is not entirely physically fit. I didn’t want him to look different but instead wanted to explore how someone who cannot react in usual ways would go through life. The differences between him and others are highlighted mainly when he gets excited. His characterisation had to be carefully thought out because the mood in which he lives his life is unique.

Tell us about the locations that you shot Keshava in.
I shot the film almost 80% in Vishakapatanam, Araku, Kakinada and Nasrapuram because the story happens in those locations. I chose those locations in particular for the film because I’m familiar with them. I studied my Intermediate in Kakinada, and did my schooling in Vizag. I actually shot in the same school that I studied in. While writing the story itself, I made sure the locations also had some character and were important to the script. For example the Mada Adavulu in Kakinada were shown partial in other films but no one really explored it. You’ll see the real beauty of the forest in this movie.

What is your favourite song in Keshava?
Yedisthe Rarevaru which is sung by Arjith Singh is my favourite and of course the Kaala Bhairava Ashtakam which comes on in a crucial part of the film.

In Keshava what is your favourite scene?
I was asked this question earlier and I told them it’s the interval scene so that I don’t have to reveal any other scenes.

Which is your favourite dialogue in Keshava?
I like the opening dialogue which is also included in the trailer, “kothaga goppaga cheppadaniki naadi kadha kaadu, baadha!” I love that whole write up, Krishna Chaitanya actually wrote it. I also like the climax dialogues but I won’t tell you those as yet because you have to see it on screen.

You moved away from crime-comedies to a revenge-drama in Keshava; will you try other genres as well in the future?
I definitely want to explore any genres that I am comfortable with. My first two films were crime-comedies whereas this is a pure revenge-drama now. My next film with Sharwanand will be an action thriller. The structure of the story is done but I have to work on the bound script with dialogues. Then there is also a film that I planned with Ravi Teja long ago. That will be a gangster film and will be done whenever he is free. I’m not sticking to one genre. From now on which ever hero I’m working with, I will choose the script to best suit him. I don’t want to choose one story and try to cookie cut anyone into it.

We’ve heard earlier that May 19th is very special to you. Why is that?
Whenever your film releases, it is special. Keshava is releasing on May 19th so it is special to me. But more than that May 19th is my daughter’s birthday. So, in all of my life, from the day I was born, May 19th is the most special day and it is the best day. I’m really happy that Keshava is also releasing on the same day. It’ll be my daughter’s birthday gift or her gift to me. *Smiles*

- Maya Nelluri

vijay jeedigunta

About Maya Nelluri: Writer, Artist, and Make-up & Hair Professional; but first and foremost - Telugu Cinema Addict! Previous work experience includes Styling for films and photo shoots featuring Shriya Saran, Rana, Saina Nehwal, Nani and many more. Also worked as Associate Editor for SouthScope and Copy Editor for Channel 6 among others.
Twitter: @mayanelluri

Other Interviews
Ritu Varma (actress)
Rahul (actor)
Srinivas Avasarala (actor)
Pritesh Depala (CEO of Phars Films)
KK Senthil Kumar (director)
Sreenu Vaitla (director)
Varun Tej (actor)
Nischay Niyogi (stylist)
Lavanya Tripathi (actress)
Anup Rubense (music actor)
Sundeep Kishan (actor)
Raj Tarun (actor)
Vamsi Krishna (director)
Vijay Devarakonda (actor)
Sai Dharam Tej (actor)
Rana (actor)
Satish Vegesna (director)
Shriya Saran (actress)
Devi Sri Prasad (music director)
Sree Vishnu (actor)
Kruthika Jayakumar (actress)
Punarnavi (actress)
Ram Gopal Varma (director)
Vishal (actor)
Ram Charan (actor)
Saloni (actor)
Ram Charan (actor)
Poorna (actress)
Sivakarthikeyan (actor)
Nikhil (actor)
Nandita Swetha (actress)
Hebah Patel (actress)
Allari Naresh (actor)
Sumanth (actor)
Manjima Mohan (actress)
Karthi (actor)
Rajeevan (Art director)
Trisha (actress)
Kalyan Ram (actor)
Puri Jagannadh (director)
Jagapathi Babu (actor)
Prakash Raj (actor)
Priyamani (actress)
Ram (actor)
Raashi Khanna (actress)
Virinchi Varma (director)
Nani Majnu by Jeevi (actor)
Nani Majnu by Maya Nelluri (actor)
Nagarjuna (actor)
Kriti kharbanda (actress)
Srinivas Avasarala (actor)
Nara Rohit (actor)
NTR (actor)
Koratala Siva (director)
Allu Sirish (actor)
Venkatesh (actor)
Chandrasekhar Yeleti (director)
Vijay Devarakonda (actor)
Ramaraju (director)
Nani- Gentleman (actor)
Sundeep Kishan (actor)
Nithin (actor)
S Radha Krishna (China Babu) (producer)
Mahesh Babu (actor)
Suriya (actor)
Boyapati Srinu (director)
Sundeep Kishan (actor)
Manoj Manchu (actor)
Nandini Reddy (director)
Adivi Sesh (actor)
Satish Kasetty (director)
Bellamkonda Srinivas (actor)
Bheemaneni Srinivasa Rao (director)
Sharwanand (actor)
Nagarjuna (actor)
NTR (actor)
Merlapaka Gandhi (director)
Sravanthi Ravi Kishore (producer)
Sudheer Babu (actor)
Allari Naresh (actor)
Gopichand (actor)
Varun Tej (actor)
Sampath Nandi (director)
Nanditha (actress)
Nikhil (actor)
Anushka (actress)
R. Rathnavelu (cinematographer)
Swathi (actress)
Chinnababu (producer)
Raaja Kiran (director)
Naveen Chandra (actor)
Ohmkar (director)
Kalyan Ram (actor)
GV Prakash Kumar (actor)
Varun Tej (actor)
Sreenu Vaitla (director)
Ram Charan (actor)
Nani (actor)
Teja (director)
Vishnu Manchu (actor)
Deva Katta (director)
Maruthi (director)
Bunny Vasu (producer)
Ravi Teja (actor)
Mahesh Babu (actor)
Koratala Siva (director)
Mahesh Babu (actor)
Kalyan Koduri (music composer)
Allari Naresh (actor)
Anil Sunkara (producer)
Prabhas - Baahubali (actor)
Sundeep Kishan (actor)
Yogesh (director)
Srinivas Raga (director)
Lagadapati Sridhar (producer)
Sai Kiran Adiv
i (director)
Nara Rohit (actor)
Raj Madiraju (director)
Gopichand Malineni (director)
Sudheer Babu (actor)
Lakshmi Mancu (actress)
Ravi Babu (director & actor)
Nani (actor)
Pradeep Nandan (actor)
Nikhil - Surya Vs Surya (actor)
Havish (actor)
Madalasa Sharma (actress)
Varun Sandesh (actor)
Madhura Sreedhar (producer)
Sundeep Kishan (actor)
Nikitha Reddy (producer)
Suhir Ponncchamy (director)
Aadi (actor)
Rajesh Touchriver(director)
Dasari Narayana Rao (director)
Sai Dharam Tej (actor)
Sundeep Kishan (actor)
Allari Naresh (actor)
Sai Korrapati (producer)
Mahi V Raghav (director)
Ram Charan - GAV (actor)
Chiranjeevi- 2014 (actor)
Lagadapati Sreedhar (producer)
Aadi (actor)
Neelakanta (director)
VV Vinayak (director)
Venkatesh (actor)
Sundeep Kishan (actor)
Anil Jason Guduru (director)
Srinivas Avasarala (director/actor)
Prakash Raj (actor)
Nagarjuna (actor)
Gangaraju Gunnam (producer & director)
Aadi (actor)
Raja Sekhar (actor)
Allu Sirish (actor)
Sekhar Kammula (director)
Charmme (actress)
Sai Rajesh (director)
CV Kumar (producer)
Krishna Madhav (actor)
Tirthankar Das (producer, director, music director)
Raj Pippalla (director)
Raja Goutham (actor)
Nani (actor)
Vaani Kapoor (actress)
Veena Ghantasala (singer - dubbing artist)
Puri Jagannadh (director)
Ayodhya Kumar (director)
Sumanth (actor)
Sukumar (director)
Ram mohan (producer)
Melanie kannokada (actress)
Venkat (actor)
Sundeep kishan (actor)
Nagarjuna (actor)
Vishnu Manchu (actor)
Singeetam Srinivasa Rao (director)
Lagadapati Sridhar Sirisha (producer)
Sesh Adivi (director)
Sai Kiran Adivi (producer)
Mohana Krishna Indraganti (Director)
Kalyani Koduri (music director)
Eesha (actress)
Sushanth (actor)
Kalyanram Om (actor)
Chandra Sekhar Yeleti (Director)
Gopichand (actor)
Ramaraju (Director)
Gopichand Malineni (Director)
Anil Sunkara (Director)
Allu Arjun (Actor)
Raj - DK (Director)
Ashok G (Director)
Nagarjuna (Actor)
Venkatesh (Actor)
Boyapati Sreenu (Director)
Sirish (Actor)
Nithin (Actor)
Nikhil (Actor)
Pratap Kolagatla (producer)
Govardhan Krishna (director)
Madhura Sreedhar (director)
KS Rama Rao (producer)
Lakshmi Manchu (actress)
Sunil (actor)
Vikram (Race/Manasara) (actor)
Nandini Reddy (director)
Prabhas (actor)
Koratala Siva (director)
Mahesh Babu (actor)
Bommarillu Bhaskar (director)
Sharwanand (actor)
Kajal Agarwal (actress)
Samantha (actress)
Gowtam Menon (director)
Rana Daggubati (actor)
Krish (director)
Praveen Sattaru (director)
Sundeep Kishan (actor)
Vishnu Manchu (actor)
Ravi Babu (director)
Sekhar Kammula (director)
Amala Akkineni (actress)
Ajay Bhuyan (director)
Nagarjuna (actor)
Allu Arjun (actor)
Trivikram (director)
Jr. SVR (actor)
Kranthi Madhav (actor)
Lakshmi Manchu (producer)
• Life is beautiful actors: Abhijeet | Sudhakar Komakula | Naveen | Vijay Devarakonda | Kaushik | Zara | Sriram
Sai Korrapati (producer)
Harish Shankar (director)
Sravanthi Ravi Kishore (producer)
SKN (producer)
Teja (director)
Sampath Nandi (director)
Manoj Manchu (actor)

Kiran Meegada (director)
Amala Paul (actress)
Siddharth (actor)
YVS Chowdary (producer)
Nagarjuna (actor)
Sesh Adivi (actor)
Prasad V Potluri (poducer)
Krishna Vamsi (director)
Seenu Vytla (director)
Rana (actor)
Dil Raju (producer)
KL Damodar Prasad (producer)
Veerabhadram (director)
Varun Sandesh (actor)
Sai Kumar (actor)
Praveen Sattaru (director)
Vishnu (actor)
Dil Raju (producer)
N Shankar (director)
Nandini Reddy (director)
Ravi Babu (director)
Kalyan Ram (actor)
Bharat Thankur (producer)
Saloni (actress)
SS Rajamouli (director)
Madhura Sreedhar (director)
Sundeep Kishan (actor)
Satya Tatineni (director)
Nani (actor)
Lakshmi Manchu (producer)
Manoj Manchu (actor)
Aditya Babu (actor)
Chandra Siddhartha (director)
Ram (actor)
Deva Katta (director)
Ruby Parihar (actress)
Anita Galler (actress)
Priya Anand (actress)
Shruti (actress)
Arun Singaraju (director)
Naga Chaitanya (actor)
Suman Pathuri (director)
Sekhar Kammula (director)
Richa Gangopadhyay (Actress)
Seenu Vytla (Director)
Krishna Vamsi (Director)
Srikanth (Actor)
Sravanthi Ravi Kishore (Producer)
Ram (Actor)
Chaitanya Dantuluri (Actor)
Chakri Toleti (Director)
Nara Rohith (Actor)
Senthil Kumar (Cinematographer)
Ram Gopal Varma (Director)
Anand Ranga (Director)
Marthand K Shankar (Director)
Siddharth (Actor)
Raj Pippalla (Director)
Nani (Actor)
Deva Katta (Director)
Raj & DK (Directors)
Surya (Actor)
Shraddha Das (Actress)
Mahesh Shankar (Music director)
Lakshmi Manchu (Actress)
Siddharth (Actor)
Sushant (Actor)
Sharwanand (Actor)
Jagapati Babu (Actor)
JD Chakri (Director)
Tamanna (Actress)
Kishore Kumar (Director)
Rahjul Nambiar (Visual Effects Supervisor)
Deepa Chander (Cosumes designer)
Anushka (Actress)
Hari Charan Prasad (Director)
Colors Swati (Actress)
P Ravi Shankar (Dubbing artist)
Anushka (Actress)
Sonia (Actress)
Usha (singer)
Anish Kuruvilla (Director)
Gowtam Menon (Director)
Genelia (Actress)
Kamal Kamaraju (Actor)
Kishore (Actor)
Harsha Reddy (Director n producer)
Bindu Madhavi (Actress)
Shweta Basu Prasad (Actress)
Dil Raju (Actor)
Santhi Chandra (Actor)
Teja (Director n producer)
Jeevi (Critic)
Lakshmikanth Chenna (Director)
Manoj Manchu (Actor)
Ajay Sastri (Director)
Sekhar Kmmula (Producer)
Ravi Krishna (Actor)
Sunitha (Playback singer)
VN Aditya (Diector & Producer)
Nallamalupu Bujji (Producer)
Uday Kiran (Actor)
Chandra Sekhar (Actor)
Raahul (Actor)
Dil Raju (Producer)
Gopichand (Actor)
Siva (Souryam director)
Venkatesh (Actor)
Mamata Mohandas (Actress)
Lakshmi Lahari (Actress)
Ramesh Varma (Director)
Samudra (Director)
Yogesh (Director)
Neha Thota (Child actress)
Srinivas Avasarala (Actor)
Uday Kiran (Actor)
Kanmani (Director)
Ram Gopal Varma (Director)
PG Vinda (Cinematographer)
Madan (Director)
Bhavana (Heroine)
Bhargava (Producer)
Hari Yelleti (Director)
Krishnudu (Actor)
Kishore Ganji (Producer)
Ram Mohan (Producer)
Salim Panda (Actor)
Surekha Vani (Actress)
Manjari Fadniz (Actress)
Vishal (Actor)
A Raja Sekhar (Director)
Sridevi (Actress)
Sayaji Shinde (Actor)
Viswa Tej (Actor)
Geetha Madhuri (Playback Singer)
Namitha (Actress)
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)
Venkat (Hero)
Uday Kiran (Hero)
Sharwanand (Hero)
Ram (Hero)
Aditi Sharma (Heroine)
Nagur Babu (Mano) (Singer)
Sekhar Suri (Director)
Sindhu Menon (Heroine)
Vinu Thomas (Music director)
Nihal (Music director & Singer)
Nitin (Hero)
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)

Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright 1999 - 2017 All rights reserved