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Interview with Praveen Sattaru
Date: 22 November 2012, Hyderabad
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Praveen Sattaru had a horrifying experience as a producer to make his debut directorial film LBW see the light. It was technically released, but didn’t play in many theaters. Multiplexes of Hyderabad denied allotting screens to LBW. But this film was critically acclaimed. His second film Routine Love Story is getting a good release and is releasing over 100 theaters in Nizam and got 2 daily shows in each of the multiplexes. In a candid interview, Praveen Sattaru tells about RLS and his experience in directing films -


What is the experience derived out of your debut film LBW?
I had succeeded as a director and failed as a producer. It was a big task for me to handle both of the vital departments. I couldn’t identify the right distributor and couldn’t get the publicity right. LBW was a rude awakening as a producer for me. I couldn’t manage shows in multiplexes despite LBW being a multiplex film. I have also done a mistake by making LBW available on youtube for viewing barring India and USA a couple of days after the release. Somebody pirated a HD version of the movie from youtube and kept it available for all regions. The bad thing is that I lost money and the good thing is that the piracy helped my movie getting maximum views. It took LBW to the the people.

What happened after LBW?
I went to USA to wrap up my job and returned India. I was working for IBM and wanted to transfer my job from USA to India. It takes a lot of time to find a producer. I finished the first half of the RLS (Routine Love Story) script during the post-production of LBW at Deli 9, Banjara Hills and completed the second half at a friend’s apartment in New Jersey.

During the postproduction of LBW, my crew has stopped cooperating with me as they didn’t have confidence about my skills. And most of them treated me like a cash cow (a NRI who is doing a film because he has a lot of money). There was a lot of negativity in the people around me. It was a frustrating period and the script of RLS was born out of frustration.

LBW was a romantic drama and I wanted to try my hand at romantic comedy. That is when I thought about and 2 and half minute dialogue by a main lead. That dialogue became the foundation for the RLS film. You will come across that dialogue in the first 15 minutes of the film.

Why did you title this film as a Routine Love Story?
RLS is a love story with a new point of view like Arya. Just to create a curiosity, I titled a new PoV (point of view) film as ‘Routine Love Story’.

What is RLS about?
RLS is about relationships. Generally boy/girl only tend to show their positive side to the opposite sex. Most of the girl/boy doesn’t realise the true nature of the opposite till they get married. If you look most of the films in Telugu, the film culminates when the parents give their go-ahead. These days parents are giving liberty to their kids and trusting the judgment of their kids. But do these girls/boys know so much about each other that they happily live with each other for the rest of their lives? I tried to explore that point in Routine Love Story. There is an organic and steroid-based grown in our personalities. The organic growth happens slowly and it’s about the mindset. The inorganic growth is about lifestyle and money. In our life, we might spend an average time of 3 hours everyday with our girlfriend/boyfriend. The others doesn’t know how we behave in the rest of 21 hours. I told this point of view in a simple and plain way by injecting humor throughout.

What do you think will work for RLS?
Performances, screenplay, runtime (2 hours) and dialogues.

Tell us about the financials?
The budget of the film was 2.5 crores (till the first copy). I have spent around 1.1 crores for the promotion and publicity. We have sold theatrical rights for all areas weeks before release and made a table profit. Nobody believed in me before LBW and now I found lucrative buyers for RLS. We have shot the film in 35 working days.

You didn’t have a multiplex release for LBW?
Yes. I was not offered even a single show for LBW. I am happy that RLS is getting 2 shows in each of the multiplexes in Hyderabad.

What kind of films do you like?
I like films of all genre as long as they make sense. The first script I conceived was an actor thriller. The first script I wrote was a period film. The first film I directed was a romantic drama.

Do you have any film school education or film crew experience?
No. I didn’t attend film school and never held a movie camera before directing LBW. I made LBW because I had confidence that I can pull it off as a director. I was a timid kid till my engineering 3rd year. My seniors made me a scapegoat in my 6th semester. That is when I decided that I shouldn’t be put down by others. With confidence and fighting spirit I started clearing my exams and backlogs. I completed my engineering and realized that getting a job was tough. Hence took GRE/TOEFL to study masters in USA. Luckily I have got visa and flew to USA. I joined a sick company that was paying an average amount. I was looking for a change and finished SAP course in 3 months. My manager cautioned me by saying ‘Don't take any wooden nickels’. After three months of leaving his organization, I took my manager to dinner in a BMW. Over a period of time, I started feeling monotony in my job and decided that I should take my work to the next level. I had loads of interest in films right from a childhood and I used to do lot of paintings. I have decided to make films and prepared the script of LBW. My work at IBM taught me about managing things. It’s all about choosing the right right people and managing them. It’s about people management. I didn’t know the basics about directing. I started pretending like a director and directed LBW. I learnt the ropes while directing LBW. Now I am comfortable with direction. Whenever I want to write, I close my eyes and try to visualize the scene I was going to write.

What are your future projects?
I have a few bound scripts ready and a few scripts in making. Will decide after the commercail result of RLS.


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