As compared to previous years, 2017 was definitely a milestone for Telugu cinema. Because 3 out of Top 10 Indian film on IMDb were Telugu. Which is the highest number of films for any language after Hindi.
So, Four of the best directors of this year Sandeep Reddy Vanga(Arjun Reddy), Praveen Sattaru(PSV Garuda Vega), Mohan Krishna Indraganti(Ami Thumi), Anil Ravipudi(Raja The Great) sat down and talked about and their thought process. And obviously, there were so many new and exciting things that came out from the discussion. Especially from Sandeep Reddy, Praveen Sattaru and Mohan Krishna Indraganti. And here we have compiled the best and notable things/answers from the entire discussion.
Q1: What is your favorite film?
Mohan: Arjun Reddy, Fidaa, and Garuda Vega
Sandeep: Nen ekkuva cinema-lu chudaledhu ee year. But I only watched Baahubali 2 and Fidaa.
Praveen: Arjun Reddy is my favorite film of this decade.
Anil: Baahubali 2 and Arjun Reddy. Cinema chusina next day I behaved like Arjun Reddy.
Q2: What’s the most influential thing/movie that made you decide that you want to be a filmmaker?
Mohan: ‘Pradhamika Saahithyam’. Most of my films are inspired from Saahithyam (Literature).
Sandeep: I used to draw things like a crazy person. And I was great photographer in the childhood.
The actual passion towards films started when in joined in physiotherapy. I knew that it was not what I wanted to do.
Going to film school was the best thing I did in my life. 3 years. Different parts of the world students oka chota kalisi cinema thappa inko disucussion undedhi kaadhu. Mazaa ochedhi.
Nen ‘interval scene’ raasina appudu 15 days asal em cheyale. Chill ina. ‘Ben-Hur’ chesina feeling unde.
Q3: What did you want to convey in that interval scene (Arjun Reddy) to the audience?
Sandeep: It is a glorified pain. It’s like a celebration of painful Ghazals by tapping your foot. That’s why the camera also zooms in even when it’s upside down.
*adding to the same point*
Praveen: This is how you enjoy the process of filmmaking. When you enjoy writing a scene. There will always be a particular set of audience who will enjoy the film.
Mohan: Maybe that’s where the real journey of Arjun started. That’s why the title of the film is also there at the interval.
Praveen: India lo Independent ga emanna cheyyali ante, first engineering ipovali. That’s why I moved to USA.
That is where my life began. India lo thokkestharu. Doesn’t matter how brilliant you are.
I did chip designing. And worked for IBM for 8 to 10 years. And I realized it wasn’t exciting.
The first ever script that I conceived in mind was Garuda Vega. That too on a 4 hour flight journey, 8 years back.
Q4: How do manage make commercial films? (*to Anil*)
Anil: Cinema is my inspiration. Be It any genre. Kani commercial cinema ante baga nachindi. Andhuke ee path select cheskunna. Realistic ki konchem dhooram ga unte nak ishtam.
Sandeep: Nak kuda masth ishtam commercial cinema ante.
Q5: Chandhamama Kathalu, A national Award film theesina tarwatha, Guntur Talkies, oka sex comedy endhuku theesaru? ani oka question undhi, how do you deal with it ?
Praveen: I wanted to make something whacky. And wanted to do something very different to Chandhamama Kathalu.
Mohan: Even I love people who make different genres of films. Instead of sticking to one.
Q6: How did you deal with all this criticism and backlash of Arjun Reddy? Right from politics to media, your film was discussed everywhere. How did you overcome this?
Sandeep: We were frustrated. We got angry. I felt scared that because of people like V Hanumanth Rao, people might only focus on drugs. Actual content ni chudaru emo ina bhayam undedhi.
Monna recent ga na friend okadu vachi, “Rey nuvvu thathayya ki car koniyyali ra, masth publicity ichindu.” I said, “Mazak ga undha ra neeku idhi?” I did not feel that this fellow was giving me publicity.
And I don’t require that kind of publicity. My trailer went 17 million hits. What thathayya did was, Aayana valla Andhra area lo kontha mandhi family audience movie ni avoid chesaru.
People were thinking, “There is content in our film. But thathayya brought attention to it.” I hate that shit. Some random cops used to call me, and say ‘Come to station and meet’.
Q7: How logical and reasonable are censor people? Are they intelligent enough to judge your films?
Sandeep: They don’t know any shit about filmmaking. I hate myself sitting with them and arguing with them. One of the censor staff asked me ‘How can he say about PMS?’
I’ll present you my film. If you have a problem, give ‘A’ certificate. But you are not supposed to put a bloody scissor on my film, I hate that shit.
Praveen: Censor board people have no idea why they are sitting there. At Garuda Vega time I said, ‘Script ichestham, meeru mundhe chusi sensor cheyandi. Appudu mem cinema theeskuntam‘.
Mohan: Nee Amma is censored. Nee Avva and Nee Abba are not. Censor is sanitizing films in the name of some vague moral code.
Q8: *talking about Padmavathi issue*
Praveen: Oka 20 to 30 janalu eppudu ithe censor board meedha padthunaro. Vaallu bhayapadthunnaru.
Sandeep: Censor Board ki oka pedha building kattinchi, oka manchi security pettinchi, oka 4 military guards ni pettali. Evadanna mundhuku vasthe ‘Goli maro! Saale ko’.
They gave me 40 cuts in my film. And when they mailed me there were 42 cuts. And nen adiginappudu, they said, ‘Sorry andi marchipoyamu’. They asked me to mute words like ‘Telangana’ and ‘Bammardhi’.
Q9: In last 2 years Telangana became mainstream, most of your films also had language, regional impact of Telangana. Was it natural progression? Or deliberate?
Sandeep: Absolutely normal progression. It’s basically from the idea who is writing it.
Praveen: Writers and Directors were always conscious about it. It’s the producers who are lately realizing it.
Q10: How do you look at awards?
Praveen: Filmfare is for commercial cinema. Nandi and National award are for content cinema.
Mohan: National Award helped me find my feet. Award is also an opinion formed by a group of people.
Q11: 43 Telugu films released only in the month of December. And a few were really good. Why do you think a thing like this has happened?
Sandeep: It is all about content. If yours has good content. It will have all the eyeballs. Even my film was small when it started.
Q12: Reviews. How much does a film’s success depend upon its review?
Sandeep: A guy used to call me. He works for a below average movie reviewing site. After 4 or 5 calls I answered it. He said he wanted to meet me. Nen anna ‘Sorry brother, I’m busy. Ellundi release kadha.’
Then he said, ‘Meeru naku 3 months nunchi idhe biscuit esthunnaru, Kalusthava ledha?’ He even knew the climax scene of my movie before the release. In phone he said that, ‘Mee cinema lo heroine climax lo kaduputho park lo kurchuntadhi. Nen ee scene site lo pedtha‘. Film pirates unnaru.
He blackmailed me. Nen cheppina, ‘Rey naa cinema lo second half lo asal heroine kanipiyadhu ra. Adhe twist point ra. Dhaani gurinchi maltakdaku ra. Please.’ He replied, ‘Nen ippudu ee scene site lo pedtha.’ I was requesting him. Literally nak pichi lesipoyi. Naa onti meedha ice cubes eskunna aaroju.
I even said ‘Rey naa cinema ni champadhu ra. Dheeni vallane nuvvu nenu brathukuthunnam. Ramanaidu studio ki rara, kalustha ninnu. Cadbury choclate istha neeku.’ Luckily he didn’t call me after that.
Q13: What are your plans for 2018?
Mohan: I’m making a new and different film from what I have made recently.
Sandeep: Number of independent and content based films should stand strong. If one film is having a problem with censor, all filmmakers should stand with him and support him.
Praveen: Independent Cinema and Commercial cinema should co-exist.
Anil: I want to bring a realistic approach in commercial films.
You can watch their entire discussion here:
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