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Interview with Chandra Sekhar Yeleti
Date: March 6, 2007, Hyderabad
Chandra Sekhar Yeleti

Chandra Sekhar Yeleti’s latest film Okkadunnadu with Gopichand as hero started off with fabulous openings. caught up with Chandu at Prasad Labs for an exclusive interview about Okkadunnadu. Here are his candid views and opinions about Okkadunnadu -

What is the genesis of story for this film?
The storyline just struck me and when I told producer Cherry about the basic plot, he suggested me to view the DVD ‘Extreme Measures’ to make sure that it is not similar. I am taking the unfamiliar concept of blood groups as the conflict point between villain and hero; hence I have taken the oft-repeated and routine backdrop of bank scams for hero’s flashback episode. With hero and villain roles being very serious, I wanted to add some fun side to the story; hence I designed heroine character to have some lighter side. The battery backs for rare blood group patients are available in small packs, but we kept a big suitcase for dramatic effect.

I had Gopichand, Nassar and Rahul Dev in my mind while writing the script. I struggled to find villain and heroine as we wanted to have a villain in the age group of 50-60 and heroine with a peculiar body language and not too feminine in looks. Our options were limited, nevertheless we got Mahesh Manjrekar and Neha Julka and they fit the bill.

Nassar acted with one big eye and one small eye?
Yes. By doing so it adds to the villainy.

Did you give any special instructions to Gopichand for this role?
I asked him to watch the DVDs of Tom Hanks and observe him. Gopichand is a very good artist with lot of flexibility.

Is there a Rajamouli’s hand in designing fights for this film?
No. If you find Rajamouli’s style, it might be just an inspiration. Hero has life and death problem and he has to desperately fight his way out. That’s the reason why fights are so violent, yet believable. Vijayan, Ram Lakshman and Alan Ameen have done fabulous work.

Don’t you think there is void in Okkadunnadu due to lack of contribution from Gangaraju in the writing department?
It is a tricky question. Yes. I would have had more creative discussions with him. He would have suggested me better scenes.

The major complaint about the film is that it lacks entertainment. What is your take on it?
We deliberately avoided having entertainment/humor in the film because it might dilute the seriousness of the subject. There is a bit of humor in first half and I thought that it would be sufficient. But the feedback says otherwise.

By making the character of Gopichand invincible, you have diluted the drama and the conflict?
In a commercial film, the hero has to be invincible. He starts defeating villain right from the first fight. I have also shown some sequences where hero runs away from villain gang in this film.

People are commenting that music of the film is not up to the standard of Keeravani. What do you say?
I feel that Okkadunnadu music is appealing. I personally liked Adugadugu and I Say Enjoy songs. The masses are liking ‘Obbo Veedento’ song.

As a director what do you think are positive and negative aspects of the film?
Setting up of the plot is good. Ending (climax) should have been done in a better way. Direction is the weakest point of this film. I added commercial elements to my kind of creativity.

What is the feedback you are getting about this film?
I got appreciation from film industry a lot for the film Anukokunda Oka Roju but not many phone calls from the public. I did not get any appreciation from film industry for Okkadunnadu, but getting good response from the public and they seem to be liking it. I did not make this film for critical acclaim. I wanted producer to make money.

What is your next project?
I will get back to my own style for the next venture. It will start soon.

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