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'Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum is my blockbuster film'

Last updated on: November 5, 2012 12:47 IST

'Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum is my blockbuster film'

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Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

Telugu director Krish -- as Radhakrishna Jagarlamudi is popularly known -- has made films that are a combination of reality and fiction. He has won awards for his previous films, Gamyam and Vedam.

In Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum (KVJ), he has come up with a fascinating subject, weaving together theatre and the contemporary issue of mining.

Rana Daggubati and Nayanthara play the lead roles.

Krish gives Radhika Rajamani a sneak peek into the reel world of KVJ in this exclusive interview.

How did you hit upon the idea of combining Surabhi theatre with the contemporary issue of mining in Bellary?

I have had this idea of making a film on Surabhi theatre, which is a great form. 

It is such an ancient art form but it's on the verge of dying out. It's very colourful with all the get-ups and make-up, the accessories, costumes, sets and the warm lighting, instrumentation and music. 

Later, something that came up is the mining mafia, where you could set your characters in an extraordinary difficult terrain to see how their journey is. 

Then, one day I was on my way to Amritsar and I visited the Wagah border. Immediately this border idea came to my mind. 

There were several thoughts which conglomerated like theatre, mining, border.

Then I called Rana (Daggubati) and told him the story which is happening between the borders of Andhra and Karnataka. 

There's a guy called B Tech Babu, a theatre artiste who is reluctant to continue in theatre and wants to finish his studies and go abroad. He's a typical young man who has to earn a living. I told this idea to Suresh Babu and everyone was excited. 

I took a decision that Rajeev Reddy, my father, and Bibo Srinivas will produce the film. They had produced Gamyam.


Image: Director Krish directs a scene in Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum


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'Nayanthara is a documentary filmmaker in the film'

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What research did you do for this film? 

The dialects are different. I'm not touching any political issues in the film. I went to Bellary six or seven times. I stayed in Sandur. 

I went with Prof Venkatesh Chakravarthy, my script consultant and Sai Madhav Burra, my dialogue writer. I also went with Rajeev Reddy, my producer, Gnanasekhar, my cinematographer, Shravan, my editor and Murthy, my art director. 

We got help from Babji (R Nageshwar Rao) and Surabhi Nageswara Rao. We attended several of their shows, saw their living conditions, ate with them and literally lived their lives for some time. 

We did some research on media and journalism since Nayanthara is a documentary filmmaker in the film.

More importantly we are taking a play called Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum. For that my guru Seetharama Sastry provided all the knowledge we required.

The title Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum was originally for Venkatesh's film, which you announced some time back. How did it come to be the title of this film?

Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum is different, where there is an Arjuna and Victory Venkatesh is like Krishna. 

Later, I thought of my guru Sastry's words: if you become your own shishya (pupil) you become your own acharya (teacher). 

For example, I want to make films and so I should become my own guru. From that thought, I just titled it Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum. It's a new story I wrote.

Is it inspired by the Bhagavad Gita?

More than the Gita, it's Bhagavatham and Dashavataram.


Image: A scene from Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum


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'Rana is playing a theatre artiste'

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In essence, what is KVJ about?

This is an action adventure film combined with a theatre art form and is told in an entertaining way. 

People have their own perceptions and beliefs but how to live a great life... that is the philosophy told in a beautiful commercial format.

Is there a lot of reference to mythology?

Yes, since Rana is playing a theatre artiste. He plays Abhimanyu, Ghatotkacha, Narasimhaswamy. And then there is the Kurukshetra episode. 

In daily life, literally, not a day passes without some reference to the Puranas, starting with our prayers. Or even take our names -- we are just so involved with mythological figures.

How did Rana Dagubatti come to be the protagonist? 

I'm not exaggerating when I say that I felt he was the face. I'm the soul, he's the face. He has great diction. He can speak dialogues well.


Image: A scene from Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum


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'When Rana plays Narasimha swamy, he is believable'

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He was mind-blowing on the day of the audio release when he rattled those tongue-twisting dialogues!

Yes. Rana tells it 20 times better than me. He has the potential. 

When he plays Narasimha swamy, he is believable. When he is hitting four people, we can believe it. At the same time he has innocence in his eyes. I didn't think of anyone else but Rana.

Once people leave the theatre, they will be awestruck by his performance. I'm giving 100 out of 100 to Rana. 

When Rana was playing Narasimha's avatara, I felt the divine energy and the entire set felt it too. On the set we stopped non-veg food and cigarettes! 

How did you choose Nayanthara?

She is a documentary filmmaker and well educated. In the film, her path crosses with B. Tech Babu's -- the two are different, their upbringing is different, but their journey is very exciting. 

When I first thought of this character, I felt Nayan should play the role. We asked Nayan's manager and we were told she was not doing any movies. For three months I took auditions. We had already started shooting with Rana. 

Then I spoke to Nayan herself. She was just taking her decision whether to act or not. She said she wanted to act in the film.


Image: A scene from Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum


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'Milind and Murali rocked in the film. I don't know who's going to win more accolades'

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Milind Gunaji has not been in a Telugu film for over 10 years. Why did you decide to cast him as the antagonist?

I liked Milind's character in Devdas and Virasat. I needed two guys to play Reddappa and Chakravarthi. For Chakravarthi, I thought of Murali Sharma. To match Chakravarthi I needed somebody. 

I saw Milind in Mumbai airport once. I thought this was the man. So I asked my producer Rajeev (Reddy) to find out. 

Milind and Murali rocked in the film. I don't know who's going to win more accolades. 

How challenging was it for you to script KVJ and shoot it?

Writing is exciting for me. I live through those characters, create those characters. We took about four-and-a-half months to write the script. 

It's the fastest script I've written, with the help of my script consultant Prof Venkatesh Chakravarthy and my writer Sai Madhav Burra. 

Screenwriting is making the film on paper and I just made my film on paper. 

I've got a huge weapon called Gnanasekhar, an extraordinary cinematographer. 

I must thank my extraordinary team comprising my art director J K Murthy (who created extraordinary sets), Tirumala (chief of costumes), and Chittor Srinivas (make-up). 

In this film you also have an item number by Sameera Reddy...

I have two item numbers.


Image: A scene from Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum


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'Sameera Reddy looks like a diva nicely built with an innocent, glamorous face'

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How did you decide on Sameera Reddy?

She looks like a diva -- nicely built with an innocent, glamorous face. She dances well and has a beautiful energy on screen.

Does she do both the item numbers?

No, she does only one -- Sye andre nanu. The best part is Victory Venkatesh and Rana dance in that song. 

Hazel Keech did the other one.

Are these item numbers essential for the movie?

Absolutely. I want to entertain people.


Image: A scene from Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum


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'I am excited about Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum'

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Normally you give the audience something to take home besides entertaining them. What is it that you are going to give the audience this time in KVJ?

Instead of me telling them, they have to experience it for themselves.  

I try to tell a beautiful story which has a soul and I do it honestly. 

What are your expectations from this film?

I have been looking for a blockbuster for long. I got all the awards for Gamyam. I got all Filmfare awards for Vedam too. I like them too (laughs). 

This is my blockbuster film. 

I'm looking for a good re-launch and a milestone film for Rana and I hope this will be the one. I am excited about Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum.

Image: A scene from Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum


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