May 28, 2007
It is no secret that YVS Chowdary, one of the very few fine directors of Tollywood is a hardcore fan of legend NTR. A president of NTR fans association in Gudiwada in his college days; it is his passion and adulation towards NTR that drove him in to the Telugu film industry. Idlebrain.com catches up with YVS Chowdary for an exclusive interview about his experiences as a fan, on the occasion of the 85th birth anniversary of the great legendary actor N T Rama Rao.
Who do you think is the real fan?
I used to enjoy being a fan and I admire all fans irrespective of the hero. In many instances, fans give more importance to their favorite hero than their parents. The genuine fans patiently wait at the theaters till the DCR (daily collection report) is completed after second show. Though not all heroes are of equal caliber, everybody has their own admirers. Some heroes perform well in certain departments and few others master certain histrionics. Few heroes are superior. These hardcore admirers of the matinee idols do not ignore their heroes thought the hero is having a bad phase, even while other heroes are doing well. They are the real fans. They continue to extend the same kind of support to the brothers and sons of the hero if they enter in to the film world. I am a fan and respect all these genuine fans of all heroes.
What kind of differences do you notice in fans commitments compared to college days and present?
There are quite a few comments these days that the fans have become more commercial. But I don't believe in that. Abhimanam is perennial. It is a gift to be a star and it is a greater gift to be a fan.
Do fans play a crucial role in the success of films?
After stepping in to the film industry, I realized that fans can't make the movie run. Instead, the celebrities should think about what they are giving in return to their fan community for their selfless adulation. The celebrities should be more committed in their work and make sure that they rejoice their fans with successful films. The relationship between fans and celebrities has always been a give and take. Fans give their unconditional love and celebrities enjoy it.
NTR is always number one. Did you ever had any unpleasant memories as NTR fan?
My idol NTR was always the number one in all areas since my childhood. Only ANR-Dasari's Premabhishekam film disappointed us. We were all waiting to see when the film would be off screen from the Bhaskar Talkies of Gudiwada. We absolutely had nothing against ANR or Dasari. But our only concern was Premabhishekam was breaking records and people were watching it again and again. We used to however sportingly comment that 'Premabhisham Gudiwadaloni Bhaskar Talkies lo Aadaledu. Maa Gundello Aadindi.'.
However, fortunately NTR's Kondaveeti Simham released in the first week of October broke the records of Premabhishekam that was released in February, same year. Kondaveeti Simham crossed the 100 days collections of Premabhisham in just 40 days. That was when I told my friends 'Okka Adugu Venukaku Veste, 100 adugulu munduku vese vamsam maadi'. That is how NTR used to create records. I kept the same dialogue in Lahiri Lahiri Lahirilo film.
Did you face any tough times as the president of his fans association?
Though Kondaveeti Simham was such a bit hit, the theater management decided to take it out on 72nd day. I was the town president. The fans cut the seats of the theater and damaged it a bit during the second show of 72nd day. The theater owner told us that he will screen the songs of the film again. Without our knowledge, he also lodged a complaint at police station against all NTR fans. But police did not come to us as there was a bandh on the following day. The theater owner booked a case on us and most of us had to go underground. I was normally attending college as I did not indulge in any of theater damage.
How you used to celebrate the movie releases?
It was like a festival to us. For Kondaveeti Simham release, we went to Kaleswara Rao market in Vijayawada to buy special flowers (banthi poolu) and celebrated by showering flowers on the screen during the morning show of Kondaveeti Simham in Gudiwada.
How was the rivalry between NTR and Krishna fans?
Though we were all friends at personal levels, fans of NTR and Krishna used to have lot of professional rivalry. During the release of Vayyari Bhamalu Vagalamari Bhartalu (both NTR and Krishna acted in this film), we wanted to make sure that NTR cutout gets more decorated with flowers compared to that of Krishna's cutout. We chalked out a plan. We arranged flowers to NTR cutout and made sure that Krisna fans had more flowers on Krishna cutout. After waiting for an hour, we brought the real massive flowers and outsmarted the decoration of Krishna cutout in a big way.
What was the memorable moment as a kid?
Nartana Saala was the most watched movie by me when I was a kid. When I asked my mother for money, she gave me a sattu rupai and I was unaware of it. Those days there used to be a magnet in collection boxes at all ticket counters to check whether the coin is a real or fake. I went home back after knowing that it is fake coin, pestered my mother for one rupee to watch Nartana Saala. She lent money from our neighbors and gave me.
How did you manage money for watching movies?
It was Anne Venkateswara Rao and my brother Samba Siva Rao who used to sponsor for most of my movies.
How did you manage money for celebrating movie releases?
We also used to have a ledger book, where we had contributions from the fans that were collected in advance systematically so that we can have around 400 rupees by the time NTR's latest film gets released.
Do fans used to indulge in physical fights?
None of us fans fought in physical way though we indulged in serious arguments many a time. On personal level all of us are friends. There used to be four fans groups of NTR, ANR, Krishna and Sobhan Babu when I was in Gudiwada.
Describe your typical visit to Vijayawada to watch NTR films?
We (I and my friend) used to peddle on bicycles for 45 kilometers to watch NTR films - Gajadonga for matinee, Sardar Papa Rayudu for the first show and Akali Rajyam for second show. While coming back we used to ogle at Kondaveeti Simham designs displayed in Bejawada railway station (without buying platform ticket). And on the way back, we used to stop our cycle at a place and used to sleep for an hour while my friend guards the cycle. We used to exchange the shifts till morning.
What is your parents reaction?
It is common for all parents to discourage their sons who turn into fans. They think that it affects our studies and careers for being fans. But I took it in a positive spirit and made a career out of my adulation for NTR by becoming a director. All my family members are happy. My only regret is that my father was not there to see me becoming a director.
Most of the people look at the fans in derogatory way. Did you experience it?
I did not experience it as long as I was an integral part of it. But I realized about it after going to Chennai to learn about film direction. I never regret being a fan as I came to this far by being a fan.
How did you hone your skills to be a director?
I used to watch same film from all classes (nela, bench, chair and balcony). The same film used to appear different when I watch it from different classes and points of view.
Do you have any latest developments?
And the happy news is that I have bought Gopala Krishna theater recently in Gudiwada. I feel it like a achievement from a fan point of view. I want to name it as Bommarillu A/C DTS. I will launch this theater with my latest film Okka Magadu.
Can you summerize the effect of NTR on his fans?
It was a thrilling experience to be a fan and to be the under the spell cast by NTR. There are nine planets in the universe. But for NTR fans, there is an NTR planet that changes the destinies of all his fans. I came to this position just because I am a fan of him.
RK (Hyderabad Nawabs)
Dr. Haranath Policherla
Dil Raju 2
Mahesh Babu 3
Sekhar Kammula 2
KM Radha Krishnan
D Rama Naidu
Allari Ravi Babu
KS Rama Rao 2
Mohan Babu 2
KV Ramana IAS
Devi Sri Prasad
AM Ratnam 2
Ram Gopal Varma 3
Mahesh Babu 2
Mohan Babu 1
KS Rama Rao 1
AS Ravi Kumar
Ram Gopal Varma 2
Ram Gopal Varma