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Postmortem - Happy Days by Sekhar Kammula
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What is this post mortem? is starting this exclusive, explosive and exciting section called Postmortem, where we conduct a postmortem of the latest releases. We shall be discussing and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the movies with their respective directors as to why those films have become hits/flops. We request the directors to give us their honest and frank opinions.
Happy Days by Sekhar Kammula

Part one met Sekhar Kammula for doing postmortem of his latest blockbuster ‘Happy Days’ which is creating sensation all over. In this part one we are bringing you how Sekhar Kammula conceived the main characters in ‘Happy Days’

Chandu: All my films have a soft spoken main lead. And Chandu is of that kind. I wanted a good looking and charming boy who is identifiable by youth. He should also be confused about his life and career. I have to show the other characters through his eyes using his narrative. There is a romantic angle to him and he is the silent observer who later narrates his college story.

Tyson: I wanted an under dog with lean looks. Every college will have these kinds of characters who are extremely intelligent, at the same time they look very lean. The drama element to his character is about creating a love story with a senior girl. These kinds of guys also have lots of confidence levels. Tyson thinks that he could impress the senior and he would be the boss of his seniors once he enters corporate field. These kinds of guys excels a lot in their life after their college days are over. They become real life heroes after they pass out. It is a typical Narayana Murthy (Infosys) kind of character.

I wanted an extremely lean guy. But I was impressed with Rahul at the time of audition and took him though he is not that much skinny. When I wrote the character, I had people referring to him as ‘bakkoda’, but changed it after casting Raahul as ‘juttoda’. In fact, I made slight changes to the characterization to suit Raahul.

Tyson character is about inner beauty. He is an amazing friend, a great lover, a fearless fellow, a sacrificing guy and a genius. There are tremendous heroic qualities in his character.

I wanted Chandu to learn and grow by observing Tyson character.

Rajesh: He is the pure entertainment provider. He is a playboy, has an outspoken personality and a dil-daar fellow. He is a friendship monger and does not know much about love.

Kamalinee character: Lots of people said that it is inspired by Main Hoon Na. It is common practice that people love classes that are taught by beautiful women. And it happens in most of the colleges. In Main Hoon Na, it is created to cushion SRK’s character, but in Happy Days it’s real. The greatest payoff I got from this character is Rajesh’s poem narration in the climax to grab the job.

Paidi Talli: We generally observe that each and every engineering college has lots of guys who can’t speak English. They also have inferiority complex developed due to their lack of English speaking abilities. Seniors help these kind of guys through ragging. I have shown seniors in college in positive light. This character got highlighted with the last dialogue he utters in the job interview.

Madhu: I created Madhu character for cinematic relief. To be honest, I did not love that character 100% while writing it. She has high family values and belongs to a closely-knitted family. She also has a bit of ego that she is fair skinned and beautiful. I addressed the physical relationship of this character positively. The nobility of this character is that when she is caught with boyfriend asking for a kiss, she says her parents - meenu nannemi anaru. Meelo meeru badha padataru. She gives value to the parents and their feelings. I feel that whenever such a sensitive issue crops up, kids should talk to parents and so that there is healthy communication between parents and kids.

Generally, people say that I am partial towards women in my films. I wanted to change that perception in this film. The hero character never gets diluted in this film. The greatest payoff in this relationship thread is that Chandu assures both daughter and father in the beginning and end of the film respectively by placing his hand on their hands.

Appu: She is a tomboy. She dresses like a boy as she is very close to her father. She also moves around with boys. She gets attracted to Rajesh for obvious reasons. She comes from a village.

Shankar: I have seen lots of people like Shankar in my college days. These people come from needy families and it is extremely important for them to study hard. They do extremely well for an year or two. Then they get distracted by various issues (women, politics, alcohol etc) and spoil their studies.

Sangeeta: I conceived this character to distract Shankar. She is the first negative character in my films. After watching this film a girl told me that like there are bad boys, there are bad girls too in the colleges. I never wanted to have any bad woman characters in my films. But this is an exception.

Krishna (Fat guy): His character gave a great payoff in the climax. It shows that seniors always help you when you pass out though you had problems with them during college times.

Pandu: He is an insecure guy who always want help. I established that character very strongly in the beginning of the film. But had to trim off his scenes to limit the runtime of the film. Hence there is no proper ending to this character.

Sravanthi: I wanted to show her as a mysterious woman. She appears like a flirt in the beginning of the film. But over a period of time, we realize that she is a pure girl at heart with no physical relationships. I wrote some background to her. But did not have opportunity to show it in the film. She is basically daughter of a divorced mother. Hence she misses fatherhood. That is the reason why she would like to have a guy beside her most of the times.

Which character is close to your real self?
I have 70% of the traits of Chandu. I had career confusion when I was studying in college. I went to USA for MS just because everybody was going to USA at that time. But luckily it helped a lot. Mine is an ideal case of what you can achieve by going to USA. I attended the film school and became a director now.

But I am more forgiving than Chandu. I added my forgiving trait to Tyson character. We have to think beyond and look at the larger picture.

Did you fall in love during your college days?
No. I never approached any girls. I am very bad at girls

If you look at the film closely, you shown four boys and four girls joining the college and then falling in love by pairing off. Don’t they have anything else than looking for a partner in opposite sex and dating?

To know the answer of this question, wait till next week…………

Other Post Mortems:
Godavari by Sekhar Kammula
Bommarillu by Bhaskar
Chatrapati by SS Rajamouli
Anukokunda Oka Roju by Chandra Sekhar Yeleti
Manmadhuru by Vijaya Bhaskar
Santosham by Dasarath
Jayam by Teja.

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