us about yourself and your background?
I am an MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Management, Pune. After
passing out from there, I had two options. I could either wear
a suit and tie and sit in front of a computer or do what I always
liked doing, which was trying and making a film. To tell you the
truth, I did not even own a still camera till I passed out from
my MBA. When all my friends were landing up in plush jobs, I joined
ace ad filmmaker Mr. Rajeev Menon as an assistant. That job could
not even fill the gas tank of my motorbike but I channeled it
to fulfill my dreams. My job consisted of carrying lens, boxes
and cameras. I think I was a quick learner as 3-4 months down
the line I was promoted as an assistant director and assistant
cameraman. 6 months down the line, I was doing shot-divisions
and setting up shoots. 9 months down the line, I handled the projects
independently. 10 months down the line, I quit the job to go abroad
and study in a place called Film and Television Workshop in USA.
I studied the course of cinematography. Then I moved to New York
and started working as a cameraman for small shoots. I shot videos
for small time musicians, artists and actors for little money.
I put all this stuff on a tape and I happened to show it to some
executives from Sony. They sponsored me to go to the Sony Institute
of Live Digital Video Technology in San Jose, CA. I studied the
course of Digital Online Editing. I became an online editor. I
came back to New York and worked as cameraman and online editor
for three years. Then I came back to India due to family compulsions.
months after I landed up here, I got an offer to act as a villain
in a film. Since I am a big guy (hefty personality) and had big
muscles, which I developed to operate cameras, they felt that
I could suit the role of villain. So I got offer in 6 six films
to act as a bad guy doing rapes and killing people. Then I ran
back to USA, as I realized that it's not my cup of tea. Then I
reconciled myself for a period of 3 months and came back to India.
I worked on a couple of projects (one of which is Suresh productions
venture with Venky as hero), which were supposed to take off.
That did not happen, as you cannot really know why things can't
happen in this industry. Everything looks like its happening and
suddenly you realize that its not happening. A project can get
delayed for n number of reasons in this industry. I am a very
impatient man. I can't sit idle for a minute. After coming here,
I learnt to understand and accept the delays. Delay is a part
of filmmaking all over the world. At one point of time, I started
acting in films half-heartedly. I did a film called Murari with
Krishna Vamsi. Just before signing up that film, I made up my
mind that it would be my last film as an actor.
have a company called Flying Frogs at Madras. We make ad films.
We served lots of advertising agencies like HTA and Lintas. To
make regional and national ad films is my basic business. Then
we put this film (Allari) together. We started the shooting on
24th January 2002. We planned a tight schedule on a tight budget.
As we are making film with new comers, it does not make business
sense to spend lots of money. We shot it to the budget and to
schedule (45 days). Everybody has been telling me that they liked
the audio of Allari. It would be more liked when they watched
it on the screen along with the visuals. The visuals are planned
to make it look like a non-Telugu film and a non-standard one.
I personally don't like listening to music by itself. I like relating
music to a visual. That's why I like music videos better. The
film is now into postproduction and we are planning to release
'Allari' on 10th May 2002.
did you prefer so many new comers in your film?
not the question of newcomer or the old timer. I had a set of
characters in my film and I was not going to go by any business
pressure that if I put an old timer I can create a certain amount
of business. What I tried to do is that I have a character. I
had him etched out firmly in my mind. And I found the people who
fit the character exactly. I have a hero, who is not good-looking;
heroines are not sex bombs and the character actors who are perfect
for their parts. For example, a standard industry person like
Sudha, Annapurna or Delhi Rajeswari would be given the role of
hero's mother. I have 3 sets of parents in 'Allari', out of which
two sets of parents would be constantly interacting with each
one set of parents, I wanted a dark old father and a young pretty
mother. So there was a mismatch, so that there is a reason to
create some tension between them. In other family, I wanted a
boyish looking old man and a fat dark wife. The man had to look
handsome and wife had to look very ugly and fat. I cast Kota Srinivasa
Rao for dark old man. He is perfect for that role with certain
amount of frustrated look in his face. He is not good looking
and is a terrific actor. For his wife, I signed a beautiful middle-aged
new comer. For heroine's father, I cast my dad because he is good-looking
man and if we put sporty cloths on him, he looks younger. He also
has comic disposition. I can pay him less too. For his wife role,
I had a problem. You can't find dark and ugly mothers in Telugu
film industry. I searched a lot for her and finally found a stage
artist called 'Subhashini' in somewhere near Bheemavaram. Finally
I had brought her down for a screen test. I just had one look
at her and decided that she is perfect for the role. She has done
a terrific job.
did your experiences of being editor and lens man help you as
a director for 'Allari'?
Yeah! It helped me a lot. Though I am a cameraman and editor,
I used newcomers for these jobs. The director looks at progression
of shots and style of shoot and the editor in me says me how much
length I have for this shot. The cameraman in me tells me what
is possible and what is not. So all these three guys in your mind
work together in synergy and come up with a decision very fast.
And you are able to execute the shot right.
you assist any film director?
might be some sets of rules about how to direct a Telugu film.
You must have broken most of them.
Yes. I have broken most of them. Some I broke because of ignorance
and some I broke because I felt like breaking. I don't know how
much of them would be accepted. I think I have broken them to
an acceptable limit, because I have shown the rushes to a few
people. Nobody complained. They all found that it's different.
kind of films do you watch regularly? Telugu, Hindi or English?
grew up on a diet of English films. I also like watching action
Hindi films by Amitab Bachchan.
about Telugu films?
latest Telugu films I have watched were Murari and Nuvvu Leka
you don't watch Telugu films regularly, how do you keep yourself
updated about the tastes Telugu audience and trends in Telugu
am able to fairly guess! There were a couple of films which were
hits and which were predominantly made for young audiences. As
a result, lots of wannabe producers and directors felt that dishing
out youth films by packaging them with fast numbers, new faces
to act and silly jokes would do the trick. That has become a trend.
Since lots of movies are made in this pattern, it has become monotonous
you take 70's and 80's genre American films like Karate Kids,
Scream or I know what you did last summer, which were made for
young audiences. They were also received well by all the section
of people, as they were well made and brilliantly executed films,
which had central theme, focused storyline, terrific performances
and great technical values.
people are getting fed up of watching too many new faces and people
are dying to watch films of stars. But there are not many stars
who are giving big hits now a days. We are in a kind of flux where
they are waiting for a big film from a big star and at the same
time they are ready to accept something different from younger
and newer people. That is where I cam trying to position my film.
This film is for the movie audiences who want to see the same
stuff executed and told to them in a fresh way.
you mind telling the budget of this film?
I can't disclose it.
us if it is more than a crore or not?
definitely more than one crore yaar!
it less than 2 crores?
can't reveal the budget now. I am doing the business of my film.
Revealing the budget at this point of time would affect my business
is the business for this film?
did not put any press meeting so far, as I want to make sure that
I make a complete film and then market it. I don't like boasting
about the film, which is in production phase. I want to see the
final work and then talk to press as a comfortable position. I
would feel guilty if I do a huge press release at the muhurat
and state that it would be a superhit and then make an average
film later. It also gives a wrong impression about me in the minds
is the contribution of 'Suresh Movie Film Distributors' to Allari?
are presenting the film. They are partly funding the project and
they are distributing it.
success rate of ad filmmakers turned directors is pretty less
in Telugu and Hindi. How do you feel about it being one among
the ad maker turned director?
don't you consider John Mathew Matthan, who made an excellent
film like Sarfarosh? I don't know why other ad filmmakers failed
to make it big in films. Had the technique overshadowed substance?
It might be a pure coincidence that lots of ad filmmakers did
not click in movie direction.
did you name your company as 'Flying Frogs'?
wanted a name for my company which people would remember when
I tell them for the first time. I did not want to call it as Ravi
productions or movies. I wanted to have a completely offbeat name,
which would go through straight.
you offer any suggestions for director wannabes?
am new myself. So I cant really offer any suggestions. But I would
tell you what I did. I am a guy who has been blessed with lots
of opportunities because of my father and the connections with
movie field. I strongly feel that one should stay focused. Stay
so focused that you would forget everything else and think this
is what you want to do and you have to do it and there are no
two ways about it. Just believe in yourself constantly. You may
have to meet people who do not want to meet you. You may have
to talk to some people who do not want to talk with you. You are
trying to write a script, which is not forming in your head. You
might constantly have acidic attacks because nothing is working
for you. You are not able to sleep at night and your personal
life is devastated. But still, I would say 'stay focused'. If
you stay focused and believe in yourself, it would definitely
happen to you!