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Chitchat with Puri Jagan
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Puri Jagan is the most prolific film director, writer and producer in Telugu film industry. He is known for making commercial hits in limited budget. His latest film Pokiri is due for release in the month of April. met with Puri Jagannadh at his posh office located in Jubilee Hills on the night of 22nd March for a brief chitchat on Pokiri. Here are the excerpts -

March 23, 2006

Pokiri links
Overseas schedules

How did the Pokiri project materialize?
I wanted to make a film with Mahesh Babu three years back and I narrated him a couple of storylines. He did not like them. I narrated Pokiri story to Mahesh last year and he immensely liked it.

What is Pokiri film all about?
Pokiri film is a love story set against the backdrop of Hyderabad land mafia.

You have introduced a new genre of characterization with Ravi Teja’s character in Idiot film. Through you did films with other heroes, you followed that typical characterization. Mahesh Babu is known for his subtle performance. What kind of characterization Pokiri will offer?
I followed the same way of characterization in Pokiri too, but in more intense way. You will see a new Mahesh Babu in Pokiri. You can multiply Idiot characterization by three times to get Pokiri characterization. I like characters with strong mentality and a rugged attitude. I maintain that kind of characterization in all my films. I don’t like to have weak minded guys and cry babies as hero characters in my films.

What is the basis for selecting Ileana as heroine?
We liked her after looking at Devadas film stills. She plays the role of an aerobic teacher in Pokiri. We needed a girl with teen looks. She performed really well in Pokiri.

What is the role of Prakash Raj?
He has land mafia and his character too is entertaining.

Tell us about the character of Mahesh in this film?
Mahesh plays the character of Pandugaadu. He is a mafia man who would do anything for money.

You opted for Mani Sharma instead of your regular music director Chakri? Was it a preference of Mahesh Babu?
Yes. Mahesh Babu wanted Mani Sharma for Pokiri.

Irrespective of Box Office fate, all your movies offer good music. What goes into music selection in your films?
I am basically interested in music. I collected lots of music Cds. It was my ambition to become DJ. When I was struggling to make a career in film direction, I wanted to go into the line of disc jockey if things do not go well in future. Even in my home theater (it is called as Puri Jagannadh Touring Talkies in the trendy office of Puri Jagan) there is a console where I practice DJing regularly. I have a huge collection of music Cds. Since I am such a music lover, I can judge which music people would love to listen to. And all my music directors have been doing fabulous job by giving me what I want.

Tell us about Pokiri music?
Music of Pokiri is going to be peppy. There are six songs in this film. These tunes are neither love tunes nor massy tunes. All the songs in this film are in stylized format.

One song is hero introduction song. There is another song where hero sings while following heroine. There are two duet songs. There is a remix song of ‘Galagala parutunna guava song from Superstar Krishna’s Gowri. We used the same tune with modernized instruments, but changed the lyrics.

The publicity material of the film is very stylish. And the title Pokiri is a typical mass masala title. How do you match these two things on screen?
I like doing commercial films with realistic approach. I can’t make gaudy or loud films. Though I am doing a mass film I make sure that it is executed in a stylized format.

Did Mahesh take any precautions to play Pokiri character?
He has grown his hair a lot. His costumes are new. He shed his weight by 5 kgs. He used the same pair of shoes in the entire film.

You worked with many heroes. How different is Mahesh Babu compared to them?
Mahesh is different. The following points justify my statement

1. Mahesh keeps tremendous amount of faith in director.
2. On the location, he maintains the same mood of the character in that scene even if there is gap between shots.
3. Mahesh’s friends do not visit sets. He won’t call anybody to sets.
4. Even if there is a gap of 15 days, he prefers staying at home than going out.

What is the number of working days for Pokiri?

What is the texture of Pokiri?
It is basically a mass entertainer. Every character entertains in this film. Mahesh Babu will also do lot of comedy. Even in serious scene, there will be entertainment (like Pawan Kalyan and Prakash Raj confrontation scene in Badri). There is fun throughout the film.

You always write sensational comedy scenes in Ali in your films. What will Ali do in Pokiri?
Ali got fantastic roles in my films. After watching Idiot, Ram Gopal Varma called me and commended me about Ali’s character saying that he too got fooled while watching the film. We previewed Super film in Mumbai and everybody laughed whenever Ali made an appearance though they did not know Telugu. After watching Super, Nagarjuna said that Ali is also a hero in that film. Ali is doing the role of beggar in Pokiri. He will be having combination scenes with Brahmanandam and Venu Madhav.

Tell us about the business details of Pokiri?
We have closed business in Nizam (Dil Raju), Ceded (Mallikharjuna) Overseas (Great India Films) and other states. MAA TV grabbed the satellite rights.

Most of the film directors miss logics and sensibilities in their films in order to get commercial success. Do you have any plans to make a meaningful cinema in the future where the film is very realistic and perfect in terms of logic?
I always wanted to make meaningful and mature films. But I design films in such a way that they are liked by general movie going crowds. Personally, I want to do films with good stories. I want to make films without songs. But I can’t do them because of commercial constraints. I am planning one such film without songs in this year with Srikanth as hero. The duration of this film is going to be around 1 and half hours. I love doing sensible films.

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