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Interview with Harsha P Reddy
Date: November 4, 2008, Hyderabad
harsha reddy

Harsha P Reddy – a Telugu NRI businessman – entered into Telugu film industry by producing comedy flick Andaru Dongale in 2004. After a gap of four years, he is making a re-entry as a producer/director with a suspense thriller titled Indumathi. Indumathi is due for the release on 28 November 2008. Here are the excerpts of an exclusive interview with Harsha Reddy -

Tell us about your background?
My father belongs to Palnadu. I completed my studies in Hyderabad, Chennai and New York. I got admission in BITS Pilani, but dropped out of it after three months. I started a software firm called Geo Soft in New York few years back. Now I also run a real estate firm called Geo Homes that deals with construction and real estate (layouts) in Hyderabad and Bangalore.

How did you enter films?
I had surplus money in 2003 and I came to Hyderabad to invest in real estate here. I got attracted towards film industry and produced a film titled Andaru Dongale (dorikithe) in Nidhi Prasad direction. It got good appreciation. Then I enrolled into New York film Academy and did a course in filmmaking. I also prepared a subject for a big hero. It needs a huge budget and I was prepared to produce it. I approached a couple of big heroes in the film industry. After meeting them I realized that I should prove myself first before going to them. I worked on the script of Indumathi in November 2007.

You gave Nidhi Prasad the film ‘Excess Baggage’ as a reference to Andaru Dongale film. Is Indumathi based on any Hollywood film?
The basic plot of the film is inspired by a classic by the master of suspense ‘Alfred Hitchcock’. But that point would only transpire for 4 minutes in Indumathi, the rest of it is all my own creation. There will be 35 minutes of nonstop youthful comedy in the first half of the film. There are many suspense and thrill elements. Indumathi is basically a suspense thriller with horror elements in it. There is also a romance aspect.

Why should audience spend money to get scared?
All the human beings have the inherent inquisitiveness to respond to scary moments. Why would people enjoy rollercoaster rides though they are scary? Same logic applies for the people who love to watch suspense thrillers.

Don’t you feel that Hollywood inspirations might not gel with Telugu film industry?
Jackie Shroff and Aditya Pancholi are my good friends from Bollywood. They used to jeer at Telugu films saying that Telugu filmmakers adapt Hollywood scripts and make a mess of out it. There are many filmmakers in Bollywood who spoilt the remakes of Telugu in Hindi. A beautiful film like Anukokunda Oka Roju was made into stupid film like Sunday in Hindi. Andaru Dongale worked well here. And Indumathi too is going to do well.

What inspired you to become a director?
I produced Andaru Dongale film. One week after the release of the film, I held a meeting with all key people who worked for the film and enquired about the status. Nobody was giving me any clear picture. I got angry and asked them to explain the real scene. They said – ‘okka scene rayandi meeku telustundi. Devudu kanipistadu. Raktam padutundi’. They insulted me and treated me like I had no creative orientation. I got hurt and took it as an opportunity to explore the creative side in me. I went to NY and got enrolled in filmmaking course. Even my wife did not know that I enrolled for a course at that time. I learnt all about filmmaking and applying it now.

How many characters are there in Indumathi?
Lots of people thought that I got inspired by Mantra’s success to make this film. But I started the script even before Mantra was released. There are 18 characters in the film. Shweta Bharadwaj (Mission Istanbul fame) is making her debut in Telugu. Sivaji did a full length character. Sivaji is going to get an award with his performance in this film. Kishore (Khadir of Vennela film) is doing a full-length role in this thriller.

Do you have any suggestions for NRIs who want direct/produce Telugu films?
I made Andaru Dongale film with 4.32 crores and lost 2.3 crores in that project. Everybody made money in Andaru Dongale except for the producer (me). All exhibitors and distributors made profits on that film. With that experience, I suggest all the NRIs who want to produce Telugu films to do their homework first. You should not even invest a single rupee with out doing complete homework and research. Come to Hyderabad and do homework for a couple of months. Lack of homework and lack of research cost me a couple of crores in my first film.

Regarding wannabe directors, I can only tell them to follow their heart and come to Hyderabad.

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