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Chitchat with Sekhar Kammula on Godavari
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May 16, 2006

Sekhar Kammula’s Godavari is all set to release on 19th of May. He gave his first interview about Godavari to in December 2005. catches up with him again to get more information on Godavari -

What is Godavari film all about?

Godavari links
Overseas schedules

Godavari film is about a journey that each individual take. Kamalinee Mukherjee character wants to be individualistic. She got some problems and uses this journey as a getaway. Sumanth’s character is an idealistic one. He wants to serve selflessly to the people around him and to the society, which is not being liked by everybody. His takes this journey to getaway from frustration. There is a character of a small boy (Chinna) who lost everything in life. And there is a small dog with him. There is also another pair (Kamal Kamaraju & Neetu Chandra) that participates in journey. Godavari journey is all about how these individual people learnt to know more about themselves through this journey. This film has the beautiful backdrop of Godavari.

There are rumors floating around that Godavari is inspired by Bapu – ANR classic Andala Ramudu. Is it true?
This film is definitely not inspired by Andala Ramudu. The story is entirely different. But the backdrop is the same. Both the films have the backdrop of Godavari river. The medium is same.

You said that you have a dog in this film. Did you face any PETA problems?
No. We did the entire dog part in computer graphics. This anti animal usage in films is the most ridiculous law. If you see the films that are coming now, all these films are so violent. The censor board does not have any problems if there is excessive violence in films where men are slaughtered ruthlessly, but they will have problems if we show trained animals in a decent manner. I want to fight against PETA regulations in film censoring.

Are you giving any message to the crowds with Godavari?
Films can influence thought process in kids. Films by Bapu affected my thought process when i was a kid. There is nothing to be inspired of and nothing to be learned of Telugu films that are releasing these days. Certain films dictated the paths of audiences in the past. Godavari film will be remembered by the crowds for a long time.

Godavari was supposed to be released in December 2005. Now it is May 2006. Why is there so much delay?
I learnt a lot from Godavari. All our budget and time estimates went haywire once we started shooting at Godavari river. Each day was a learning process. We can’t plan and shoot a film like Godavari. Instead of spending money on sets, we decided to make a technically strong film. When we saw the final copy forgot all the delay that happened.

When you made Anand, people watched that film with no expectations. But for Godavari, the audiences have lots of expectations. Are you tensed about it?
I always have tension about commercial aspects of my films. The comparison is bound to happen between Anand and Godavari. But I always work on absolute terms. I don’t go by what I have done in the past. Each and every project is different. I don’t have any career agenda. I want to make films that will be remembered for decades. I will always make good films on absolute terms.

What did you learn from Anand as a technician?
The first version of Anand came to around 3 hour and 20 minutes. We trimmed the film by 30 minutes and the final version came to 2 hour and 50 minutes. It was a painful experience to cut 30 minutes of portion, which I made with so much of passion. At the same time each and every character progresses in the film. I can’t make my hero fall in love with heroine at the first sight. We need to develop love between these characters with proper scenes.

You got an excellent popularity for making such a sensible film like Anand. Why did not you try to cash on it?
I am very happy with the status I got with Anand. I won’t exchange this status to any director who would have made 100 crores through films. Audience accepted what I believed in.

What lessons did you learn from Godavari?
The budget and time estimates have gone wrong for Godavari. I want to do films with in limited budget in future. I want my producers to see table profit before the release of the film.

The dubbing work for Anand was different. Did you maintain that texture for Godavari too?
Except for Sumanth, Kamalinee and Tanikella Bharani all other actors are first timers. We picked up several artists from Godavari districts. We found the key character of a kid called Chinna on the roads of Rajahmundry. We made everybody dub their own voices except for heroines. Sumanth and Suneetha taken more time. Sumanth’s diction and accent is going to be very different. Dubbing artist Suneetha has taken utmost care to make sure that her dubbing for this film is no way similar to that of her work for Anand. I am sure that both Kamalinee Mukherjee and Suneetha will grab awards for their work in Godavari.

Where did you pickup Kamal Kamaraju?
He came to my audition long back. He did a small role in Chatrapati film. In the film, he is doing an IPS officer role.

What is the running time of Godavari?
Two hours and forty minutes.

How much of negative did you expose?
The exposure was around one lac and sixty thousand feet. We had to spend so much of negative because we wanted to capture the beauty of Godavari. I would say that Godavari will be a bench mark as a film. But on the production side, we went over budget.

When did you conceptualize the story of Godavari?
I had the vague idea about storyline long back. But I worked on the story only after the release of Anand film. I worked on Godavari script for six months. Unlike Anand, this film will have subplots. Anand was more like a linear film. There are no villains in Anand. But in Godavari, there are more intense grey shades in certain characters.

You were a software engineer with an ambition to make Telugu films. You made it big with Anand film. What can visitors of with the same profile who wants to become directors learn from you?
Film field looks pretty rosy when you look from outside. It is very easy to think that anybody can become directors by analyzing the Telugu films that are coming these days. But that should not be the only drive to get into the films. One needs to have 100% passion for making films. I personally feel that filmmaking is a form of art. And art comes from Goddess Saraswati Devi. I did not come to industry for money or fame. Film is a medium. I want to use this film medium to share the little things I know and enjoy. I never have regrets even if lots of producers reject my scripts. I don’t have any regrets even if my films make losses. I am answerable only to Goddess Saraswati Devi. Films are not about glamour or money. If you come to industry for that, you will end up getting corrupted. Film field also needs 200% involvement and a single-minded devotion. You can’t even spend time with your family. All that matters is passion. If you have passion, come forward and make films. You wont’ regret. Otherwise, stay away! If you want to make money, go to real estate where you are guaranteed of 100% profits.

What is the orientation of actors for Anand and Godavari films?
For both these films, everybody worked well. But during Anand time, Kamalinee and Raja did not have a clue about how great the Anand film is going to be. We worked so hard and none of them were not really confident about the result of the film. But for Godavari film, everybody worked for it like they are working for a winning film. Kamalinee learnt each and every dialogue and uttered herself while enacting all her scenes. This made things easier for dubbing artist Sunitha to do lip sync. Sumanth had shown lot of commitment.

How did Sumanth perform in this film?
Sumanth enacted a soft character His performance in this film is very natural. He is very different in this film compared to his past films.

There seem to be limited wardrobe for Godavari?
Heroine Kamalinee has a wardrobe of 100 dresses. But our costumes won’t dominate the actors.

How different is Godavari?
A film like this has not come in the last 3 decades. If Polavaram project comes up, they are going to submerge Papi Kondalu. We canned Godavari and Papi Kondalu extensively in Godavari.

Did you watch any good films these days?
I have not seen many films these days. For me Okkadu still the best commercial cinema. I don’t consider dubbed films. I was consistently asked to do the remake of Tamil film Kadhal by producer NV Prasad. I loved the Tamil version. But I feel that films like Kadhal need to be watched in original language only. I told NV Prasad that I can’t recreate the magic of Kadhal in Telugu. Then he passed on the Telugu dubbing rights to somebody else.

What are your future projects?
It depends on the commercial success of Godavari. As per the commercial market my film has, I would like to fix upon the budget. And as per the budget, I will develop the storyline. I have 3 story ideas with me at present. I made Anand so that it could be watched by the entire family. But we have not seen any of such kind of films later. I want this genre to stay.

Read exclusive interview of Sekhar Kammula during Anand making .

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