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'We didn't want to target any stars'

Last updated on: August 22, 2012 10:37 IST

'We didn't want to target any stars'

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Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

Bheemineni Sreenivasa Rao, known for his remakes, began making films at 25. After his last release, the Pawan Kalyan- Asin starrer Annavaram, a few years ago, Sreenivasa Rao was off the radar for a while.

He is now back with Sudigadu starring Allari Naresh and Monal Gujjar, releasing this Friday, August 24.

Sreenivasa Rao waxes eloquent on Sudigadu, the remake of the Tamil film Tamizh Padam which is a spoof on Telugu cinema.

Why did you decide to remake Tamizh Padam?

Concept wise, it was a new film. Many people have done spoofs of successful films. Tamizh Padam was an out-and-out spoof.

In the 82 years that the industry has been in existence, there have been numerous cliches. We want to target and spoof those. The idea is taken from the Tamil film and has been reworked.

Though the traditions are different, the emotions are the same. So we did not do a frame-to-frame remake. I developed the story to suit the nativity. Only 20-30 per cent of the original film is there.

We didn't want to target any stars. Our intention was not to hurt anyone (stars) or their image and we were within the limits.

Naresh has done parodies of Pawan Kalyan before and people have enjoyed it. Using that as an inspiration, I went ahead. People must watch the film for entertainment.


Image: A scene from Sudigadu. Inset: Director Bheemineni Sreenivasa Rao


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'Sudigadu is an expensive film'

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How did you select the films to spoof?

I had to look to the audience's memory recall. Nowadays there is a decrease in cinema goers over the age of 30. The strong cinema goers are those below the age of 25.

Keeping the below 25 age group in mind, we made a list of films from 2000 to date, then shortlisted the blockbusters from that and identified scenes and listed them out.

Another challenge was presenting the hero in the film. We thought of the concept of zero to hero--from an underdog to a hero.

From that thread, we looked at his family life, friends, love, and professional life in the form of a story and then chose scenes from movies that would fit into this screenplay. So, it took a lot of time.

The film has an interesting tagline--Oke ticket pai 100 cinema (100 cinemas in one ticket).

The title gives an idea of what we want to show, prepare the audience for what is there. Budget wise, it is an expensive film. It took eight months to work on the script and another 18 months to make the film.


Image: A scene from Sudigadu

Tags: Oke

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'Naresh plays the double role for the first time'

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The trailer of the film has had many hits on Youtube. Stars and others in the industry are tweeting about it. How do you feel?

There has been an overwhelming and positive response to the trailer. With the launch of the trailer, people want to see Sudigadu.

Despite being busy with two films (Eega and Andala Rakshasi) Rajamouli tweeted. He is a big director with a positive spirit who is encouraging my film.

Ravi Teja called me to talk about the trailer. Pawan Kalyan and Puri Jagannadh laughed on seeing it. Puri told me he was going to watch it on the first day itself. Srinu Vytla hugged me at a wedding and said NTR and he enjoyed watching it. So many celebs and stars have enjoyed it.

Even the original creator C S Amudhan (director of Tamizh Padam) after seeing Sudigadu appreciated my effort. He turned distributor for one area – West Godavari. I am proud of that.

How did you zero down on Naresh for this role?

Naresh has already clicked with the audience. So, I wanted to cash in on that. I narrated the script and he liked it.

E V V Sathyanarayana garu had planned to do this film with Naresh before his death.

Naresh is a good performer; his comic timing is perfect. His success ratio is high. Sudigadu is his biggest budget film to date, made with good technical values.

He plays a double role as father and son for the first time. I wanted to make it a quality film and enhance his range.


Image: A scene from Sudigadu


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'If the heroine is good, it's a plus for the film'

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How did you cast Monal Gujjar, a new girl, as the heroine?

I thought a new heroine would be good. So I screen tested many girls. I must have tested at least 200 portfolios. Then I called Monal from Ahmedabad. She matched Naresh's height and personality. If the heroine is good, it's a plus for the film and vice versa.

How did you choose Sudigadu as the title?

The first title I registered was Seema Tapakai as I have a fetish for the letter S. I gave away the title to the makers of another film of Naresh which was under completion.

It took me some time to think of an alternative title. I had around 300-odd names and selected Sudigadu as I felt it would reach every one – class and mass.



Image: A scene from Sudigadu


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'I am confident that people will like the film'

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How do you foresee the reaction of the audience?

When the trailer is screened in theatres, people are clutching their stomachs and laughing. The film will be entertaining. I am confident that people will like the film.

Your last release, Annavaram (starring Pawan Kalyan and Asin), was made a while ago. Why the gap?

There was a gap of four years. I have a track record of making remakes. I wanted to direct a straight film so I worked on the script for two years. Then I saw Tamil Padam and liked the concept and worked on it for a little more than two years.


Image: A scene from Sudigadu

Tags: Padam , Annavaram , Asin

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