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Interview with Seenu Vytla
Date: 17 October 2011, Hyderabad

Seenu Vytla who has been growing in stature film by film has reached the peak with his latest movie Dookudu. Dookudu is on the way to break all the records. has met Seenu Vytla for an exclusive interview in his office. Here are the excepts -

How did Dookudu project happen?
This proposal came during the period of Namo Venkatesa shoot. Manjula approached me for this project and she gave an advance. I was doing Namo venkatesa in 14 Reels banner and I felt extremely comfortable with the producers (Ram, Gopichand and Anil). I introduced them to Mahesh Babu and he gave a go-ahead. Gopi Mohan narrated a story line and the script work started in the month of May 2010. We went to Mahabaleswar and completed 80% of the script work. It was a love story with action backdrop. It had shades of Venky film and it too had a train episode as well. It suddenly occurred to me that Mahesh Babu is a hero who has the capacity to deliver a industry hit with his talent and the following. I decided that I should go for a script that works universally across all the genres and age-groups. I have decided to drop that story.

I got hold of a 10-minute sory line and narrated it to Gopi Mohan and he felt it’s intensity. He has started work on that line. The format (take off, interval and climax) of the story got set by the end of June 2010. Since it is a multi-layered script, we had to take 6 months to come up with the screenplay. We have started the shoot in the month of November 2010 and shot the Turkey episodes.

What did you think has worked for the movie?
The novelty in the story premise is the main reason. Mahesh Babu has donned a role with several shades (son, cop, MLA, film director and land broker). There is sentiment, romance, action and comedy. The entire film is entertaining till the last frame. The screenplay technique is good. Son making father take revenge without knowing about it. And the reality show concept. The climax takes off in an highly entertaining way where Brahmanandam appeals to Nagarjuna and the entire climax is very well crafted.

You have used the names of several celebrities? Did you inform them in advance?
We have used the names of several celebrities like legend NTR, Akkineni Nagarjuna and RGV. Since, we have used their names with good will, we have not informed anybody. However, I messaged RGV about using his photograph.

Mahesh Babu looked very different in MLA get-up?
Mahesh Babu has never done a MLA get-up in the past. I have modeled the characterization and get-up after Srihari and replicated Mahesh Babu in it with Telangana dialect.

How did you get the idea of MS Narayana’s showreel?
I do get many showreels from the aspiring actors everyday. Though they are sincere about their efforts and intentions, most of them are comically bad. I had made MS Narayana do a photo shoot in Sontham movie and a hero role in Dubai Seenu. This character is just an extension. His role clicked more because it becomes an integral part of the story without realising it.

What do you think are the drawbacks of Dookudu?
I am completely satisfied with Dookudu. There has been a feedback about the length of the movie. It is not possible to make a 2 and half hour movie with such a multi-layered story featuring a multi-dimensional characterization for a hero.

Doing a film with Mahesh Babu is not an easy talk because he has delivered an industry hit Pokiri in the past. You being the director known for entertainment, the expectations were huge. Were you tensed during the shoot of Dookudu?

I knew about all the expectations and it was like a challenge to me. But I have a strong feeling that whenever I start a project confidently (without any doubts) I got succeeded. Let me explain what happened for my past two films. Ready film was released on 20 June 2008 and the release date for King was fixed on December 2008. King was a profitable venture, but would have been a bigger hit if I had taken more time on it. Regarding Namo Venkatesa, I wasn’t convinced about the climax. But I had to go with that climax. Namo Venkatesa was a safe project. That is when I realized that I should start shooting for a film after I am completely confident about script. We took ample time on the script of Dookudu and it paid off. In the future also, I will start the shoot only after I am 100% convinced and completely confident.

Do you go to the sets with a bound-script?
I make sure that script is solid before we enter the sets. I feel that there is always room for the improvement. Hence I keep working on the script for the betterment till the last day of the shoot.

What is the reason behind you sharing credits of story (Gopi Mohan) and dialogues (Kona Venkat) which used to be given as single cards for your past movies?
I feel that Dookudu writing (story and dialogues) is the product of team work with good contribution from my side. The basic story line (10 minutes line) is by me.

What compliments did you get for Dookudu?
This is the first time I have personally received tremendous compliments. Venky doesn't speak much with others. He called me after watching the film and spoke with me for 20 minutes. Dasari said that I gave the blockbuster at the right time when Telugu film industry desperately needed it. K Raghavendra Rao has asked me to go to B/C centers and see the crowds reaction, which I did recently. RGV gave a big tweet about the movie. Puri messaged me that people have forgotten Pokiri after watching Dookudu.

What is unique you find in Mahesh Babu?
Mahesh is an universal hero with unmatched following. He can do any kind of role and excel in it. If a Mahesh’s film is flop, the credit should go to the director. If the director uses Mahesh properly, you will get industry hits like Pokiri and Dookudu.

What is your next project?
There is tremendous buzz for Dookudu in Bollywood. I feel that Salman Khan will be the right choice for the remake of Dookudu. But his dates are not available immediately. If Salman Khan gives me dates in the next few months, I am willing to direct the Hindi version. Otherwise, I will go ahead with my next Telugu project. My next film will feature NTR as hero. This film will be produced by Ganesh Babu. I want complete a film each with Ram Charan Tej, Prabhas and Allu Arjun. I haven’t worked with them so far. I will do another movie with the same producers (14 Reels) with Mahesh Babu as hero in the future.

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