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Interview with Cherry
Date: August 4, 2007, Hyderabad

Cherry who made his debut as a producer with Okkadunnadu is now jointly producing NTR - Rajamouli combination film Yamadonga along with Urmila Gangaraju. met Cherry at Prasad Labs where the rerecording of Yamadonga is taking place. Here are the excerpts of Cherry's interview about Yamadonga -

Tell us about how Yamadonga project happened?
In response to our offer to direcr a film for us, Rajamouli called me and Urmila Gangaraju one day and said that he would be directing a film for us on his banner Viswamitra creations. He wanted us to be the producers of his first venture on Viswamitra banner. He established this banner to make his own films and also to encourage new talent. We were worried initially because it is very difficult to come up with a storyline that justifies the hype created because it is coming from a combination that delivered record-breaking Simhadri.

Rajamouli then went on a holiday and returned with the subject of a socio-fantasy. The main thread is similar to that of Yamagola - hero going to hell and returning to the earth. But he added lot of different aspects to it. The treatment is going to be completely different.

We would like to thank Rajamouli for making us the producers of this film. He observed our passion for movies and ambition to produce big ventures and offered this film to us.

Yamadonga is touted as the costliest film ever made in Andhra Pradesh. What cost it so much?

1. Yamalokam set: The Yamalokam set for this film is erected in the biggest studio floor in Asia situated in Ramoji Film City. The biggest set in RFC was erected for Vaaji song in Sivaji and it occupied only 60% of the floor. The Yamalokam set occupied 100% of the floor. It took around 2 months and 300 simultaneous workers to erect the set. It also took the same amount of time to dismantle it. We used 15 generators at a time to light up the floor. It took 4 days to set the lighting to that floor. I would like to give the entire credit to the art director Anand Sai and the art department of RFC.

2. Other sets: Except for one song, all other songs are shot in indoor or outdoor sets. These sets are also designed in grand style.

3. Remunerations: This film sports actors like NTR and Mohan Babu. There are seven heroines (Priyamani, Mamata Mohandas, Navaneet Kaur, Preethi Jingyani, Archana, Rambha and Khushboo) in this film. The other character artists are of top standards. Rajamouli is one of the top most directors in Telugu film industry. It costs a lot to get quality casting.

4. The making: Yamadonga is one of the costliest Telugu film ever done. The production of this film was taken up on massive scale.

Tell us about the camera work?
Senthil Kumar used the best available equipment to shoot this film. Since Yamalokam set demanded a great amount of lighting, we procured almost all available lighting equipment from Hyderabad movie infrastructure providers. We had to borrow some of the lighting equipment from Chennai too.

What is the response of the music?
Yamadonga is unarguably the biggest music album from the combination of NTR-Rajamouli-Keeravani. It is the biggest audio hit in the career of NTR. Generally music lovers like a few songs in any album. But Yamadonga album got unanimous appreciation for all songs including Yamalokam bit songs. Valli (Vel Records) has done a fabulous job of distributing the album to the remotest areas of AP. The recording quality of Cds and cassettes is also excellent. The special booklet given inside album is a big hit. I have seen parents buying multiple copies of audio because each kid wants to have one for himself.

What about rerecording?
Keeravani started the work on 2 July and will complete it on 7 August. It is taking over a month. Keeravani is immensely enjoying rerecording as it is a challenging task to work for a socio-fantasy. Rerecording will be highlight of the film.

Tell us about graphics in this film?
Graphics work plays a very vital role because it is a socio fantasy. We employed various e-fx companies. Adel Edeli - a renowned 3D animator from Iran - did the 3-D work for the exterior of Yamalokam. EFX studio did the major work (around 90%) of the graphics part. They have been working on the film from April to August. Rajamouli did online editing and made sure that graphics work is done simultaneously along with the shooting.

Tell us about working with Mohan Babu?
We had a terrific experience working with a senior actor like Mohan Babu. We heard a lot of things about him earlier that he is a short-tempered man. But we realized that he is a very cool person to work with. He is very punctual on sets and is extremely professional. He has no short temper and threw no tantrums. He is a very nice person.

There is lot of buzz about NTR dances in this film?
NTR's new look helped him a lot. His dances are amazing. There are only few heroes like in Telugu film industry who can perform superb dances. He will become number one dancer in Telugu film industry with his steps in Nachore song. Only dance master could do such kinds of steps. NTR does not need any rehearsals for dances. But for the steps in Nachore, he had to undergo a few rehearsals. The steps are so complicated and unique. His weight reduction also helped him a big time.

What about the rumors that Prabhas did the role of Viswamitra in Yamadonga?
It is partly true. Prabhas did the role of Viswamitra. But not for Yamadonga film. When Rajamouli wanted to design the logo of Viswamitra Creations, he needed a model for Viswamitra photo. He requested Prabhas as his physique is very good. Prabhas obliged for a photo shoot. The designer cut the physique of Prabhas and inserted in the logo of Viswamitra creations.

How many days did it take to shoot?
We started the shooting on 2 January and completed it by the end of July. It took us 148 working days spread over a span of seven months. We exposed around 2 lakhs feet of negative. This is very less compared to the theme of socio-fantasy and the making standards. We shot most of the film indoors by erecting massive sets in Ramoji Film City, Annapurna studios and Rama Naidu studios (Nanakram Guda).

When is Yamadonga is going to be censored?
It will be done on 8 August.

How many prints it is releasing with?
We are planning for 350+ prints released all over the globe on 15 August.

What is the final outcome of your debut film Okkadunnadu?
It is a satisfactory film for me financially. The distributors also broke even. The film started off in a great style, but collections dropped after a few weeks. It was the biggest grosser for Gopichand at that time. It was a brave attempt to make such flicks and I got great kick doing that project.

What are your future projects?
I have 3 projects lined up. I will announce the details once these are confirmed.

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