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.
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
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'.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
there any change in your lifestyle after the huge success of Santosham?
I commute on the same old LML Vespa and use the same pager to
communicate. I stay in the same old single bedroom flat.
are your current projects that you are working on now?
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.
about your film with Nitin as hero for Teja's production company
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.
is your ambition?
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
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.
have to learn a lot. I get inspired by so many big directors and
my ambition is to become one among them.
is the mantra behind your success?
talent, 60% hard work, 10% luck and 5% blessings of God and my
are the films that have you inspiring you the most after Geetanjali
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.
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.
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.
you prefer story based taking or stylish taking?
always prefer good subject and I take scenes as per the demand
of subject. I give more preference to grammar of the film than
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.
initial promos of Santosham on the TV are not up to the expectations.
Is there any reason?
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.
are a dialogue and scriptwriter turned director. Are there any
an added advantage. If I have to make any changes I can do them
on the spot without depending on any other writer.
do you prepare a story?
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.
are such a cool and humble person and Teja is a firebrand guy.
How did you get along so well?
am a very frank person and I don't like lying. He [Teja] likes
that aspect. While working, we gel well.
words of wisdom for the director wannabes?
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.
can director wannabe approach you?
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.
you visit idlebrain.com?
your feedback on idlebrain.com?
think idlebrain.com is the only respectable site among
the many sites catering to Telugu films. I know 3-4 sites on Telugu
movies and idlebrain.com is the only site that maintains
standards. It's very popular among celebrities as well.
you have any words to say to the visitors of idlebrain.com?
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.
would like to thank Mr.
BVM Raju for accompanying me to the interview and adding more
questions to my kitty -- Jeevi]
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Mortem of Santosham