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The Rediff Interview / Krishnavamsi, director
'NTR's soul entered his grandson'
January 18, 2007
Radhika Rajamani caught up with a relaxed Krishnavamsi after a New Year break in Thailand. Excerpts:
After 3 flops, does the success of Rakhee feel even better?
I have crossed the stage of thinking about the success or failure of the film. Till my third film I waited for recognition, success or failure. Now I only consider whether what I conveyed in the film is going to the people. After the release of Rakhee and even when I was abroad, I must have received about 3000-4000 calls from different parts of the world (somehow people got my number) appreciating the film.
While some said they didn't realise the magnitude of the problem, a few even told me that they were not able to even look directly at women after seeing the film. My assistants told me that after the screening in a local theatre, some people gave way to women while they walked out. These small gestures matter. The film may have made a small impact, but the seed is sown.
What made you direct such a film? Did any incident trigger the idea?
There were lots of incidents which I heard from my friends and saw on television. The deaths of two young girls Prathyusha -- her death is still a mystery though it is said to be suicide -- and Srilakshmi -- who was brutally hacked to death -- made an impact. I reacted like any human being under those circumstances. I also observed people deliberately coming near women in theatres and buses. Then things fell into place.
Did you want to deal with the huge canvas of atrocities against women from the beginning? You started off with a dowry issue, and expanded later?
Yes. The stardom, songs, fights, romance were added to make it reach out. I sugarcoated the pill with all this to enable it to reach more people.
Didn't you feel songs disturbed the narrative?
Songs are part of our films. I like hearing songs, and songs are part of the style.
Do you think the situation projected in Rakhee is idealistic and far-fetched?
It's neither idealistic nor far-fetched. I have come across many men who are protective about women. I am also like that.
The hero takes to violence in the film. Are you saying this is a solution?
The hero faces all situations and punishments. He goes to the police station, court, jail etc. When there's no door, the hero rebels. He says the system has to be changed. When somebody touches your mother or sister won't you react, as a male? I have shown the same, but in an exaggerated way.
NTR Jr has given a high-voltage performance. Was he your first choice?
The story has been there with me for 12 years, since PK Radhakrishna narrated the core to me. I liked the issue and made changes. Radhakrishna had narrated the story to many people. Tarak (NTR) wanted to do a film with me, and I with him. Tarak had heard about this story too. I strongly believe that everything has a name and place to it. Finally I did it.
And yes, NTR is mindblowing. I am more than happy with NTR. To do all that at the age of 23 is remarkable.
In certain parts of the film NTR reminds one of his grandfather�
I felt when I shouted 'roll camera,' the late NTR's soul came into his grandson, and went away when I said 'cut.' Call it sacred or divine, but there is definitely something.
Do you want to be a social filmmaker?
Social themes are not intentional. I always want to make a big blockbuster to satisfy myself; I'm not a socially conscious person. But these maybe things enter the subconscious, or perhaps I may be gaining maturity. Entertainment is supreme and people want to escape to the world of cinema for the few hours in a theatre. I am lucky that people are accepting me. I take an oath to do a commercial film, but land up conveying something.
Do the films you have made weigh on your mind while moving on to the next?
After a film's release, I disconnect. But I remember the mistakes and try not to commit them in the new film.
You have made films in different genres. What are you most comfortable with?
Everything is the same. I do proper research and when I have the confidence, I write and discuss. For instance, for Suhasini's cop character in Rakhee I met some women cops and discussed with them before writing.
What are your future projects?
I will be doing a film with Ravi Theja perhaps in February. I want to make an out-and-out entertainer and not an issue-based film. It will most probably have three heroines, romance and action -- a Jackie Chan/James Bond kind of film adapted to our surroundings.
I have another film in mind, a really soft romantic film. This may be a totally digital film. A fictional story, it may be a 1950s-style romantic musical.
Do you think this will be accepted by the audience?
How you deal with the film and project it is important. You have to touch the hearts of the audience, and as long as you can do that everything is possible.
Why isn't there much experimentation in Telugu cinema?Because of the market and the audience. People want entertainment and escape from routine life. They like to watch song and dance. Moreover, people are easy and casual; there isn't much seriousness here. Also, the risk element has a role to play. Producers and directors should take the lead, but often they are scared. Things will change in the next 4-5 years.