us about your background
am a chemical engineer from BITS, Pilani and graduated in 1978.
I worked as an engineer and then shifted into ad line. I worked
as a copy righter, creative director, and started making films
for TV, corporate films, ad films, catalogues and then moved on
to doing music videos and then set up a postproduction house.
We have full-fledged special effects and Graphics Company in Hyderabad.
Now I am in to making feature films.
are an alumnus of BITS Pilani. Can you tell us how studying there
helped in your career?
a fellow BITSian what can I explain? BITS has got an educational
system that makes you competent to do anything. In fact they train
you to do any thing. See the kind of courses we do. We do them
in Sanskrit, English, Engineering, Science, Management and Pharmacy.
So it gives you a chance to expose in different branches of knowledge.
Essentially what BITS Pilani teaches you is the confidence. Even
if you don't know it, you can always get to know it. It teaches
you that nothing is above you. Nothing is too big or too small
for you. For example, when I went into film making, it has no
relevance to the chemical engineering I have done. But it gave
me the confidence to venture in to new fields. Engineering teaches
you that whole is equal to sum of the parts. It teaches you the
systems approach, which means that all the complicated things
when broken up ultimately become simple things. So when you understand
the simplicity, then you can also understand the complexity.
you interested in films since childhood?
was more interested in creative writing. That was the real creative
thing that moved me. When I enter into performing arts (basically
television), I realized that all the creativity has the same source.
It's the aptitude that makes you different. So I developed an
aptitude for filmmaking.
an ad is made?
an ad making, you have a brief, script and storyboard. Usually
the client gives the script. It's like coming to a constructor
with an architect's blueprint and asking him to make the building.
Some times, we create our own scripts. But you must understand
that in advertising, you are selling a product or service. So
there is a commercial element right there from the first frame,
which is a manipulative element. At the end of the ad, you have
to convince the viewer to use the product or to use the service.
So the creativity gets restricted for commercial elements. But
in filmmaking, that restriction does not apply. In a film, you
have the freedom to express yourself. There is greater freedom
of expression. There is a greater opportunity to express your
'16 December' the first feature film made by you?
In Hindi, yes! In 1991 I made a Telugu film titled 'Manishi' starring
Subhalekha Sudhakar and Tulasi, which won me the Golden Nandi
award by the state Government of AP. I also got two more Nandi
awards in the form of 'best director' and 'best screenplay writer'
for the same film.
why did you stay away from movie direction for 10 years?
did not stay away from movie direction. Life just happens to you.
I was trying to make feature films. But I was not in a position
to make eye-to-eye anybody in the local area. I tried talking
to lots of producers, directors and heroes in Telugu film industry.
But nobody was interested in me.
one point of time, you were announced as a director for Nagarjuna's
years down the line, Nagarjuna and I got together and he really
appreciated my script. Then I developed the script for a major
Hindi film. Unfortunately, there were differences of opinions
with the producers. That's why I discontinued the project.
did '16 December' happened?
December' happened because iDream Productions and Bhairav films,
which is my banner, got together one fine moment in Bombay. IDream
productions has given the energy and scope to create a feature
film which is based on what we were all thinking as brand new
frontiers of filmmaking. It's very important thing what I am telling
you. Here you have a filmmaker, who has the vision and who are
capable of making film, but does not have funds necessary to do
such a film and does not have enough funds to push into the market.
And there is a production house in Bombay, which has the necessary
funds and which is looking for a similar kind of script, which
is completely departure from regular films. So it's a meeting
of two minds because we both understood that this stale period
in Hindi commercial cinema has to end at some point of time. Basically
it's a conviction born out of courage. We are taking a bold risk.
But, today facts are in our favor. We made a good film and public
is appreciating it.
different is the film '16 December'?
December' is a story centric film where as in Bollywood we have
Hero centric films. Hero centric films are not films. They are
called business proposals. In a business proposal, a hero dates
are obtained. A star director is there. A couple of stars are
brought together. Immediately, the business is done on the table
and the film is sold to the distributors. There afterwards, they
think of the story. When they think of the story, the hero wants
his heroism to be maintained through out the story. So the first
four reels are devoted to show what a great fellow the hero is,
how many girl friends he has, how many boy friends he has, how
much comedy he has, what is the size of his biceps, what is the
size of his triceps, this kind of nonsense. It goes on for 4 reels
and the interval is coming in two reels away. Since interval is
coming in two reels away, they create a story. Now a day, our
heroes want to have two heroines and three heroines. And each
girl should have her own song, her own costumes and her own makeup.
Songs in Swizerlands, four action sequences and two emotional
sequences! So ultimately what is happening is, it's a business
proposal, which is aimed at lifting the image of that particular
hero and make it a larger than life image. No body cares for the
audience. Nobody bothers weather the audience liked it or not.
At one point of time, audience liked that movie. But that audience
is not there anymore in theaters today. That audience is gone
20 years back. The filmmaker does not understand this, which is
why you see a string after string of flops. Somebody asked me
are you not taking risk by making a film like '16 December', which
is totally radical film. It's a commercial film, but radically
different film. This film is entirely story centric. There is
no hero, no heroine, no villain. There are only characters. I
never treated my heroine also as a girl. She is just like hero
only. Even the villain has human face. Hero has villainy face.
You can see a shade of gray in everybody. It's a kind of film
that shakes you. I tell them that its far greater risk to see
two bollywood and three Hollywood movies in the video tape and
make a sixth film, because the audience is sick of that. It's
a far lesser risk in trying and doing a radically different film.
I think the audience response says we did it right.
films make reference to Pakistan. Did you take any precautions
not to hurt the sensibilities of the people?
is no question of sensibilities. There is question of misconception.
Ever since 16 December 1971, when the Bangladesh war happened,
the Pakistan was broke into two pieces as Pakistan and Bangladesh.
From that day onwards, Pakistan has held India responsible for
the break up of their country, which is not true. India has nothing
to do with it. It's internal pressure, which broke the country
into two pieces. There was a war and surrender was signed. So
they blamed us so much so that even in the last year when the
President Musharaf on leaving Agra, he made a statement that they
have not forgotten 16 December 1971. It means they have viewed
that as a day of defeat. They viewed 16 December 1971 as a day
from which they should take revenge. They realized that they couldn't
take on India in a conventional war anymore. They don't have the
strength. That's how the idea of proxy war, cold war and the extremism
to break India into two pieces either with Punjab or Kashmir to
extract their revenge was born. So that date is historically important
to the entire region. That's why we are focused on the date to
bring the historical perspective to the film. But the film is
about a clear and present danger that exists in the Indian society.
The fact is that we are also so week and our political system
is so corrupt that we have internal enemy so much that we are
prone to be attacked from the outside and there is very little
we can about it. That is the kind of theme we are having, which
is geopolitically real and correct. On the top of it, we are making
a feature film. So the interest on the film also lies on the fact
that what ever you seen and you feel as an audience is true.
not just about the story of the 'Mogambo' who says 'Main India
Ko Thod Doonga'. It's not the Mogambo we are talking about. It's
the real enemy. The real enemy which can strike tomorrow.
has inspired you to take this theme for this film?
inspiration comes from the fact that you want to create a film,
which has a power of realism. Also as a citizen of this country,
I feel that there is not much nationalism in the real sense. For
example, any number of Bollywood or Tollywood heroes is doing
patriotic films by saying 'Mera Bharat Mahan' and they die in
film taking 11 bullets. But, what do they do after that? They
take black money from the producer and they fraud on the taxes.
Then how does that make them a patriot? You take at the reality.
Which hero is not taking black money today? Then how is he morally
qualified to do a patriotic film? So, you see the whole structure
is completely decadent and corrupt. It is got rotten from the
roots onwards. The system has gone rotten.
one of the things that inspired me to do this film is the Bombay
blast, which happened a few years back when about 1500 people
died in one day in Bombay city was not that the blast happened.
It's a very lesser known fact that the RDX was smuggled off coastal
Bombay and a customs inspector took a bribe of Rs 50,000/- (Rupee
fifty thousand only) and allowed the RDX in. Now I ask you what
is the price of destruction of Bombay. It's just fifty thousand
bucks. So with friends like these why do you need enemies? At
some point of time, some filmmaker has to say look the whole system.
All these things could be prevented yesterday. But, look at today!
Today, it's not possible. Today, cyber crime is there. Today,
the enemy is far more powerful. Today, it is required that we
should get our act together as a nation. We can't afford to be
like what we were yesterday anymore. That is the point I am bringing
in '16 December'.
you planning to show it to politicians?
yes! We have gone through the censors and we have got a U/A certificate,
which means the censor in their wisdom has seen and they have
not cut even a single visual from the film even though the film
goes on dangerous grounds. On the hard side of reality, you realize
that the knife is penetrating in your own flesh as an audience.
But still the censor said yes it has to go through. But it is
not an indecent film, not a vulgar film, not a brutally violent
film. There are sense and sensibilities that are maintained throughout
so that ultimately it appeals to your heart.
are your future productions?
are no future productions as far as feature films are concerned
as on date because we are so tired and completely drained out.
We need some rest before thinking of anything else. But we are
doing some other interesting products. You know that we have a
production house. We are going to do a major project for World
Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a series of
ad films on health care. I am going to work towards that now.
of visitors of idlebrain.com have some serious plans of entering
film direction. Do you have any tips for them?
you start directing a film, the important thing a person needs
is passion. That is a desperate need to create a self-expression.
It's like this. Let me explain it to you. Many years back, I was
a student of Karate and later I became an instructor. We used
to have lots of students coming in everyday, who had watched a
Bruce Lee film the previous evening. They saw how Bruce Lee was
doing and they said why don't we also learn Karate and they come
to class. In three days time, they used to get beaten up so badly
that they would pay three months fee and on the fourth day they
if you want to do direction like that then I wont advice to join
films. It's a long, hard, and painful route. It's not easy. You
have to be prepared to sacrifice. You have to be prepared to suffer.
You have to be prepared to go through a agonizing internal self
examination to know what you are worth, since every shot you take
shows what you are worth over there. If your ideas are not good
enough, you get ridiculed on the spot. You suffer defeat 100 times
a day and you have to over come that. And there is no goal in
sight. Victory is by no means assured. The journey is as important
as the destination. If the journey should be more important than
the destination, the destination is not to win an Oscar or to
be a Spielberg. That will never happen. The whole journey is the
process of going has to appeal to you. You should be prepared
to suffer and enjoy that suffering. In that case, yes! Become
a director. Otherwise no!
film field has a huge glamour. Why do the morning shows go houseful?
Who, in the world, can see the morning show? Can a student see
a morning show? No! Can a professional see a morning show? No!
Can a housewife see a morning show? No! Still they bunk schools,
classes and work to and they go to see a morning show, which means
that the film industry has a huge pull. That's why the industry
is surviving, because there are so many people who want to see
films. So it's quite natural for the people to want to get inside.
But, Inside is not so rosy. The grass is always greener on the