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Chitchat with Seenu Vytla

April 22, 2007

Seenu Vytla’s earlier films proved that he is exceptionally good at comedy. But Dhee film got him recognition in screenplay department too. Seenu Vytla has gone through many difficult times during the making of Dhee and is a happy man now with Dhee setting the cash registers ringing. met him at his residence to get an exclusive interview. Here are the excerpts -

What went wrong with Andarivadu?
Directing a Chiranjeevi film has always been my lifetime ambition and I just jumped at the offer when I got a chance to direct Andarivadu. Story and treatment was already fixed by the time I joined the project. I tried my maximum to do betterment to already existing script. But there was some unknown problem in that script which I could not figure out even today. I always do well when I prepare the story myself. I hope to do another film with Chiranjeevi with my own script.

How did Dhee happen?
I was impressed with Vishnu’s ability after watching his debut film Vishnu. At that time itself I decided to make a film with Vishnu as hero. During Andarivadu time I met Vishnu to narrate a script. I prepared an action script for him. But after interacting with him, I found that he is very lively and spontaneous. I wanted to bring forward that aspect of Vishnu which was never exposed in his earlier films. I was searching for an entertainment oriented script and I accidentally found one such story by Kona Venkat. We took that story and did the necessary improvements with the help of Gopi Mohan.

Mallidi Satyanarayana Reddy came forward to produce this film. We started the film and completed 38 days of shoot. That is when producer has faced financial problems. The shooting was stalled. My earlier film Andarivadu is a flop. My next film is stalled. I could not afford to be in that position. I was confident of the script. And it was a do or die situation for me. I invested all my savings in Dhee film and produced the Dhee film. I just wanted to see it released as I was confident that movie would automatically become a hit if its released. And it paid off.

How did you manage to produce Dhee. Was it not very expensive?
I had no other option left. I made the film in a simple way. After producing Dhee, I realized that my films are always done on small budget. I use real locations and do not go for sets. I shot Dhee for 91 days. The only major expense for the film was Srihari’s house for which I paid 25k per day as rent as it is located in Banjara Hills. By producing Dhee I realized finer aspects of production.

The comedy scenes in all your films are highlights. How do you conceive them?
We meet different people in different situations in our daily life. I have the unique ability to see at seemingly routine task and extract a comical side of it. For example, I had a 45 minute train episode in Venky film. All the scenes I wrote in that episodes are derived from my experiences of doing long journeys in trains. The Brahmanandam’s characterization of Chari in Dhee film is based on a guy I saw in a movie production unit who always feel tensed about the mistakes that are being done by his colleagues. I see comedy in all the people. And it helps me in conceiving comedy episodes in my films.

Why did you title this film as Dhee?
Let me be honest with you. I wanted good openings for my film and a mass title like Dhee helps it. Dhee is also single lettered variety title.

The song picturization seem to be done in hurry for the two songs shot in Malaysia?
That is true. We have trusted a location agent (a Telugu guy) in Malaysia and booked the tickets for six days. Only after landing in Malaysia, we realized that we landed up in the wrong season of monsoon. That Telugu agent knowingly duped us for his business. We stayed there for nine days and shot two songs in a span of just 16 hours. It was such a horrible experience.

What are your favorite scenes in Dhee?
Baloon scene, identification parade and comedy during party night.

What are the scenes you think should have been done better?
I did not have enough finances. Otherwise I would have done the interval fight and climax fight on a grand scale.

What is the Box office outcome of Dhee?
It is in super hit position as of now. In Nizam, it collected a share of 1 crore in the first week. It got released in 29 theaters in the first week and is running in 19 theaters in second week. The distributor is planning to increase the number next week. It is doing extremely well in all A centers. It is slowly catching up in B and C centers. The trade pundits are expecting this film to go to a huge range.

What is the progress of your next film Dubai Seenu?
The shooting of the film is complete except for the climax. Audio will release in the first week of May. Film will release in May itself. Dubai Seenu has a thin storyline with variety screenplay. It will be an entertaining film from the first frame to the last frame with a twist in the middle.

You introduced Ravi Teja as hero with Neekosam. You delivered a blockbuster Venky with him and your next film Dubai Seenu sports Ravi Teja? What kind of difference you find in him now?
I knew Ravi Teja from the day I landed up in Telugu film industry. Since he grew up in North India, I used to like that North touch in him. He used to tell dialogues of Amitab Bachchan and imitate his performances. I opined that he has a terrific actor in him. The role in Nee Kosam film was a serious one with no entertainment. I have not seen any difference in his personal side, but he matured himself as a terrific actor. He trusts me and he does not ask any questions while working in my films. His trust in me made me more responsible while directing his films.

Do you get an idea about film’s box office fate while making a film?
Yes. I always delivered successes when I am given freedom. I got abundant freedom for films like Anandam, Venky and Dhee. I always got a hit film when I directed the film on my terms. During the filmmaking itself I realized that the other films would be difficult at box office. I got complete freedom for my next film Dubai Seenu and I am sure of its success.

Tell us about your next project?
It will be a new line which will be made on huge scale. It will be a love story with action and entertainment. More details of this film will be announced in 2-3 days.

Do you want to direct any hero in particular?
I always wanted to direct Chiranjeevi and it was fulfilled with Andarivadu. Now onwards, I will only stick to scripts and select the hero as per the script’s demand.

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