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Interview with Jayant by Jeevi

: 8th November 2002 Venue: Rama Naidu Studios
Jayant is back into business after taking a short break with the release of Takkari Donga. He made class films with big heroes so far and for the first time, he changed his track and attempted his hand at a mass love story with two newcomers as the lead pair. met with Jayant for chitchat on 4th November 2002 (the day of Diwali). Here are the excerpts of that interview …..

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Tell us about Eeswar

This is the quickest project I have ever made. Normally one expects films, that have newcomers, to take a long time. Both Prabhas and Sridevi are new and they are wonderful. I am glad I am introducing both of them. The fact that I wrapped up this film in 45 days shows how good they are. Once you see the film you would realize how talented these kids are. They are going to stay in the field for a long time provided they select their projects carefully.

As far as my films are concerned, lasts two films did not run well. I made Ravoyi Chandamama with Hindi film touch and the audience told me point blank that if they would like to see a Hindi film they would rather go and see a Hindi film and not a Telugu film made like a Hindi film. For Takkari Donga, I gave it a feel of an English film. The audience again said if they wanted to watch an English film they would rather go and see a true English film. Now I decided to make a Telugu film (giggles).

When Deena Raj narrated the storyline to me, what fascinated me the most are the characterizations. About two/three characterizations run this film. I just fell in love with that. Eeswar is a character who lives in Dhoolpet (Old City). He is a school dropout a total brat who likes to hang out with his friends, having chai, sitting on the bike and wasting his time. He never misses the first day first show of any movie. He is an insensitive and very crude kind of a guy. Then a girl walks into his life, who is a very soft and sensitive person. She is a kind of girl who gets tears in her eyes at the drop of the hat. She gets scared whenever somebody raises their voice. The story is all about what happens when two people like these meet up. By the end of the film, the guy gets little softer and the girl becomes little bold. Revathy has a crucial part in this film. Her characterization is also wonderful. These are the three characterizations that drove me to accept this script. It is a very thin storyline.

This is a pucca Telugu film unlike my last two films. I am working with RP Patnaik for the first time. When I had music sittings with other music directors, we had the entire orchestra present with us. But with Patnaik, its just a one-to-one meeting. He is an RD Burman fan and I am an RD Burman fan too. We found common ground there. He would start singing and I would join him and that's how the songs of this film shaped up.

You made all love stories so far. You are known as a class director. I saw opening shot of this film where the hero mouths a dialogue like "aa eeswarudiki moodu kannulaithe … ee eeswarudi moodu gundelu. Okati preminchataaniki. Rendavadi kshamainchandaaniki. Moodavadi yeseyyadaaniki." Why are you attempting a mass film like this?

That dialogue was used for the muhurat shot and it is not there in the film. Generally, the muhurat shots are not kept in the movies. I have not departed from what I am good at. But this is a love story that is set in the old city. All my films earlier had the feel of upper middle class with glossy look. I felt that with Eeswar I should show the love story that happens in slums with raw look.

What is it with the lengthy 'Love never hides. It always fights' caption for this film?

The moment we write something in English, the masses can't understand. For the mass audience 'Eeswar' title is evident. This caption is to tell the class audiences that there is something in this film for them as well.

Don't you think the hero hanging out with a bunch of buddies is a cliched concept seen in many films like Seetakoka Chiluka, Prema Katha, Toli Prema, Jayam etc?

All teenagers hangout with their friends when they are in their teens. Probably it may give some deja vu feeling but thats a common trait of teenagers. Moreover , most of the films you mentioned have school-going heroes. But in Eeswar, the hero is a school dropout. He moves with a gang that has quite a bit of variety. There is one guy called GK, who thinks that he is the best when it comes to general knowledge. He thinks that he knows everything. But in reality he does not know anything. And the other guys are innocent enough to fall for his funny knowledge. When somebody asks who Jadeja is, this guy would reply that Jadeja is a football player. Other guys are dumb enough to believe him. All these characters are very raw. But there is innocence in all these characters. There is sincerity and honesty in the characters of hero and heroine as well.

We heard that Revathy is playing stepmother to Prabhas. Is that true?

Yes. She is doing the role of a stepmother to the hero and Siva Krishna is playing the father's role.

Does hero like his stepmother or not?

You should see the film to know that. Father, son and stepmother relationship is the backbone of this film.

Tell us about other debutant actors in this film?

I convinced C Kalyan (Producer of Bharatasimha Reddy) to act in this film. He is playing a cop. He has a hard face and a huge pouch (belly), which made me cast him for the role of a cop. In fact, I got a shirt made for him, which is so tight that his white banian [worn under the shirt] shows up through the folds of his khaki shirt. I also got my art director Krishna to act as GK (a guy in hero's gang). He is a discovery in this film. There are 3 more guys (Hari Krishna, Hanumanthu and Rambabu) whom I picked up from few cultural shows. I screen tested lot of people for different characters and I found that there is incredible talent out there which is waiting for the right break and right channel to get into. As I did not have more characters in this film, I blocked few of those guys for my future ventures.

What is the producer doing in this film?

He is playing the character of a villain which stays in movie for a very few minutes. We initially asked another technician to make his debut through this film by playing villain role, but later on he backed off by saying that he is not comfortable. (There were rumors that the technician asked for this role was Raviraja Pinisetty). Then we had to drag the producer Ashok Kumar to play the villain character.

You seem to have got your team of Deenaraj and Paruchuri brothers back to you. Is it because of the failures of your previous two ventures?

No. Initially I got excited when Deenaraj narrated the story to me. Since, Deenaraj cant write dialogues, and hence Paruchuri Brothers stepped in automatically. It just happened like that. It was not a planned one.

Why did you deviate from Mani Sharma for this film?

I love working with various music directors, though Mani is a thick friend of me. I worked with Mahesh (Preminchukundam Raa) and Ramana Gogula (Premate Idera) earlier. I will be doing a film with Mani immediately after Eeswar's release. It's a learning process and by working with different people we learn more. It's an enriching experience working with RP Patnaik.

Even for camera, Jayanan Vincent is the best guy to work with. But I have taken Jawahar Reddy for this film as Jayanan migrated to Canada.

What is the USP of Eeswar?

RP mentioned in a TV interview that he is known for melodious songs as well as Teen Maar songs (like Gajuwaka pilla and Ranu Ranantu). RP categorized Eeswar as a Teen Maar film. I would like to borrow his words to quote it as the USP for this film. There is tremendous energy from the first frame to the last frame.

How are the sales of the audio?

If Chiranjeevi is starring in a film, his audio sales would be 2-3 lakhs of units on the first day irrespective of the quality of the songs and the name of the music director. But for small heroes and debutants, we can't expect good opening sales. Interestingly, the audiomaker has got back to us by saying that the first bunch is gone and he has taken orders for a second bunch. We are very happy with the response. There are two Teen Maar songs. These two songs are instant hits and there is one beautiful melody as well. If the movie becomes a hit, all the songs would click well.

When is the movie releasing?

Its releasing on 11th of this month.

Don't you think Monday is an odd day?

Normally, we do not get good openings on Monday. But somebody told the producer that it's a good day. Ashok is a very religious kind of a guy. His guruji told him that Monday is a good day for Lord Shiva.

Do you have any special mention about Revathy's performance in this film?

I have known her for a long time and she is a close friend. Here is some exclusive news for She could be directing a film for JFC (Jayant Fulkrum Cinergies - the home banner of Jayant) very soon. She narrated a line which I liked a lot. This is not going to be a commercial cinema. Its going to be a Hinglish (Hindi + English) cinema like Monsoon Wedding and Mitr My Friend. I am looking forward to it.

Tell us about your future films?

I have old commitments that have been pending for a long time. I have a Durga Arts film with Venky and Jayabheri film with Nagarjuna. Mahesh Babu was here last night and we were discussing about a film we are going to do for JFC in the next year. These are the three films I am going to do.

The big heroes are changing the directors left, right and center. There is no firm commitment and assurance and everybody is eyeing for directors who gave immediate success. Do you have any words on this issue?

Nobody seems to be doing one definite film here. Earlier the hero, director and producer used to get together and decide that they are going to do in a project. Our heroes commit to so many projects at a time that there is so much of confusion about it. Its not just heroes. The same thing is happening with the directors as well. Directors do not seem to believing the stars. The stars do not seem to believing their producers and the producers do not seem to trusting the directors. Its like a vicious circle.

A new hanky system has come in. It's like a bus where everybody throws their hankies through the bus window on the seats to reserve them. That bus could be a director or a new hero or the producer. If this bus is not leaving on time or if some other bus comes there, suddenly these hankies come out of this bus and go into the new bus.

Nobody is working on a project here. Everybody is working on different proposals. This is not healthy at all and it would soon affect the industry. It's good to have new producers, new directors and new heroes coming in to the industry. But this hanky system is affecting the industry. The director narrates the same story to two big stars, which proves that certain directors do not have confidence in heroes. I don't want the Telugu industry go the Hindi industry way.

Did you watch any interesting Telugu film recently?

Recently I saw Jayam and I was so much impressed with it that I took Paruchuri brothers the next day so that they could also enjoy. With a single thread, Teja ran the entire film very well. I was so impressed with Teja's work that I called 20 people and asked them to go and watch Jayam. The entire second half ran with one point and the director sustained the interest. I also liked Idiot. The hero's characterization worked out very well in that.

Now tell us the reasons why Takkari Donga failed?

For me, it's a very good film. And Mahesh liked it immensely too. I don't think any producer or director would come forward to make such a film like that. Checkout the opening sequence in the film and the climax. And Mahesh did terrific daredevilry stuff like hanging down the train and climbing down the rocks using a thread etc. I think people went to Takkari Donga expecting an entertainer. They got a serious film. The funniest thing is that I have a comedy track, which I took off due to length problems. I observed that a few films like Hanuman Junction ran because of a couple of hilarious comedy scenes. I had six scenes like that which were canned on Surya, Raj and the dog. I did one wrong step in that direction and everything went haywire. It's a great film. I enjoyed making it. I watch that film on tape whenever I find some spare time. Technically, musically and visually Takkari Donga is the best film. I am proud of making Takkari Donga

Click here to read another interview by Jayant

Interviewed by Jeevi
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