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Interview with Dasaradh by Jeevi

: 5th July 2002 Venue: Dasaradh Residency, Madhura Nagar

Dasaradh is one of the most humble and soft-spoken directors of Telugu cinema. The huge success of his debut film does not seem to have affected his life style. He leads a simple life by commuting on his old LML Vespa and selectively using his pager to communicate with others. met up with Dasaradh at his residence on Friday for an interview. Here are the excerpts....


I was born and brought up in Khammam town. My family was affluent when I was a kid. My parents owned hundreds of acres of land. But due to some mismanagement and poor planning we lost all the fortune by the time I entered 10th class. So I started doing part time job to pay my college fees. My younger brother started working since when he was in 6th class. I was in Khammam till my 2nd year of degree by working as a sales boy in shops. I used to feel uncomfortable sweeping the floors in shops when my friends visited those shops. I then shifted to Hyderabad to join a college and earned my living by working as a sales representative.

After completing my degree I went back to Khammam. I joined in Law and M. Com. I used to sell suitcases and started a lassi center to earn my living. Then I started tutorials for +1 and +2 students. With an investment for a small room space and a mattress, I started my tutorials and used to teach 40-50 students in each batch. I finished my M. Com and simultaneously I completed 2nd year of Law.

I was smitten by films bug after watching Geetanjali and Shiva. I used to come up with my own analysis about the films I watched and discuss it with my friends. I wanted to join films and I was becoming restless as the years passed by. I saw an advertisement by Yandamuri garu in a newspaper that he was conducting a writer's workshop inviting stories from readers. Story writing was totally new to me. I wrote a story called 'Palle' and sent it to Yandamuri garu. He selected only two stories out of 1700 entries he received. And mine was one of the selected stories to be published in a book titled 'Abhishaktam'.

I visited Yandamuri garu and introduced myself and told him that I was interested in working as an assistant director to him in TV serials. He asked me if I was willing to work without any remuneration and I said yes. Actually, I was in a tight financial position at that time, where the burden of feeding my entire family was on me. But passion towards direction made me take the bold decision of joining as an assistant to Yandamuri garu without any remuneration. Yandamuri garu asked me to write extension of the story to the 8th episode of Anandobrahma TV serial and he was impressed with me. He gave me the credit of Screenplay for that episode. Later on, he did not like the dialogues written for an episode and he asked me to write dialogues, which was again a new job for me. Luckily, he was impressed with my work. I used to stay all the time at office and worked for 5 serials under Yandamuri garu.

Then I wanted to shift from TV serials to movie industry. I asked Yandamuri garu to help me. He wrote a recommendation letter to Paruchuri brothers. I went to Paruchuri brothers and convinced them to take me as an assistant after much persuasion. I have to admit that I learnt a lot from them though my contribution to them was nil. I observed that inspite of Paruchuri brothers giving good scenes and dialogues, directors used to reject them. Writers do such a good work and directors outrightly reject it because they think that they are better than writers. It's so painful. Those incidents made me determined that I would become a director instead of a dialogue or scriptwriter.

At that time KS Rama Rao garu was making Yandamuri gari Vennello Aaadapilla as the film 'Hello I love you'. Since I worked as an assistant director for Vennello Aadapilla TV serial, I requested Rama Rao garu to give me a change of assistant director for that film. But KS Rama Rao garu gave me the job of Associate director (a level higher than assistant director). That film bombed at the box office and I had no work for 11 months. At that time, my family and financial problems were at peak. Then I worked for JD Chakravarthy's 'Harischandra' after which I worked for the of YVS Chowdary's films.

Then a person called Krishna Mohan introduced me to Teja garu and told me that he is going to make a film titled 'Chitram'. Teja garu was looking for writer-cum-assistant director. I joined Teja garu and our wavelengths matched very well. He gave me the credit of co-writer and co-director for Chitram cinema. If Yandamuri garu is the first person in the industry to give me work, it was Teja garu who gave recognition to my work. From that day onwards, I never had to look back. For Subhavela, Teja garu gave the story and I gave dialogues. Unfortunately, that film misfired. I worked as co-director for Family Circus and Nuvvu Nenu.

After Chitram released, some of the producers offered upto 5 lakhs for story work. But I was determined that if I get tempted to become a storywriter, I would never become a director. During the time of Nuvvu Nenu, artist Benarjee told me that lot of producers were looking for new directors and enquired if I had any story to narrate. When I said yes, he introduced me to KL Narayana garu and S Gopal Reddy garu. I narrated a story to them and they liked it. They shook hands with me and told me that they would be doing that project. It was like a dream come true. They asked me who was the hero I was looking for. I suggested Tarun's name. Then we narrated the story to Tarun and Roja Ramani garu [Tarun's mother]. They responded positively and said that Tarun would do that project. I was supposed to direct Tarun's film with Durga arts in 4 months. At that time, the same producers were looking for stories for a film to be made with Nagarjuna garu. As I already got direction offer for Tarun's film, I thought selling story would not be a problem. I narrated an action film to the producers. They liked it and narrated it to Nagarjuna garu. Nagarjuna garu said that I have talent, but he could not do that film as he was planning to act in a film titled Sreeram (which was supposed to be directed by Shazi Kailas) by Burugapally Sivarama Krishna garu (later on that project got cancelled). Since Nagarjuna garu did not want to do a love story, he asked me to prepare a family story.

Then Nagarjuna garu sent me a novel and asked me if I was interested in doing that film. I told him that though the story has excellent feel to it, it's a risky project. I told him that I wouldn't be able to do justice to that subject. Later on, the producers told me that Nagarjuna garu liked me and he was asking for another story.

I liked Ajay Devgan's character in 'Hum Dil De Chuke Hain Sanam'. I wanted to create a decent character like that. I prepared a storyline and narrated it to Narayana garu and Nagarjuna garu. They liked it. Then Gopal Reddy garu told me that Nagarjuna wanted me to direct the film and that he would be giving dates from August 2001 onwards (I narrated the story on may 20th). I told him that I couldn't do the perfect script in two months, as the duration was too small. The producers then considered directors like Vijaya Bhaskar, Trivikram Srinivas, Fazil and Priya Darshan. Then Nagarjuna garu asked the producers to find out what the real problem was from my point of view. I told them that I needed more time for the movie to come out well and I would be ready to direct that film in December 2001. Then I had problem with the dates of Tarun as he was dillydallying with them. I came back to Nagarjuna garu and told him that I would start working on Santosham. I completed the script work and we started shooting of Santosham from 15th November at Ooty. Since the film unit has senior artists and technicians, I was made comfortable by one and all. Sreya was the only new girl and she did well, as she is a good kathak dancer.

From the day one of the shooting of Santosham, we were all in positive mood that this film would be a success. All of us had positive energies. Luckily Santosham worked at box office and we are all happy

What's after Santosham?

Many big producers have approached me. All of them want to make commercially successful film as well as a good film. Luckily Santosham is commercially successful and artistically good one too. I told them that it took me a lot of time and efforts to make Santosham. I can't do films over night. I told them that I would prepare an inspiring story and come to them. If they have dates of any hero, we can see if my storyline suits that hero. Some of the producers tried offering money as an advance. I have seen Teja suffering a lot when he took some advance from producers. They used to call him up on daily basis and bug him about the progress, which is really irritating. Hence I requested all the producers that I would come back to them once I was ready with my story. But one producer has repeatedly asked me on a daily basis. He came to my house one day and offered me ten lacks one thousand one hundred and sixteen rupees saying that it's an auspicious date and all the films that were accepted on that day became hits. I took one rupee from that money as a token.

Is there any change in your lifestyle after the huge success of Santosham?

No. I commute on the same old LML Vespa and use the same pager to communicate. I stay in the same old single bedroom flat.

What are your current projects that you are working on now?

I have a couple of story lines with me. They are in final stages. I am narrating these stories to my friends and making minor modifications after taking their feedback. Once they are ready I would go and meet the producers.

What about your film with Nitin as hero for Teja's production company 'Chitram Movies'?

I am indebted to five people for what I am today. First one is Yandamuri garu who gave me work. Second one is Teja garu who brought recognition to my work and then KL Narayana garu, S Gopal Reddy garu and Nagarjuna garu. I give preference to these five people whenever they ask me to do a film. Teja garu asked me to do a film with Nitin as hero. KL Narayana garu asked me to do a subject with Venkatesh garu as hero. I am working over the storylines and if they suit the heroes, we will go ahead and start the projects.

What is your ambition?

For me relationships are more important than money. All I need in life is friends, cigarettes and irani chais. I want people to say that Dasarath is a good guy and he did good films. I don't need any other appreciation. I really do not worry about money, because even if I lose everything, I would not be sad to go to the same position from where I have come up. I prefer producers who are compatible with me. I am a very soft guy and I want my producers to deal delicately with me and my cast and crew. I like cool atmosphere.

Life is a learning curve. Some journalist asked me how I was feeling when I was directing a big star like Nagarjuna garu. I told him that I learn things every day and improve myself. Then that journalist told me that I should not say things like that and that I should say I am very confident and that I know everything.

I have to learn a lot. I get inspired by so many big directors and my ambition is to become one among them.

What is the mantra behind your success?

25% talent, 60% hard work, 10% luck and 5% blessings of God and my parents.

What are the films that have you inspiring you the most after Geetanjali and Shiva?

Hum Aap Ke Hain Kaun and Titanic are the films that inspired me a lot when I was about to enter the film industry as an assistant.

I admire Sooraj Barajatya [director of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun] and Karan Johar [director of Kuch Kuch Hota Hain] for their exceptional skills in handling relationships in their films. Ram Gopal Varma and Mani Ratnam are the ones I worship. Its because of them that I developed passion to films.

I learnt how to make a film with conviction from Teja garu. He is very good at judgment. He knows what he is taking. Teja garu is one director who can make films that will cater to the tastes of the audience.

Do you prefer story based taking or stylish taking?

I always prefer good subject and I take scenes as per the demand of subject. I give more preference to grammar of the film than stylish taking.

Any marriage plans?

My parents want me to get married soon. But I am not financially settled in life yet. So marriage has to wait for some more time.

The initial promos of Santosham on the TV are not up to the expectations. Is there any reason?

The producers arranged the audio launch with an extravagant musical night at Vijayawada. It created a lot of hype and expectations among the public. And if they watched the film with so much of expectations, the film might not satisfy them. So we underplayed the trailers by making them little sub-standard. Even then the media has written that 'Santosham' is not extraordinary. We never told that Santosham is extraordinary. If media watches it from neutral point of view, they would like it.

You are a dialogue and scriptwriter turned director. Are there any advantages?

It's an added advantage. If I have to make any changes I can do them on the spot without depending on any other writer.

How do you prepare a story?

First I decide what kind of story I want. Then I decide up on the narration style. I prepare a thread for story. Then I decide over the interval point and climax point. After that, I start working on the scenes. After completing it I start the shooting with a bounded script.

You are such a cool and humble person and Teja is a firebrand guy. How did you get along so well?

I am a very frank person and I don't like lying. He [Teja] likes that aspect. While working, we gel well.

Any words of wisdom for the director wannabes?

You must watch good films. There are three stages before becoming a good director. The first stage is to recognize a good film. The second stage is to know why it is a good film. And the third stage is to implement those principles when you make your film. There should not be separate comedy tracks and unnecessary fights in the films.

How can director wannabe approach you?

The problem is that I have a very good and loyal team. I can't take out anybody to accommodate a new person. Whenever I went around asking for direction chances, I used to request the directors to give me a story line and that I would develop it and get back to them. I used to request them to take me if they find me talent enough. But I have not found the same level of confidence in anybody who approached me so far.

Do you visit


What's your feedback on

I think is the only respectable site among the many sites catering to Telugu films. I know 3-4 sites on Telugu movies and is the only site that maintains standards. It's very popular among celebrities as well.

Do you have any words to say to the visitors of

I have a request for the visitors. If you find anything wrong with my films, please write to me. I shall try to correct it and improve it. If you do not like my movie you can express the same. But it would be more useful if you tell me which scene you did not like and why. Bless me, wish me and guide me.

[I would like to thank Mr. BVM Raju for accompanying me to the interview and adding more questions to my kitty -- Jeevi]

Click here for the Post Mortem of Santosham

Mail Dasaradh your feedback by sending email to [email protected]

Interviewed by Jeevi
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