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Chitchat with Sumanth
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Hero Sumanth met the press at his office in Annapurna Studios for a casual chitchat. He expressed his happiness over Mahanandi film. He also spoke about his future release Godavari. Here are the excerpts of the chitchat -

12th December 2005

What is your reaction of the openings Mahanandi film got?
From the budget point of view, Mahanandi is the biggest film in my career. Mahanandi got released with 170 prints, hence generated the biggest openings of my career. I am reasonably satisfied with the success Mahanandi got. There is positive buzz for the film. Buyers and distributors are happy with Mahanandi.

What about excessive action part in the film?
There are five big action sequences involving me in the film. Initially I felt that there is no need for so many action episodes. At the same time, I do not understand the psychology and sensibilities of B and C centers. Director convinced me and I went with director's judgment. Though there are many action sequences in this film, there is no bloodshed or gory in this film. For me, Gowri film has got more mass orientation. Shankar character in Mahanandi speaks very less. I liked the way director molded my character. There is honesty in it.

Your character has less portion in the first half?
When Samudra narrated the story to me, it was me, the girl and the girl's brother. I opined that there is no strong villain in the film. Without great opposition, the hero's character becomes weak. That is the reason why Srihari's character becomes negative to the hero in the second half. My character was underplayed in the first half to accommodate more to Srihari.

You got credit for the success of your earlier films. Now you have to share it with Srihari?
The credit of the success of Mahanandi goes to Srihari, Anushka and me. These three characters play very important role. I don't mind sharing success with them. If Srihari's character were not elevated in the film, Mahanandi film would not have been good.

Did Samudra deliver the final product the way he narrated at the script level?
Yes. He could justify 80% of it. And 80% of delivery guarantees minimum guarantee. There are certain scenes he improvised better than we imagined. (ex: my confrontation scene with villain).

You did class film like Satyam and mass films like Gowri and Mahanandi. What kind of image you want to have?
I don't want to get trapped into the maze of image. I should like the script first. If I like a script, I would act in that film irrespective of it's genre - class, mass, family, love etc. At the same time I expect my fans to be prepared for different types of films from me.

We heard that the budget was overshot. Are you happy with the producers of Mahanandi?
It was Samudra who set up the project. I was not aware who the producers were when I okayed the story. Because they were from Karnataka, there were some procedural problems during the shooting of the film. The budget went over the limit. I am reasonably happy with the producers. At the same time, I want to clear the name of director Samudra for the wastage happened during the production of the film.

What are the scenes you liked in Mahanandi?

1. The romantic scenes in which the girl changes stone-hearted guy into a romantic one.
2. The separation scene between me and Srihari.
3. Me giving warning to the villain
4. Sacrificing love for heroine toward climax.

What about the music by Kamalakar?
Audio of Mahanandi is the best audio in my career. Kamalakar should be given the entire credit. I was impressed by the rerecording done by Kamalakar for Pranam and okayed him for this film.

You seem to have good on-screen chemistry with Anushka?
Anushka is the tallest heroine I have ever worked with. Generally I need to spread my legs or heroine needs to stand on a stool when we have combination scenes. But for this film we had perfect heights. In fact, I had to request her to remove high heels for a few scenes.

Are you expecting any Nandi awards for Mahanandi?
I feel that rewards are more crucial for films than awards. The Telugu film industry is in precarious situation with success rate less than 10%. I am happy that Mahanandi is among those 10% of the films released this year.

Are you satisfied with the position you are in as hero?
I am never satisfied with my films or with my work. I feel that you stop progressing the moment you are satisfied.

Do you think you need to improve as an actor?
I have become very comfortable in front of camera now. My judgment has improved tremendously. I never analyze myself as an actor.

What do you think we lack in Telugu film industry?
In Bollywood, they complete a movie in one and half month with proper planning. We take around 150 days to make a Telugu film. For example, it took the same cost to make both Dhoom and Super. And compare the market a Bollywood film has compared to a Telugu film? Our planning should be good and we should go to floors with a bound script.

Tell us about your next film Godavari?
I am playing the character of Sreeram in that film. The entire film takes place in a launch trip between Rajahmundry and Bhadrachalam. It is practically difficult to shoot in Godavari. I have given lots of sunrise call sheets (scenes to be shot during sunrise). Sekhar Kammula had a bound script ready before the start of the shoot. It is written in both Telugu and English. He follows exactly what is written in it without any deviation. I call that script as bible for our film.

What went wrong with Dhana 51?
I jumped into that film at the last moment of pre-production process. I was not involved at the script level. Surya Kiran was the only basis of reason for me to accept Dhana 51. I think the story's focus got lost in the second half. I too share credit for failure of Dhana 51.

What are you future films?
Godavari in the direction of Sekhar Kammula would be releasing very soon. Next project would be on Annapurna banner. In the past two years, I had been giving two films a year. I would like to continue that trend.

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