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'Back Bench Student is a love story'

Last updated on: March 13, 2013 10:43 IST

'Back Bench Student is a love story'

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Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

Director Madhura Sreedhar Reddy came into the limelight with Sneha Geetham. He made It's My Love Story last year. Both films were made with new actors.

His third film Back Bench Student starring Mahat Raghavendra (who made his debut in Ajith's 50th Tamil film Mankatha), Piaa Bajpai (of Rangam fame) and Archana Kavi (an award-winning actress from Malayalam cinema), releases this Friday, March 15.

Sreedhar Reddy speaks about this film in this interview.

Radhika Rajamani

What prompted you to make a film on back benchers? Is it because some of them have made it to the top in different fields?

Last year Chetan Bhagat came to Hyderabad to launch his book Revolution 2020. He had narrated the pathetic state of engineering colleges.

So I wondered, if a boy fails in engineering, does he fail in life? What happens then? So from that idea, I took it up and wrote a love story.

Image: A scene from Back Bench Student. Inset: Director Madhura Sreedhar Reddy

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'I was inspired by APJ Abdul Kalam's statement to write the story'

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Is the theme of the movie based on the statement by Abdul Kalam: "The best brains of the nation may be found on the back benches of the classroom"?

Yes, I was inspired by that statement to write the story.

I made it a love story. I wanted to say that whatever we are and wherever we are, every person should have social responsibility.

It's tough to tell something straight. It's easier with a love story, and comedy makes it entertaining.

What are you trying to say through your film?

That if a person fails in his subject, he is not a failure in life. With his other qualities and talent, he can come up in life. I'm not saying this like a message.

Your film's tagline is 'his break up + love story'...

Yes, if I have only the title 'Back Bench Student', people may think it's all about people who roam about.

I want people to know the film is a proper love story. I should entertain with a purpose.


Image: A scene from Back Bench Student

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'I wanted experienced people in my film'

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Does the film show life after college?

Yes, it's about how the boy comes up in life.

In the past you have cast newcomers. This time you cast actors who have been seen in films before like Mahat, Piaa and Archana...

Though they have acted before, they haven't done so in Telugu movies. I wanted experienced people. They fitted the roles well.

Mahat is a Telugu boy who was born and brought up in Chennai. He looks like a back bencher. I saw him in a TV interview and found him talking confidently. Normally people are a bit nervous when they are speaking about their first film. Though I got many applications –the moment I announce a film lot of people apply as they know I select newcomers—I selected Mahat.

I selected Piaa as I wanted someone energetic and possessive. I had seen her performance in Rangam (the Telugu remake of Ko).

I looked for Telugu actresses but couldn't find any. Then I decided to look for Tamil/Malayalam girls who are good performers. Then I chose Archana.


Image: A scene from Back Bench Student

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'Chetan Bhagat is a huge influence on me'

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How have these three artistes performed?

They have done well. I had a pattern worked out. I wanted Mahat to be natural, Piaa to be intensive and Archana to be emotional and they did what I wanted.

What's the rapport you share with Chetan Bhagat? He was in Hyderabad for the premiere of your last film It's My Love Story...

He's a huge influence on me. He's a good friend and gives me suggestions. We are in constant touch. I attributed a movie poster with his book What Young India Wants, for Back Bench Student.

In the midst of youngsters, you have Brahmanandam and Ali in the film. Why?

I took them just to add the entertainment quotient. Ali plays a project manager in a software company with weak English communication skills.

Brahmanandam plays a confused guy after 20 years in the software industry. It's an exaggerated personality. He calls himself Kareena Kapoor as he's forgotten his name.

Image: A scene from Back Bench Student

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'I have bought the remake rights of Vicky Donor'

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Simbu's song seems to be doing well...

I made Mahat listen to the tunes and he suggested Simbu should sing it. On his suggestion, even Aniruddh sang a song.

What were Venkat Sidda Reddy's inputs in this film?

I wanted to put in more effort at the script stage. I wanted other thought processes as well.

In my earlier films people said my screenplay was not good. So, I got Lakshmi Bhupal and Venkat Sidda Reddy to help out with the screenplay.

We hear that you are helping meritorious engineering students...

My intention is to help needy engineering students. This may be taken up later, after the film releases.

What are your future projects?

I have bought the remake rights of Vicky Donor. The film is called Dana Karna.

I plan to make another film titled Om Mangalam Mangalam.


Image: A scene from Back Bench Student

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