Pawan Kalyan plays Rambabu, a mechanic who reacts to news in his own way. Every time he comes across a news article about injustice he goes to the area and the house where it has happened to set things right. One night he tries to stop a fight between students who hail from two different castes. He asks them the reason behind why they are fighting and the media suddenly becomes interested in what he has to say. Elsewhere, the leader of the opposition party is angry that Rambabu has spoiled his scheme to ignite a furore in the state. Ganga (Tamannaah) is a daredevil reporter who believes she’s no less than a man when it comes to doing her job. She convinces Rambabu to join her news channel and they embark on a long journey which brings Rambabu face to face with Rana Naidu (Prakash Raj). Rana Naidu is the son of head of the opposition party and he wants to dethrone the current Chief Minister by hook or crook. The tussle between Rambabu and Rana Naidu forms a major part of the conflict in the film before it leads to an explosive climax.
I believe that making political dramas, especially in Telugu, is like treading a double edged sword. You can never stay faithful to the actual story and the director’s penchant to ‘entertain’ the audience does more harm than good to the film. For instance, take that scene where a honest reporter is killed in the beginning of the film. Rambabu and Ganga find out about his death and immediately Rambabu heads to the guest house where Rana is staying and drags him to the police station. Two minutes later, the action cuts to the romance between Rambabu and Ganga and five minutes later, they are back in the newsroom where Rana Naidu’s father, played by Kota Srinivasa Rao, threatens Rambabu and gang of dire consequences. Out of the blue, his left hand is paralyzed and going by how the contours of his face change, one would tend to believe that he has lost his ability to talk as well. But no, he recovers miraculosly, although with the left hand still dangling to give an impression that he’s paralyzed for the rest of his life. This lack of continuity of emotional integrity in the film is perhaps one of the major issues I had with the film. Nothing really takes off to get you hooked on to the proceedings on the screen and even if they do, the emotion crashes almost instantly.
Rambabu’s characterization is interesting in the beginning. He doesn’t give a damn about what would happen to him, but why is everyone in the film including the media, minister and chief minister so overwhelmed in his presence? Is it the classic case of a star’s image overpowering the character he’s playing? Right when Rambabu joins the newschannel, he tells his boss that he wouldn’t think twice before slapping someone if he feels that they are not doing the right thing. And his boss agrees to all his conditions. It’s implied that this is necessary to keep Rambabu with the channel. It’s never clear why Rambabu pursues only Rana Naidu. Initially, he’s portrayed as someone who can’t take injustice in the society. What stops him from doing that even after he turns a reporter? After all, one would expect him to question the society and therefore the current government led by an honest chief minister. But no. He embarks on a single point agenda that he has to stop Rana Naidu from becoming the next chief minister. Yes, Rana Naidu is a bad guy in the story, but in the larger scheme of things, he’s just a miniscule part. So why does Rambabu not utilize his seemingly overwhelming influence in the media and society? If it was the intention of Puri Jagannadh, the director of the film, to project Pawan Kalyan as a common man who rose to wield unimaginable power in the state, chasing one person feels like he has done gross injustice to the opportunity which this story provides. As surprising as it may sound, the story of this film makes sense if one were to see it from Rana Naidu’s point of view. But even he feels overwhelmed in the presence of Rambabu.
The conversations between Rambabu and Ganga are quite entertaining, although it’s extremely to find traces of romance. This film is a big improvement in terms of how Tamannaah has been choosing her characters. She does have her space and a tomboy who yearns for Rambabu’s love, she’s quite good in her role. Yes, she’s loud at times and some of the scenes, like that catfight between Tamannaah and Gabriela Bertante, were rather unnecessary, but then, this is the kind of film where the director chooses to mix action, drama, romance, comedy when he should have concentrated more on the political drama.
The film’s third act, right from the moment Rambabu finds himself in the hospital, picks up and finally, we see where the story and Rambabu’s life is heading. If only, the rest of the film was as gripping and intense as this part, this would have been a truly overwhelming experience. I really liked the speech which he delivers in the end where he appeals to each and every person in the state to stand by him as he takes on Rana Naidu. This brings me back the my dilemma – Can a film be termed as good if you liked only the climax which leaves a big smile on your face? Or is the experience a result of the sum of what you felt throughout the film? I haven’t found an answer to that question yet.]]>
My first impression of Hanu Raghavapudi’s Andhala Rakshasi starring Lavanya, Naveen and Rahul hasn’t changed yet. I was hoping that it would stand out as a lotus in a pond called Telugu cinema, but it didn’t. I found it tough to fall instantly in love with the film and like many people, I thought the film was too long and boring. No matter how hard I try, my perception doesn’t seem to change. However, as I ponder about why the film doesn’t live up to its promise, I have come to the conclusion that it’s quite abstract and takes time to understand the subtleties throughout the film. It’s not an instantly likable film, but I believe there’s a lot more to this film than what most of us think. Some films are tough to sit through but extremely interesting to analyze. Sometimes, it’s also important to understand what a film tries to convey instead of what and how we perceive. Andhala Rakshasi is exactly that kind of film.
Andhala Rakshasi is set in 1991, which signifies the age of innocence, much before globalisation changed our lives forever. People led a simpler life back then and that’s vital to this story. No one talks about money, future and it’s the simple things of life which bring them joy and tears. The film revolves around three characters – Midhuna, Surya and Gautham. Not surprisingly it’s a triangular love story but it’s constructed in a way that the central character in the film Midhuna never interacts with both the guys at the same time. In a way, it’s the characterization of these three principal characters which drives the story forward. Thematically, Andhala Rakshasi is an extremely poignant love story. The boundary which each character has is so clearly defined that it can’t be coincidence and that is a mark of a brilliantly written script. Midhuna is an embodiment of the earth. Her anger, love are always on her face and she doesn’t hesitate to show them on others. Surya is like the sun who’s extremely vibrant and always happy. Gautham is like the moon who’s calm and never reveals what he truly feels. This is why the film was touted to be a love story between the sun, earth and moon.
How can you analyze or dissect a film without understanding the nature of these three characters? One of the reasons why the first half seems so boring to sit through is because we can’t understand the pain which Midhuna goes through. As a result, Gautham’s endeavours to make her empathize with him seem futile. All we know is she was in love with a guy named Surya, who may very well be dead. No matter how hard Gautham tries to tell how much he loves her in his own ways, she doesn’t accept him whole heartedly. Why should she? She hardly knows him and except for the fact that he has helped her recover from a fatal accident, there’s nothing about him which even comes closer to the effervescence which Surya had. After days of pondering about Surya and her willingness to move on after hearing that Surya might be dead, Midhuna finally decides to reciprocate to Gautham’s proposal to marry him. But is she in love with him? We don’t know. When the film shifts to the second half, everything seems so vibrant and pleasant. Surya’s entry into Midhuna’s life peps up the pace of the film and there’s happiness all around. Unlike Gautham who hardly confesses his love for Midhuna and keeps his true feelings for her within his heart, Surya makes it clear that he has so much love for her that the world isn’t enough to contain his love for her. No wonder Midhuna falls in love with him after a point. There’s a brilliant scene where a blind man tells Midhuna that you don’t need eyes to see love. That incident moves Midhuna to the core and she understands the love which Surya has for her.
Most part of the first half is shot in Munnar. There’s a lot of rain and fog which reflects the ubiquitous gloom shrouding the relationship which Midhuna and Gautham share. I was quite impressed with the way rain is depicted in this part of the story. Every time Gautham tries to speak out what’s in his heart, you can see the rain which signifies the outpour of emotions. There’s even a frame in one of the scenes where Gautham sits in a distance and the camera focuses on the raindrops falling on the lake. And the song Manasu Palike is filled with plenty of such motifs. In complete contrast to this setting, the track between Midhuna and Surya is shot in the sun. There’s hardly any rain or clouds. The fact that Surya is so forthright in expressing his feelings for Midhuna makes all the more sense considering this visualization. Cinematography by Murali is stunning for a film which is so abstract and thematically splendid.
The film’s climax has caught a lot of people off-guard. Could there have been an alternative version to conclude the story on a happier note? Perhaps, yes. But then it’s a film which is so clearly defined by the choices one makes that sacrifice sounds like the ultimate testimony to love. The only difference is that none of us saw that coming and the term ‘shocking’, which is so loosely used these days to describe such incidents in a film, is a result of decisions taken by people who are fundamentally emotional. Why didn’t Gautham’s father consider the consequences of his decision to kill Surya? Why does Gautham decide to sacrifice his life when he comes to know about his father’s scheme? Why does Midhuna regret the loss of Gautham more than being happy about her reunion with Surya? If you have observed carefully, you would have noticed that there’s a reflection of the moon on Gautham’s car just before he make the choice of sacrificing his life. It’s a lunar eclipse. Things were bound to be doomed.
Films are often the only means of escaping the reality of our treacherous lives. However, Hanu Raghavapudi transports us to a world of his imagination filled with people who are so real that you begin to question the very foundation of the film. Perhaps, it’s a crime to digress from the conventional style of filmmaking which is designed to make people laugh, clap or cry every 10 minutes. Thanks to the kinds of films made these days, our attention span has reduced drastically and we cannot fathom or rather should I say, we don’t have the patience to sit back and think about a film long after watching it. After all, it’s so easy to tear a film apart if your dose of mental masturbation, or as we sugar coat it and call entertainment, isn’t fulfilled. Isn’t it?
Another silver lining of this film was its music and background score by Radhan. It’s a mighty impressive debut and I am curious to see what he does next. The music score reflects the mood of the film quite clearly and the lyrics are very well written. Among the lead actors, Lavanya (Midhuna) stands out, thanks to a brilliantly written role. It’s so easy to fall in love with what she does in the film. A challenging role to pull off and Lavanya does it with panache. Naveen (Surya) is another impressive find and he does complete justice to his role. Rahul (Gautham) does what’s expected of him and it’s not his fault that his part of the film is so boring. In most films, the conflict is established quite soon which makes it easier for us to see the arc of the narration. However, in Andhala Rakshasi this is far more subtle. It’s like peeling layers of emotions before we find out what actually had happened and by then it’s too late. This is one of the reasons why the first half doesn’t make much sense, despite being thematically fantastic, till we understand the love which Midhuna and Surya had for each other. By then, perhaps it’s too late to keep the audience from losing interest in the film.
We must not forget that almost everyone in the film is a newcomer – right from the director to the actors and technicians. Most ‘entertainers’ go scot-free from criticism because you don’t expect them to tickle your grey cells. When it comes to films like Andhala Rakshasi, sadly it’s this weight of being logical, intellectual and intriguing which is often overwhelming. Maybe, the rules of criticism which apply to several other films need to be altered while writing about such films. I am guilty for setting the bar too high for a film like this and expecting it to surpass my expectations was a tad too much to ask for. I may not have liked the film, but I gotta appreciate Hanu Raghavapudi’s conviction and ingenuity in narrating a story he had envisioned. I don’t know if he thought about whether the audience will like the film or not, but it’s a complex film filled with interesting characters that stripping them of their innocence and making them more contemporary would have killed its soul. Yes, it’s disappointing that the film doesn’t turn out to be what you hoped it might be, but then I can’t really crib about anything because this film is different from what I perceived it to be.
Could this film be any different if the track between Midhuna and Surya was showed first? Maybe. Could this film be any different if it wasn’t so abstract? Maybe. Could this film be any different if it adhered to the standard template of Telugu cinema? Maybe. But then, it wouldn’t have been a film which Hanu would have wanted to make. That wouldn’t have given me a chance to discuss about a film in such detail.
I am still not sure whether I like this film, but I can’t help but think about its structure which leaves a lot of things open for our interpretation. For now, I believe Andhala Rakshasi is a beautifully written poem which gets lost in translation. I am still trying to decode it.
P.S : All this is a figment of my imagination. Probably, none of this matters when you watch the film because unlike most other films, Andhala Rakshasi is an experience in itself and each one of you will walk out with different thoughts in mind.
(You can reach me on Twitter cheapest viagra online @crhemanth )]]>
Everyone’s talking about online piracy these days, thanks to a ‘press meet’ where the team of Eega warned NRIs that they cannot go scotfree, if they are caught pirating films. While I don’t want to take sides on this issue, the important point to note is that Andhra Pradesh Anti Video Piracy Cell (AVPC) has signed a pact with MPA (Motion Picture Association) to fight against online piracy. Apart from extending all possible support to track people who indulge in piracy, this also means that AVPC can seek the help of MPA to track down pirates in the US, if they wish to. Since every Hollywood film carries a ‘FBI Warning’, with respect to copyright protection, this pact between AVPC and MPAA has the potential to be much more powerful than what it may seem to be. However, that’s not what is the main crux of this blog. It’s great that AVPC is doing everything it can to raise awareness about online piracy and the loss incurred by Telugu film industry, the bigger question is will people sympathize with film industry so much that they’ll stop pirating films? My guess is, a big NO.
Few days ago, Kim DotCom, the founder of Mega Upload, wrote this open letter to the studios in Hollywood where he talks about how they don’t understand the possibilities of internet. He throws light on several interesting points which ironically is not what the Hollywood studios want to listen, at least not right now. If that’s the state of Hollywood studios, one can totally understand how Telugu or other regional film producers react to online piracy. Everything which might have an impact on the box office revenue including negative buzz on social media, blogs and reviews irks them. In the age of internet, where sharing opinions, however mundane and sometimes ridiculous they may sound, it’s simply impossible to clamp down a voice. It’s democracy at its best and an unstoppable force which a lot of people in film industry do not completely understand.
Online piracy of films is indeed a menace and there’s no denying that film industry is losing a lot of money. Every problem has a root cause and before we scream our lungs out about piracy, it’s also important to understand why people download films. Here are some of the responses which I got from some people on Twitter when I asked them the reasons behind why people download films illegaly.
1) Black Tickets
Everytime a big film releases, there’s a dearth of tickets no matter how many shows that film has. Reason? Almost 30-40% of the tickets are sold in black at exorbitant prices (depending on the hype surrounding the film) to people who can’t wait to watch the film. Usually, the prices are double of the actual ticket’s cost; however, sometimes it may even go up to 4-5 times the actual cost. Now, there’s a strong allegation that the theatre owners themselves encourage such activities and producer too get a certain percentage from this share. I don’t know how far that’s true, this is a big problem because people just don’t want to spend too much on watching a film, especially when they go out with their family.
2) Availability of Movies
One of the biggest concern is the availability of movies or the lack of it. In Andhra Pradesh, a big film is released in every small nook and corner of the state; however, Telugu film audience is spread across the world. In countries like USA, UK, Canada and Australia, their number is large enough to release a film and hope to earn some money. However, Telugu films are not screened in every area or region. Besides, most of the times, people in US need to travel to the nearest city where the film is being screened which adds up to the cost. People living in other foreign countries don’t even stand this chance because films just won’t release there simultaneously.
In Andhra Pradesh, tickets are priced at anything between Rs 10 – Rs 150 (some multiplexes in Hyderabad charge Rs 250 for extra luxurious seats), whereas in US, the average costs range from $12-18. That’s a lot of money considering that tickets for Hollywood films are usually priced at $7-9.
4) Allegations of plagiarism, black money
Recently, someone told me that they won’t support or even watch a film if they come to know that certain scenes or the whole story is plagiarized and also if the producer has invested black money to make the film. The bone of contention is the argument that filmmakers have no right to point fingers at people downloading films illegally when they themselves have been ripping off stories and scenes from other films.
5) Delay in the release of DVD
The only source of watching a film, if one has missed it in theatres, is to wait for the official DVD launch. Unlike Bollywood, which has begun releasing DVDs within 2 months of a film’s release, it takes anywhere between 6-12 months before Telugu film DVDs are officially released in the market. Unless a person has been desperately waiting for a high quality print, there are very less chances that he or she will wait that long to watch that film.
6) Lack of streaming, legal download options
There’s absolutely no option to stream or legally download a Telugu film, because producers here haven’t considered making their films available on iTunes, Netflix, Hulu or Youtube soon after the film’s release. Since people living in areas other than where Telugu films release have no other option, they download films illegaly.
“Some people just want to watch the whole world burn” ~ Alfred, Dark Knight
We love anything that’s free of cost and that’s the bottomline of online piracy. Will people stop downloading films, if you give them more options like streaming, pay per view or legal downloads? Maybe not. But there’s a possibility of a large chunk of people watching films legally. It’s not that people are not aware of the pros and cons of online piracy, sometimes they can’t help being part of the game. I have been told that rival fan groups abet piracy or they themselves are involved in piracy of big starrer films. Can anything be done about it, especially to sensitize them of the issue? No.
“What were you trying to prove? That deep down, everyone’s as ugly as you? You’re alone!” ~ Batman, Dark Knight
Big wigs in film industry need to understand couple of things – 1) You make films to entertain people and want them to watch everything you make. Since everything you do is for the audience, they cannot be on the other side of the fence when it comes to piracy. You cannot view them as the Joker who’s hell bent on destroying your work. Sometimes people don’t have a choice. Unless something is done about the factors which make people download films, since they have no other option, you cannot expect them to empathize with you and stop piracy. It maybe your hard earned money and life, but for the audience, it’s just 2.30 hours of entertainment. 2) You have to understand how the internet, especially social media works. Instead of cribbing about how soon information, be it bad word of mouth, reviews or even illegal content, spreads, the time has come to have a look at the immense possibilities which internet has opened up to take your film to a wider audience.
Perhaps the time has come to reconsider how films are distributed and the revenue model which the film industry has been following for the past four decades. Traditionally, film producers are dependent on the theatrical collections to recover their investment. Satellite rights and other ancilliary rights form the rest of the revenue sources. Unlike Bollywood, where some of the biggest films in recent times have got offers ranging from Rs 30-75 crores as satellite rights, Telugu films, even those which turned out to be blockbusters, are still sold at Rs 5-10 crores. I have absolutely no idea what percentage of the revenue does the producer get from audio and DVD sales. In the age of internet, where you can get a great quality print within 2-3 weeks of a film’s release, will people still buy the official DVD montha after the film’s release? Think about it.
So what are the options which film producers can consider to convince people to watch films legally? Here’s my wishlist -
1) Allow legal downloading/streaming – This is the biggest favour you can do to people living outside India, especially people who live in areas where Telugu films don’t release. In the past few months, I have come across a large number of Russians and Europeans who watch Telugu films. The point is, you never know who’s eager to watch your film. In US, online streaming has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to the popularity of Netflix and iTunes. I presume that most Telugu films don’t run for more than 2-3 weeks in US, so it’ll be great if you can make your films available on Netflix, a month after the film’s release. Yes, there’ll be a drop in the theatrical collections, but then it’s save you from this horror of cribbing about online piracy all the time.
2) Tie-Up with YouTube, Torrent Sites – No Telugu film producer has considered this option so far. Couple of years ago, Siddharth starrer Striker became the first Indian film to be released on YouTube along with its theatrical release. Today, it has got more than 2.5 million hits and since it has been made possible because of an official tie up, the percentage of revenue which the producer gets is huge. If you are thinking of expansion in foreign markets, this is a great opportunity. Last year, one of the studios in US collaborated with BitTorrent as their official distribution partner. I have no idea about how the revenue is shared between the two, but it’s a kickass idea. Torrent sites have a wider reach and by making them part of the distribution channel, you are just a click away from every home which has a computer and internet.
3) DVD – You simply cannot wait for a film to celebrate its 100 days function or maybe even wait for the biggest festival in the year to release a DVD. These days, most films fade out of theatres within 50 days and there after, revenue generated from the theatres is extremely low. It would be great if the timespan between a film’s release and it’s DVD release is reduced drastically. Also, for those who have already scene the film, there has to be an incentive to buy a DVD. Additional scenes, behind the scenes footage, director’s commentary, interviews can be part of this package.
There’s always a reason behind why people do what they do. And it’s boils down to one simple thing – “CHOICE”. It’s their choice to watch a film in a theatre or download films illegaly. It’s their choice to empathize with the film industry’s fight against piracy or go on a rampage and destroy all the efforts. There’s no way you can stop online piracy. Perhaps the best we can do is hope that people will think twice before downloading films illegaly, if they have more options to watch them legally. It’s a ‘Moral Choice’ which every individual must make. Just like people of Gotham. So, who’s going to be the film industry’s ‘Dark Knight’ to save the day?
You can reach me at @crhemanth]]>
A film like Eega is a rarity in Telugu film industry which is obsessed with the hero’s charisma to pull the crowd to the theatres. God knows how much I was praying and wishing that Eega clicks, so that other filmmakers can take a cue from the film’s success and come to terms that it’s okay to not have a hero in the film. But could a film like Eega have been what it is if it was directed by any other filmmaker? I don’t know. Ultimately, it’s an S S Rajamouli’s film and that’s where the buck stops. Full credit to him and his team for what they have achieved in this film. It’s not everyday that we end up rooting for an animated character. Such a privilege is usually reserved for films which Pixar & Dreamworks make. Not that Eega should be compared with the stuff that Hollywood churns out, but it’s hard to pick a reference which might have inspired S S Rajamouli to make Eega. In the past, we have had films where animals like snakes, dogs and sometimes even a monkey goes on to avenge its or its owner’s death; however, there’s a huge difference in how those films were visualized when compared to Eega. We live in a world where most people have no idea how much effort goes into making a film loaded with VFX. Every frame has to be visualized and then created by animators, artists, VFX supervisors before it comes alive on screen. The biggest success of this process would be to make the audience forget that there’s a lot of VFX in the film. Eega manages to do that to a good extent.
Twenty minutes into the film, the film’s principal character Eega is introduced. All of a sudden, I forgot that I thought this creature was ridiculous and I found myself wanting to know how it avenges its death in previous life. The natural progression with which the story unfolds might give the impression that it’s all a coincidence. How does the Eega land in Sudeep’s house? How does it remember where Bindu lives? It’s not a matter of logic, but a notion that Rajamouli wants us to believe that this fly is no different from a human being had he been in the same place. He doesn’t waste anytime from giving us a dope of what’s in store for us. Eega gets down to business pretty soon and starts irritating Sudeep in several ways. It would be a crime to reveal the methodology of Eega’s revenge saga; however, one must agree that it takes a lot of courage and even more imagination to conceive those situations as shown in the film. Almost every object in the room including clothes, telephone cords become props in the film. Right from a needle to a mini cannon, several objects transform into weapons for the fly.
It’s incredible how we even begin to sympathize with the fate of Eega. They are not the prettiest of insects hovering all around us and we wouldn’t mind shooing them away or killing them in reality. So why do we end up rooting for the fly in the film? I know a lot of people who can’t relate to the emotional appeal which animated characters create. But Eega is as much a love story as it’s a revenge drama. Nani and Samantha make a wonderful pair and the little moments of joy which the two share sets the tone for the film. No wonder, we end up rooting for the fly since it’s desperate to protect Bindhu from Sudeep. The interval bang in the film is another classic scene. The fly disrupts the traffic, almost dies of exhaustion, almost kills Sudeep and when the latter survives, it threatens him openly. No one would have anticipated what Rajamouli had in store for us.
Sudeep’s astounding performance deserves all the accolades one can think of. Imagine an actor doing all that using all his instincts without a reference point! There was no fly while his portions were being shot. Like always, Rajamouli enacts each and every scene and tells each and everyone what he expects them to do. This perfect co-ordination between the director’s vision and what the actor ultimately delivers must be a delight. Apart from Rajamouli’s direction, the fly and technical finesse, Sudeep was one of the biggest strengths of the film.
M M Keeravani, who has composed the music for all Rajamouli’s films so far, adds a whole new dimension to the film. The background score makes up for the lack of dialogues and some of the scenes involving Sudeep and the fly turn out to be even more exciting because of the sound effects created by Keeravani. Kotagiri Venkateshwara Rao’s editing is good, although I wish the pacing in the second half was a little better. The film’s cinematography and VFX bowled me completely. How on earth did Senthil, the cinematographer, manage to capture most of the frames in the film? I read in a recent interview that before every shot Rajamouli and Senthil would watch a rough animation of how the fly would move and with that reference, the cinematographer let his camera run wild. Again, there was no fly while he was shooting most of the portions. It takes extreme dedictaion and imagination to come up with camera angles shown in the film. In one particular scene, the fly is sucked into the car’s engine and it manages to escape the blades and other obstacles before coming out through the a/c deck. It’s all VFX, yet doesn’t distract your attention. All the hard work which the team at Makuta VFX have put in for the past couple of years has resulted in a film which not only challenges your imagination but also leaves you with a stunned expression.
S S Rajamouli has done us a great favour by making this film. Everytime I watch a film, I wish there were things which I didn’t understand especially in terms of how a particular scene was shot or how it was conceived. Afterall what’s the fun or say magic of cinema, if you could guess everything which you are about to see! What struck me the most after watching the film was that I felt a lot less retarded, unlike most other weekends of torture. The curiosity to know how the film was made is at its zenith right now and this is the mark of a truly great film which was a rare experience considering the kind of films made in Telugu film industry. We, the audience, are very much part of the filmmaking business and it’s the responsibility of filmmakers, who care about what we think, to push the boundaries of our imagination. And for that S S Rajamouli must be thanked, worshipped and honoured by everyone who loved Eega for making this wonderful film.
The success of Eega has opened a lot of new doors for filmmakers in Telugu. Whether someone laps up the opportunity or not is another debate altogether. I have always wondered why I hate the films I hate. It struck me that we don’t entirely submit ourselves to what the director is trying to narrate in his/her film and there’s always a race to outsmart each other and guess what’s going to happen next. In films like Eega, once you bite the bait, you are bound to be hooked on to the screen and immerse yourself in the magic of cinema. It is stuff like this which inspires young minds to think beyond what they already know or what they have already seen in either their lives or Korean, European and Hollywood films.
Some ideas drive people crazy, especially when they are planted by someone else. The concept Eega is one such idea and I am still in awe of Rajamouli’s team for making the film with so much conviction. Perhaps it really helps when you work with people who have so much faith in you. Plenty of directors believe that people only watch films for entertainment and if you make them laugh for 2 hours, your job is done. While there’s nothing wrong with that, there’s an important lesson one could learn from Eega. More than entertaining, this film has revived my faith in a chosen few who have the courage to pick up the most unusual subjects and still come out with flying colours. S S Rajamouli leads that bunch of few good men in contemporary Telugu cinema. I don’t know if he actually understands mass pulse, but any director who has the guts to follow his heart and make the kind of films he really wants has my respect. I bow to thee. Time and again, he has reiterated his stance that he wants to follow the footsteps of K V Reddy and if films like Magadheera and Eega are anything to go by, he’s on the right track. Sir, I hope you continue to believe that people are mature enough to accept films which they aren’t used to. That’s the only way Telugu cinema will progress. Right after watching Eega, there was only one thing I could think of. You are the Toruk Mokato of Telugu cinema.
P.S : It’s been three days since I watched Eega and the number of flies I have spotted in these three days is far more than what I have observed in recent few weeks. What’s even surprising is, instead of shooing away the flies on my table, I have been closely observing how they move their legs and hover around my desk to see if the finer nuances were captured in the film. I was thrilled to see the attention to detail which Rajamouli’s team has adhered to. That explains a lot about why I liked the film so much. I just can’t get the buzz out of my head and the revenge saga of the fly out of my thoughts.
Written by – Hemanth Kumar
You can find me on Twitter @ crhemanth]]>
No one cares about what the so called ‘critics’ have to say. The people, who pay anywhere between Rs 5-Rs 250 to watch a film, have their own reasons why they like or dislike a film. In most cases, their opinions will differ from what critics have to say. The tragic thing about writing about Telugu cinema is that if you can’t predict the box office result of a film, then your opinion doesn’t hold any value. The system has been built on archaic rules that a higher rating for a film should mean that the film will go on to become a blockbuster, no matter what the content of the film is. Since everyone tries to play safe, a potential blockbuster gets a rating of 3.25-3.75, not 4.5. Such ratings are reserved for films which stun you beyond belief, which happens once in 5 years or more. Last year, films like Gaganam, Sri Rama Rajyam and Rajanna had got stupendous ratings; however, that didn’t translate to box office collections. This year films like Businessman, Racha and Gabbar Singh have got ratings ranging from 2.5-3.5 (on an average), yet all three of them are some of the biggest hits of all time. You know why such things happen? A review cannot dictate or alter the box-office potential of big films. They are like an avalanche cascading down a vertical tangent of filmdom.
Film criticism is a banal exercise most of the time; however, the impeccable joy of writing about films which you loved keeps you going till you find another one. All it takes is one film to reaffirm your faith in film criticism. In the past couple of years, I loved writing about films like Khaleja, Ala Modalaindhi, Love Failure, Ishq, Panjaa, Yugaaniki Okkadu, Naa Peru Shiva, Baanam and Prasthanam. Some of those films have not done well at box office, but films like these, which tease you to look beyond the obvious and capture the soul, are few and far between. You may or may not be right, but it’s your thoughts which flow on to the paper. And that’s a big thing for any film critic. It’s not everyday when you get to explore your psyche and it gets all the more better if the subject you are writing about was compelling beyond your expectations.
Few days ago, I had written this blog, where I tried to elucidate why it’s the best time to write about Telugu cinema. What I forgot to mention is that, unlike Hindi or Tamil cinema, the days where you have the urge to smash your laptop, after watching a bad film, outnumber the days where you feel content for writing great things about a film. Yet, for someone who’s in love with cinema, it’s important the single most important thing which makes film criticism relevant – few films need a voice and you could be the one who can start things rolling. All the big guns in Telugu cinema have their legion of fans who will drive the buzz about films of their favourite stars. They don’t neccesarily need the media or film critics to support them, but it’s films which are unlikely to make huge numbers which need your voice. It’s not about outrightly supporting newcomers or off-beat films. Sometimes you know deep down in your heart which film deserves little more attention than others. As a writer, you’ll do a whole lot of good if you can identity such films which have great content and talk and write about them as much as you can.
At the end of the day, we all look for meaning in everything we do. The lives of film critics are dictated by the quality of films which release every week and trust me it’s like knocking on the doors of hell and hoping for a miracle. That’s what keeps you going. Hope. Hope that you’ll watch a film which lives up to your expectations, hope that you walk out with a big smile on your face, hope that you’ll be stunned to the extent that you would want to meet the team behind the film to understand every nuance of the film. No one cares about what you write, but if you are already in love with cinema, the only thing which should be on your mind is to unravel the mystery of why your heart beat increases when the lights go dim inside the theatre. It’s a joy which only a movie buff would understand. The only person who really cares about what you write is you. Never let yourself down and be honest about what you write. That’s the only hope we have to survive from the banality of film criticism. It doesn’t matter what others think.]]>
Not many realize that being a journalist is quite a tough job. The sheer number of articles that one ends up writing every week takes a toll on his or her writing skills, unless of course you have the knack to write consistently well like some of my favourite film critics and journalists like Baradwaj Rangan, Sudhish Kamath, Namrata Joshi and Shubhra Gupta. That explains why most articles I write seem to be superficial due to various reasons including time and space constraints. But once in a while, I believe I have surprised myself, thanks to some really interesting conversations I have had with celebrities. I have learnt the hard way that the secret of writing a good interview or a feature is you must be genuinely interested in the life and career of the person you talk to. Grilling them with what many call ‘controversial’ questions might make for an interesting read, but when they open up about what they really think and feel, once they realise that you really want to understand the job they do, the end result will be much more valuable. The other day, I was reading Baradwaj Rangan’s article where he intereviewed Gautham Menon about Ilayaraja and how the two created Yeto Vellipoyindhi Manasu’s music. That’s the kind of article which gives people goosebumps. It’s so elaborate and well written that you feel like you are sitting next to the two while they indulge in a brilliant conversation. Instances like these will be few and far between when it comes to Telugu cinema. The people whom we would love to listen to, don’t talk much.
These days, there are more number of websites and blogs than the number of actual readers. This is an exaggeration, but the point I am trying to make is, people still end up going to websites which they are familiar with. What many writers, who write about Telugu cinema, on the internet don’t acknowledge or realize is that ‘news’ is not ‘newsworthy’ anymore. It’s the age of opinions. Writing is a time consuming process and to a great extent it’s an art too. No matter where you start, there’ll be a point where you’ll find your own style and rhythm when it comes to writing opinionated articles. Start writing as much as you can if you believe that you have a voice which needs to reach out to people. The day you start believing that people don’t have the time to read what you write will be the end of the writer in you. There’ll come a day when you’ll have to cut down the size of your articles, especially if you are writing for a newspaper or a magazine, but it’s essential for bloggers and online journalists to elaborate what they want to say.
One of the primary areas which gives most of the mainstream journalists an edge over bloggers and content writers on the internet is the access to information. If you are part of the system, you have a better chance of hearing bits and pieces of vital information before it’s made public. However, the advent of Twitter has brought a paradigm shift in this area. If you have carefully observed how the gossip, snippets are written in most newspapers, it’s clear that tweets form the basis of most of them. Follow as many celebrities as you can. Of late, they are kind enough to let their legion of fans know what they have been doing and the films they are part of. If you are lucky, you might even earn their respect. You never know what that might lead to.
There’s a void up the brim right now. Unlike Chennai or Mumbai, where there are plenty of well-qualified writers who can cater to the demand, Hyderabad has a different story to tell. There’s so much that can be written, but everytime headhunters look for writers who understand the dynamics of Telugu film industry, they realize that the options are extremely limited. There’s no system to evaluate how good a writer is and it won’t change since people hardly seem to care about how an article is written. The subject that is addressed in the articles takes precedence and if the writer has praised your favourite actor or actress, readers have become magnanimous enough to overlook a lot of mistakes, including grammar. The biggest problem with online journalism today is there are very very very few websites which have actually raised the standards of reporting and film criticism. We don’t have people like Baradwaj Rangan to look upto and learn. I really doubt if most of the writers are even trying to improve their writing style.
Personally, I cringe when I read articles which twist what celebrities say or coming to a prepostorous conclusion based on the fantasies of the writer. Unfortunately, such websites seem to be thriving the most. Maybe we really need to read and write more about the process of filmmaking and the ideas which led to a film, rather than trying to pull people down for some godforsaken reason. There’s a thin line of difference between sarcasm and nastiness, between being critical and being rude. You have to choose what you want to be. Not everything should be measured in how many ‘hits’ a particular article gets. In that case, you end up just playing to the galleries which at some of time, will backfire.
It’s the perfect time to find a breakthrough, if you are planning a career in writing about films. Some of the top websites are constantly looking for writers and beginning at some level will do you a whole lot of good. Unlike most other forms of art, it’s hard to teach how to write well. It takes constant practice and hell a lot of reading to be able to write well. The first step is to stop thinking in Telugu and translating that to English. Not many understand the difference, but it’s easy to differentiate between a well written copy and something which barely translates what the writer actually wanted to say.
There’s a lot of demand for good writers both in media and film industry. If you really have the zeal to learn and express your thoughts, there’s plenty of room for everyone. Be it film reviews or features, this is probably the best time to start writing about Telugu cinema because there’s a dearth of quality writing. If you are one among them, the question is, what’s stopping you from writing? There’s a fabulous quote from Lawrence of Arabia which Mr.Dryden says, “Big Things Have Small Beginnings, Sir.” It all starts with a small idea. A blog – where you elucidate what you think and trust me, people respect that if you pour your heart out.
(P.S : I am only talking about writing in English. I am sure there are some really good writers in Telugu)]]>
As a film journalist, I have the privilege of attending several film related events like audio launches, logo launches, website launches, interviews et al. During the course of my journey so far, I have realized the fundamental truth of what makes Telugu film click at box-office. “The so called class audience are less 30% of the entire movie watching population in Andhra Pradesh. We make films mainly for the other 70% (masses) and it doesn’t matter what the critics say as long as the mass audience likes our films” is the most common statement I have heard from directors, producers and writers. What bothers me the most is the question – Who am I? Am I in the category of ‘masses’ since I enjoyed watching a film like Gabbar Singh or should I be in the ‘class audience’ category since I was overwhelmed after watching ‘Love Failure’? Some films like Arundhati, Magadheera, Dookudu and Gabbar Singh have managed to erase the boundaries between these categories, but most of the times, the distinction is quite clear.
Telugu filmmakers specialize in making masala films which enthrall us. Some of the recent blockbusters are proof enough of this trend. You don’t have to struggle too much to understand the films. ‘Just go with the flow,’ we are told. ‘We are not making intelligent films which require you to use your grey cells’ is the general philosophy which most filmmakers follow. True that. Cinema is no longer an art form, it’s ‘entertainment’. Which means, you’ll walk in to a theatre…have a good time for 2:30 hours and go back to your real world which is filled with misery. Sometimes, watching a good masala film is the only method of living someone else’s dream or life. It’s where your dreams come true.
In the process of manipulating our emotions to enthrall us, perhaps filmmakers and the audience in general are taking few things for granted. Illiteracy is one among them. You don’t have to be smart or even literate to enjoy films since it’s a visual medium. But are we banking too much on it? There are hardly any films which puzzle us, which leave a lot more questions than answers, which challenge us to unravel the mystery behind why a certain scene was shot/written in a way it was done. Everything is simplified to the basic level but what saves everyone at the end of the day is that they are entertaining. It’s been years since there has been a Telugu film which has left me dazed and confused. Watching a film merely for its entertainment value is in fact the top priority for 99% of us, but how long does it take to understand that you practically don’t care about anything after walking out of a film? For some, this would take an eternity, because they had a great time watching a film.
‘You are not supposed to take films seriously’ is another notion which is so deep rooted that it’s hard to come up with a different theory. Why? Because no matter what the story is, what really matters is whether the masses love it or not. It doesn’t matter what 30% of ‘others’ have to say as long as the masses are happy. The phenomenal success of some of the recent Telugu films has amused me to an extent where I have begun to ponder about two things – Have we really conquered the world to celebrate so much? Have we really pushed the bar high for our future generations to match up to?
The success of cinema in general shouldn’t be measured by its box office collections alone. ‘Legacy’ is a far more important thing. What are we leaving behind for the next wave of filmmakers? That’s a point worth pondering upon. We are still following the footsteps of some of the greatest filmmakers in Telugu cinema. Except for the fact that many films cross figures like Rs 40 crores, we don’t have much to celebrate. But then, who cares about this nonsense as long as we are having fun while watching a film! Well, that reduces us to ‘organ donors’. People in dire straits need them and they are willing to pay any price for it. Hence they treat the organ donors with respect and appreciate the effort we put in to do what we do.
There’s a great divide in Telugu cinema between what it is and what it can be. Yes, we make great entertainers. But does it leave a long lasting impression? Does it inspire you to narrate your own stories? Does it make you wonder why there’s a such a divide between what masses and classes like? Now…that’s something which needs to be taken seriously. Afterall, films are just for fun. You laugh, you cry, you blush and then you carry on with your godforsaken life before the next big film releases at a theatre near you.]]>
(Video courtesy : MAA TV)
What do you think of the trailer and the first look? Drop in your comments.
You were a movie PRO. How did the idea of getting into Producing start?
Me, Maruthi & Shreyas Srinivas were friends from a long time. Maruthi was working in an animation company and later did many ad-films, including the Prajarajyam TV campaign. He wanted to become a director and developed a script, which he narrated to us. Upon hearing it we got excited and thought why not well all produce it? And we floated a banner called “Good Cinema Group”. Till then me and Shreyas Srinivas were in the movie-marketing profession. With Ee Rozullo, we decided to enter production.
So it all started with Maruthi, his story and his idea of becoming a director. We’re lucky that he was our friend. I think for all three of us, the right thing happened at the right time. That’s how we took off.
Small budget films have a success rate of 5%. How did Ee Rozullo get it right?
Not its budget, not its marketing – but its content. All those things come later. Film goers are not bothered how much the movie cost or if its Producers made money – they’re only interested if its nice. Our movie had something that appeals to them hence it clicked.
That’s understood – content is King. But how did you get your content right?
How we’re different from other small films is that instead of trying to appeal to everyone and impressing none, we chose our target audience – youth. We dint project this as a family entertainer, mass-masala film or dilute the story by inserting such elements. We picked only one theme and stuck only to that. Most small films in trying to impress everybody, insert a lot of other elements and end up diluting their film. Maruthi did not do that, which I think is the biggest reason for its success.
How did you go about slicing the budget to a fraction without compromising on quality?
The biggest cost for Telugu films these days is remunerations. For big-budget films nearly 50-60% goes in remunerations towards top stars, star directors, heroines and name brand technicians. Even the production is lavish as a star’s film needs 6 songs, huge sets, backdancers, fighters, foreign locations. We chose a simple, honest story which purely relies on storytelling and devoid of all these trappings. There itself our budget was reduced to a fraction. For all of us, this film was a break – so none of us got remuneration. Infact, we put in our personal money as investors and worked towards the film. Our skill & talent were the only thing we had to offer. The only expenses we incurred was purely towards production. All the actors too newbies. Except Reshma, the heroine none of the actors got paid as all of them were on the lookout for a break. Once the movie released and was a success, we paid them as a token of gratitude. So technically the cast & crew fee for the film was zero, where as its in tens of crores for big budget films.
I came to your set. I was shocked seeing only 20 people. Even TV serials don’t operate that lean these days.
I’ve worked and attended so many shootings of big-budget films. There is so much of wastage and lack of efficiency. A big film nearly has 150-200 people on set everyday, who have to be paid, whose transport has to be arranged & food to be served. For example, a big hero comes with 3 additional staff like hair, make up & boy. Heroines get along a lot of staff too, and senior character actors too get their own staff. Then the direction department has upto 10 people, also camera crew upto 10, on-location drivers, electricians, set workers. I am not telling these are completely waste – but the way in which big budget films are made, these are essential. For a big film anywhere Rs2-4 lakh is spent purely on production – like location rent, outdoor unit, food and wages. Our film cannot afford this. Hence, we kept our crew size to a minimum.
But small budget films have 40-50 people unit members. How could you make it twenty.
There is a lot of work duplication, we eliminated that. Usually big films each big actor gets their own makeup artists. But, we had a unit makeup man, who did the makeup for all artists. Food was arranged from outside, instead of maintaining a canteen. Usually for big films – direction department is given one car, production another, set crew another, some times cars for outstation artists too. But we just had one car was used to pick up & drop all cast and crew. We asked the Actors to get their personal clothes as costumes. On an average, our crew size was about 20 people including all the assistant director, camera unit, production people and actors. Also 35MM cameras need a lot of camera assistants, we dint need that many. Big films have a 5-6 people in the direction department and another 5-6 people in production. We trimmed that by assigning more responsibility for each person.
In big films work-load is so much that people specialize a lot. For ex : One production manager’s role is only travel arrangement & food, another takes care of location rentals and police & municipal permits (incase of shooting in public places). But, in a film like ours we cant specialize – but generalize. So, one person has to take on multiple roles.
Nice. Now, how did you get that rich look? The locations seemed nice.
The credit goes totally goes to our cinematographer Prabhakar Reddy. Despite, using minimal equipment – he ensured a rich look for the film. One thing that sets apart a big film from a small one immediately is the cinematography, but we focused on getting the look right. From the production side too we did a few things to get good locations. We tied up with noted real estate company Manjeera as promotional partners for the film and gave them in-film branding. In return they let us use their upcoming apartment without location fee. We saved a lot on that. Nishita Engineering college too was one of our sponsors, who gave their college premesis in exchange for promotion. So, we did all these little things, which seem like small amounts – but when tallied saves a huge chunk as films are not shot for 1-2 days, but 55 days in our case.
What’s this fuss on doing digital. Why not 35MM?
When we were starting the movie, we consulted Ram Gopal Verma. I am his personal publicist for AP. He gave us some insights on how to use a Canon 5D camera, which he did for Dongala Mutha. I thank him profusely for that. He was our inspiration.
RGV eliminated lights totally for his film and shot only using natural light. Their story was such. But, we had to use lights. Our cinematographer Prabhakar Reddy actually designed, lights that are battery operated (see photos). These are made out of LED, a lower cost alternative to the expensive most movies use. It was really smart thinking and out-of-the-box thinking on his part.
With battery operated lights, you don’t need much power. So you guys also eliminated the need for an outdoor power van?
Yes. One of the biggest expenses in film production is the “outdoor unit” (generator van + equipment rental). The big van you see outside most shootings is this. It runs on diesel and is a source of power. Since a film uses so many lights, some times as much as a cricket stadium it needs a lot of electricity, which is not available in regular locations. So, a generator van has to be arranged. But by going for battery lights we totally eliminated a generator van. We saved a few lakhs through this.
Other than the generator van, most films also hire equipment like trolley, cranes, camera from suppliers. We bought our own camera, and built our own equipment. We actually studied the mechanism of how these things work and recreated them on fraction of a cost, using cheaper material. We made mechanics and carpenters build them! You have to see them in action to believe it. (See photos) I think eliminating the outdoor van & building our own equipment and not renting it is our biggest achievement, in terms of production planning. This is the single largest factor for reducing the film’s production budget.
Smart! How did you go about your post-production. I am presuming you had cost-saving there too, as its all digital.
Yes, we did. The thing about movies shot on 35MM is that, they consume a lot of film cans. All these footage will be then digitized, this process is called digital intermediate (DI) which is expensive. If you have to color-correct the film or add graphics DI is a must. But, we dint have to do this process as the whole footage itself was digital. We had the whole film in our 10TB hard disk in our office. Since its digital, we again could do the editing in-house without expensive equipment 35MM films require.
Now, how did you convert this digital footage into prints for releasing it in theatres?
After the whole film is edited – this digital version needs to be put back on 35MM because theatres play prints not digital video. This process is called “reverse tele-cine” and is another huge expense. We could have done that if we wanted to, but we decided not to release the movie in prints, and only in screens that have digital projection. I don’t think we could have done this 3-4 years back, as there were hardly any digital screens. But today thanks to Qube & UFO Cinemas, we would release our movie only in digital screens and skip prints. This was another huge cost saving to us. Had we shot in 35MM, converted to digital and then put it back on print, we would have incurred an additional expense of Rs 20-25 lakhs. So by doing totally digital and eliminating prints, we could bring in that huge cost saving.
But the challenge for small budget, independent films is marketing & distribution. How did you guys manage that?
This is where most small-budget filmmakers falter. Its not enough if you make a decent film. You should ensure people walk into the theatres for you to make money. Just making a film and putting it out there is not enough, it will get lost amidst the 80-100 small budget films Telugu cinema releases every year. We wanted to make sure our product sticks out. Being the publicist & PRO for over 30 films I realize the value of marketing & invested heavily on this. Firstly, we chose a date where there are no other big movies around. Using our contacts, we could secure a few good theatres for release – this is another thing most newbie Producers cannot manage, which we could. One of our Producers Shreyas Srinivas, owns a marketing agency called Shreyas Media which does the marketing & publicity for most-budget films. So, he contributed by putting an expensive campaign, matching the spends of a big budget film. This made the audience notice that a small, interesting film called EeRozullo is coming out. If we dint get this part right, we could have made a nice film – but not got noticed and gone home empty handed.
You guys did it fine, but what if some one new want to make an indie film, market & release it on their own.
That would be an uphill task. Luckily, we could get it right because we’ve been around for years and had contacts. Most newbie Producers overlook this and end up failing. For newbie Producers & filmmakers I advise who wish to make independent films like Ee Rozullo to tie up with a big studio like Dil Raju’s Venkateshwara films, Geetha Arts or Suresh Productions, who have the marketing and distribution clout. Imagine this, you’ve already put in your life’s savings to make the film. You have to shell tens of lakhs more to market the film.
The spirit of indie films is not tying up with a studio or big-producer. What if as a filmmaker I am willing to pay the marketing costs, can I get theatres to screen my film?
More than for publicity, you need a studio or big producer for distribution. This is where you make your money. Tell me, with a 5% success rate for small movies, why would theatre owners lease you their cinema in the first place? Big distributors have existing understanding with theatres, hence can secure them easily. It costs lakhs a week to run a theatre. Most small films which have no buzz get an audience of 20-30 people a show. How can a theatre owner survive if the occupancy rate is like this? With what trust can they hand over their money-generating source to you? Out of sympathy that you’re a small filmmaker? Come on, this is business. People need to get real. If a big studio is backing you, they know that the studio will do a good marketing campaign for the film & ensure good theatres in other towns also. Even if one film doesn’t do well, they will compensate with the other. They have a lot of business understandings amongst themselves.
No, but the point is upcoming filmmakers believe in DIY (do-it-yourself) and don’t want (or) could not manage to get a big producer to back their film. Now what?
You can still go on your own – do the marketing & distribution yourself, but imagine the challenges facing you. Can you convince the Geminis, MaaTVs, Eenadus & DCs to give your small-budget film with no-faces prime coverage? Without such publicity, how theatre owners be will convinced that, if they screen your movie people will come to the theatres. You should also convince top-notch theatres to skip all other small & big-budget movie and give their theatre to your independent film? So, being practical now is better than being sorry later.
Hmmm… So, what is it that you’re trying to say?
Simple. I advise upcoming filmmakers and wannabe Producers to focus on marketing & distribution as much as they do on the filmmaking process. Being in the industry, I have seen so many worthy films, which went into oblivion because nobody even knew of them in the first place – as they were not marketed well. So seek the challenge & thrill in making a great film, not in releasing it. You’re a filmmaker not a film-marketer. But still on paper, you can do all these on your own – if you want to. Your call.
See, a lot people have this perception that big filmmaker are big fish and don’t let smaller guys survive. How did you people survive all this?
I’ve told this in the movie’s press meets and would tell them again – no big wig is interested in suppressing new filmmakers. That’s one big myth floating by some people in the industry for their petty gain. Nobody suppressed us, infact our association with Allu Arvind garu and Dil Raju only helped us. It’s common sense – you can’t make a bad film and expect them to give you their valuable infrastructure. Infact, if you have a good film, they would want you to put it in their distribution office or theatres and monetize it. They also stand to profit from it.
So, Ee Rozullo did not face any opposition or arm-twisting from industry biggies?
Not at all. In the case of Ee Rozullo, Allu Arvind garu and Allu Arjun attended the audio function and gave a big boost to our marketing campaign. Media & public started noticing our film after that. Dil Raju garu acquired our movie state-wide after release, gave us more theatres, enabling more people to watch our movie, and in turn generate more revenue for us. So, all this biggies suppressing newbie’s is untrue. Without the support of them we wouldn’t have got this kind of success. These ‘I got suppressed’ stories are usually told by people who fail, to comfort themselves. If you’re film is really worth it, the biggies would be the first to sniff it and acquire or release it as they also stand to profit if your film is good and does well.
Inspired by EeRozullo, a lot of new talent want to work with you guys and make independent films. How do they go about it?
I am open to working with new filmmakers. I am easily approachable through Twitter, email or even real life. I keep meeting budding filmmakers all the time. If anyone has an interesting story, they can pitch it to me – I would definitely take it up. Else, I have told them all my secrets – they can do on their own too!
Twitter handle : @sknonline, email addr : sreeborntowin AT gmail.com
Fine. Anything else you would like to tell them?
But trust me guys, it dint come easy. I started as a film reporter, then a publicist, then into film-marketing & finally film production. It took me 8 years. Maruthi has been in the creative field since 10 years. Shreyas Srinivas was in the media business for equally long. Though it might not take you that long, you might need to work that hard to get it. You need perseverance to survive here. Taking a shot blindly doesn’t work. You need the strength to stick it out till you make it.
But if you have talent, then you need not struggle that much. Right?
Another myth! Film industry is highly glamorous and so many people want to be a part of it in different capacities. Direction, music, producing, acting – whatever you chose : it’s a highly competitive environment. For every job, there are 10 guys as good as you or better than you, willing to do it free or for a fraction of what you would expect. If 100 guys come every week to Film Nagar to enter this industry, 80 of them will be returning a year or so later with shattered dreams. Ask yourself, if you have the grit and willingness to stick through it. Hope I dint scare you, but only tell what you should be willing to go through to make it here.
Courtesy : MAA TV]]>