Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad
Director Krishnavamsi is known for his films with meaningful themes. His latest Telugu film is Mogudu, starring Gopichand, Taapsee Pannu and Shraddha Das (besides Rajendra Prasad, Naresh, and Roja).
He takes some time off from post-production to talk to Radhika Rajamani about his film which releases on November 4.
What made you make Mogudu?
Gopichand wanted to do a family film. He wanted to work with me for a long time, and he managed to corner me off. I finally gave up. Producer, N Bujji, was also interested in making a film. So, keeping in mind Gopichand's immense capabilities, body language, his undiscovered talent and personality, I decided on a theme about human relations.
The relationship between a man and woman caught my fancy. Is it lust? Is it sex? Is it emotional dependency or more? What is the connection? Then automatically marriage and family come. Making it entertaining, spicy, heartfelt and soulful, I wove a dramatic story around that phenomenon.
'I want to rekindle the beauty and importance of the relationship'
So, are you trying to say something new about the husband-wife relationship?
For the last 20 years, nobody has touched the subject -- man and woman as husband and wife. Human relationships are taking a bashing because of various pressures. I want to rekindle the beauty and importance of the relationship, the uniqueness of the relationship, in a dramatic and cinematic form. This is an age-old phenomenon and I am putting it in an audio-visual, entertaining form. I am also looking at the family, at values, traditions and cultures.
Is it challenging to shoot with a large star cast?
Yes, there is a big family in Mogudu but for me it's a game shooting with such a big star cast. I enjoy that. I live those moments. I work with excitement.
So, the family is important in the film....
That is where our identity and soul is. Otherwise we are employees, students, citizens etc. We exist because of the family; we belong there.
'Shraddha Das is the surprise package in the film'
You said Gopichand wanted to work with you. How did you choose Taapsee then?
We were contemplating many girls. Bujji (the producer) suggested Taapsee. I was hesitant initially as I felt she looks urbanised and westernised and I wondered if she would suit the character. Then I saw her Tamil film Adukalam and I liked her performance. She plays an Anglo-Indian character and I liked the way she projected life into her character. I worked a lot on her in terms of dress and looks. She is very enthusiastic and has a fighting spirit. She has done an amazing job. Gopichand, too, has performed well. I'm happy.
The casting worked out well in bringing out the manliness and femininity. Shraddha Das who is also a part of the cast is a surprise package in the film. She plays a girl who is confused and doesn't experience the depths of life. She is a representation of the camouflaged hearts of today's society -- no deep values, just floating and flowing around. Shraddha is star material; she has the capacity to become a star heroine.
You have Rajendra Prasad playing the father...
Rajendra Prasad is an extremely popular hero and actor. Everyone likes him. The mere mention of his name brings a smile to people's faces. He is god's gift to the Telugu film industry. No other language has this kind of a performer, hero or actor.
He was ready to do any kind of role in my film, so when I needed a guy to play the hero's father, and since Rajendra Prasad wanted to work with me, I approached him. He said 'there is no need to narrate the story. I know you will show me in a fresh way and extract something different'.
It was indeed a nice experience and a pleasure working with him. I'll cherish those moments.
'People want to see glamour'
Some of the posters show a glamorous side of Taapsee. What's your view on this?
Are you hinting at skin show? People want to see glamour. A film should have all the ingredients as, after all, people spend their hard-earned money to watch a film. In the relationship between a husband and wife, there is a physical aspect. I can shoot that aesthetically and in a classy way.
Even the actors in my film expose their bodies. So it's not just the heroine alone.
Your films have something to take home as they entertain. What is it this time?
I'm not trying to preach. It's just an evolution of boy /girl to man/woman and husband/wife. You will connect with the film, you will be reminded of yourself, your kids, your parents and your family. The film is drawn out of my family and personal experiences. So, all the experiences are based on reality.
You have a new music director for this film...
Babu Shankar is a top ad filmmaker whose passion is music. After a long time, one will hear Telugu songs in the film.
My guru, Sita Ramasastry garu, has created magic with the lyrics for the song Kavaali. Just like there is this Sanskrit sloka Karyeshu mantra karneshu daasi... which gives the attributes of how a wife must be, Sastry garu has written how a man should be. Every word of his is vedam. This song will become an anthem for wives and husbands!
'My wife is the worst critic'
What are your expectations from the audience?
This is a family film with lots of fun, group activities and a marriage song--all that they can expect from a KV film. It will be a Aratti aaku meeda Telugu bhojanam (a Telugu meal spread out on a banana leaf).
Does your wife Ramya criticise your work?
She's my worst critic. She saw the songs and surprised me by saying they are good. She doesn't involve herself in my work. If I ask, she'll see and give her opinion.
Have you thought of your future project?
I'm exhausted now. For the last six months, I have been working continuously. I'm drained physically and mentally. I want to sleep, then wake up and see. There are some ideas. I'll think about them after a few days.