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Interview with Suman Pathuri
Date: February 25, 2010, Hyderabad
suman pathuri

American educated youngster Suman Pathuri is one of the very few youngest director prospects of Telugu cinema. He is making his debut as director with Inkosari movie which is all set to release on 26 February. Being a protégé of Deva Katta (Vennela fame), he could join the list of American educated successful directors Sekhar Kammula, Krish and Deva Katta. Here is exclusive interview with Suman Pathuri -

I was born in India, Raised in the US. Since a young age I was fascinated with movies a lot, I think right when I was about 10 or 11 yrs old I have decided that I have to do something in movies. The fixation grew on me as I grew up, Thanks to my High-school (Cupertino High, Cupertino,CA) with the resources they have provided during my high school years and especially with the help of our Creative Arts Head, Mrs.Linda Reynolds, my fixation turned into passion. During the last semester of high school my dad asked what do you want to after high school as it is time to apply for colleges, I said i want to get into movies as an editor/director, I was expecting a 'NO', but i guess as we call it a twist in the movies he agreed to put me through film school with out any hesitation. I should really be thankful to my parents for never stopping from what I really wanted to do. So I have joined Art Academy for BFA in Film, towards the end of my 1st year I met Raj Nidamouru and Krishna DK (Recently made their Bollywood debut '99') who at the point were about to release their NRI English film 'Flavors', I had a very little stint in that movie before the release.

An year after that they put me through Deva Katta ( MY GURU!!!!) who was making his debut with the movie Vennela. Vennela was a turning point for me as I have learned a lot with the freedom that was given by Deva Katta, he never said no to what I was doing vennela, he got me involved in all the departments of making a movie which has really thought me a lot and matured me as a filmmaker. I should also be thankfully to the producers of vennela who have encouraged me during and after Ravi Vallabhaneni, Sachi Pinagapani, Chalapathi Mannuru. After vennela one fine day me and deva were sitting chatting up and suddenly he said "Suman I think you are ready to get onto your own feet and make a film on your own", With out a second thought I decided that my next move would be making my movie of own, after passing a very big hurdle finally with Inkosari my dream become a reality! So this my journey into the Industry, there weren't that many struggles that lot of people face in the industry thanks to family and some very good friends but a lot of hard work was involved at every single stage. There are two more people who I should thank who played a key role in my journey, Madan Bellam - Only because of him i met Raj Nidamouru and Krishna DK and Sirivennela Garu who was a big influence in my journey.

How did Inkosari happen?
So after I have decided to make a film on my own I have started to work on my own script, while that was happening our family friend Ravi Pendakanti got to know about what I was doing said that he would be interested in producing a movie with me. With him on board couple of other investors came on board to take the forward project, it was supposed to be done with new comers, after almost an 1yr of various issues the movie started on in November 2007 and got stalled after 3 days for various reasons. It was a very depressing face in life as my dream got shattered right in front of me, while I was going through this phase, happened to meet Raj Nidamouru and Krishna DK, after hearing what has happened with my movie, they have decided to help me out by giving their script that they were supposed to direct in Telugu i.e. Inkosari, with their names behind I was sure to get producers easily. But being in Hyderabad it didn't happened as everyone was questioning and pointing towards my previous project got stalled. That's when I have decided to go back to US and never be back.

Luckily couple of days after landing back home I met Kalyan Palla, he has been a very good friend of mine from almost my high school days. Since then I knew that he had a passion to make a good film as a producer always jokingly used to say that the first movie he will produce would be with me. As fate would have it actually turned out be true. As soon as he heard the story he was ready to produce it, with him taking on the project we needed another investor. Again any investor we used to approach they used to point out my previous project outcome, at the time wanted to take chance and approached Ravi Pendakanti. To my surprise he was very willing to be a part of this project even after having a sour experience in the previous once. It was really big step he has taken one more time just because he believed in me. He become the co-producer of the film. With Kalyan and Ravi Pendekanti on board things started to roll on. A big Thanks to you Raj and DK as I always say if I were to write a story and Screenplay like 'Inkosari' I would never give it to anybody, thanks for the trusting me in giving something so valuable.

Tell us about Inkosari story and how you arrived at casting
Inkosari is about you,me and everyone we know! The story revolves around six best friends from college who meet after 7yrs to relive their old college days. Their lives would have changed so much in those 7 yrs that the question they have before going for their reunion is "Would we sill be the best friends like how we were 7yrs back?", Do they? To find out the answer watch - Inkosari. The story also deals with personal stories of these six people where everyone of you who would watch the movie would easily be connected to at least one of the stories. Coming to casting

1. Ajay Played by Raja, I was very skeptical to approach Raja even though I had a good working chemistry with from Vennela. The reason I was skeptical because I wasn't sure If i would be able to handle him. But had no choice expect him as he was the perfect choice to play Ajay. From the day he heard the story and till today he has made me very comfortable and never showed any air on the sets. He was an immense support to me,the movie and played his character at utmost ease, made it look as if he really is 'Ajay' in the real life.

2. Sruti Played by Manjari Phadnis, Honestly speaking she wasn't my choice for the character as I happened to watch a movie of hers where I had a not so good impression on her. But kalyan was very strong to cast her after watching the movie Jane tu ya na Jane, this was the only thing he was insisting so much at the point that I had to obliged to him. After a week into the shoot I realized that I was wrong kalyan was right and manjari was the best choice I could get for Sruti. Manjari is an wonderful actress with a lot of dedication, even though she troubled a bit on the sets (sorry manjari!!!!) she never let it affect her work or the shoot. Manjari is Sruti, Sruti is Manjari.

3. Bala Bokkala Played by 'Vennela' Kishore, The original name of the character was just Bala but I always found Kishore's last name a bit funny 'Bokkala' so I asked if i can add Bokkla to Bala to make it 'Bala Bokkala' as it sounded funny, he was nice to let me do it with out any issue,hmm I think i should thank his parents too for that :-) ! Kishore as all of you know him as Vennela kishore for the famous role 'Khadar'. Kishore and me had a great bond since vennela days. We were the best of the friends at the time and always used to pull out a lot of pranks on the sets of vennela which would make the environment a lot funnier that it was. He is an awsome artiste with a terrific comic timing. After the release of Inkosari he would be come one of the busiset comidean no doubt. He single-handedly took the whole comedy aspect of the movie on his shoulders and made it reach good heights. If Inkosari would have came out before Vennela he would have been called 'Bala Bokkala'. He even went Semi-Bald for the movie, yes he really DID!

4. Deepa played by Richa Pallod, Who would forget her from Nuvve Kavali, she was my dream girl from the day I have watched Nuvve Kavali. When we were looking to cast Deepa I was stubborn to get RIcha as I knew that she would be the perfect choice for to play the role. I was not sure if she would agree to do the role as their is a bit of a risk involved in it for her to play the role. But she was brave enough to take that risk and play it. She proved right by playing deepa as natural as she can and she looks very beautiful on screen, you will be surprised that she still looks so good. She again is a very natural actress.

5. Sudhakar Reddy played by Ravi Varma, One of my favorite artists again from Vennela, he came out to the screen with a negitve shade charector in Vennela,Syeed, and continued to play roles with negitve shade. That will change from this movie. It is a big change over for him in terms of the character and also looks. You will see a new and fresh Ravi Varma. He always complained to me during the shoot that I never explained to him what he should do as Sudhkar Reddy as I always asked him to be himself. As i knew that HE himself is the character Sudhakar Reddy, he just didn't belive it but I did since i was able to bully him around he lisen to me and gave me what I wanted. Today whoever watched the movie have a lot of Praises for Ravi Varma. Hopefully after watching the movie he will belive that he is Sudhakar Reddy! Sudhakar Reddy is one my favorite characters in the film.

6. Vicky played by Saandip, Saandip is known to many people as a singer also the hero of the movie 'Premayanamaha'. It took us a long time to find the perfect Vicky as it is a very crucial character in the film so we didn't want to hurry up and make the wrong choice. Finally when i saw Saandip I knew that he was Vicky. Lot of people thew in a lot of Negative thoughts in taking him as one of the leads but I was sure to make all those people shut their thoughts and I belive that I did. Saandip did his role upto to the tee.

these are 6 main charectors of the movie, There other key roles played by Gollapudi Maruthi Rao Garu, Rao Ramesh,Saira Bhanu, Bharat,Sayali Bhagat and others. A new comer Harish K, did am awesome job with in the time he had, he is one talent to watch out for.

What are the difficulties u faced as a first timer
Thanks to my 3-days stint of my previous project as a director, the whole unit setup wasn't alien to me. I was confident from day one especially, because all the artistes. I was pretty good till 5th day of the shoot, not sure what happened I was a complete disastrous that day, It almost that we were ready to pack up the shoot. At the time Raja stepped in to help me out, because of his help we were able to get through the day. That day I almost felt like a failure, then Raja came to me and said 'Even the big of the directors have a bad days, don't worry just chill' his words put a lot of positive spirit in me. Other thing I was worried about Kalyan thought he would yell at me but he just turned the situation of the whole day in a funny way which made me very comfortable. After that Day I never had another issue because of me in the shoot, It was a complete breeze through. I was able to pull of the movie with the amazing support from my proudcer Kalyan Palla his positive attitude towards everything made me kept me Going, the entire cast who were all elder to me so they treated me like a kid yet gave me what was needed for the film,

Even though Ravi Pendekanti wasn't there physical on the sets he was always making sure that I do a good job through is positive words. My Camera man Raganath Babu was an asset, All of My direction department - Rayudu, Chakri, Shankar ,Rajeev, Sushanth, Kiran, Prasanth and Bobby were a big support for me through out the making even though some of them were more experienced than me they never had an ego to work under me. Our Line Producer Vijay L Played an important role to make me feel as comfortable to as possible. Even our managers Ramesh garu and Shiva always made my days very easy. Because of all these people I never had to face that many difficulties on the set.

What will work for Inkosari
What works? The audience should answer this one, but I believe Everything we have to offer in the movie will work I guess (I hope) ! The movie is very natural,very clean and has a story that can everyone of the viewer would be able to relate to. There is humor,tasteful music,friendship,'feel', and love. As our caption goes Inkosari - Fully Loaded with fun and Friendship, we stuck to it 100%. The movie is very matured story everybody can relate to it, the women would be able to relate to the movie very much.

What are your future projects?
Thanks to the Trust Raja has in me we are working together again with him for the first time being a Producer. It will be a complete changeover from Inkosari for me and for Raja also.

Another thing I would like to mention is that has also indirectly played a big role in my journey to the industry, As it always kept me updated on the happenings of the Telugu Film Industry through which I learn't a lot about the Industry. There were days where I used to wonder when will my interview appear on IDLEBRAIN.COM!

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