Your Gateway
usa special
hyd scene
You are at Home > Celebs > Interview > Krishna Vamsi
Interview with Krishna Vamsi Part - 1 by Jeevi

: 16th July 1999 Venue: Nagarjuna Nagar Colony

It was 11:30am on 16th July 1999. I stopped at Door No: 8-3-898/28 of Nagarjuna Nagar Colony, Hyderabad. Mr. Ravi, brother of Krishna Vamsi, is waiting for me and told me that Krishna Vamsi is on the way from Annapurna Studios attending the dubbing work. After waiting for half an hour, I was introduced to Krishna Vamsi. I explained him about and the purpose of the interview. Then he told me that he want to concentrate on the interview and it will take at least 2 hours. He requested me to come at 4pm.

I went to Krishna Vamsi's residence at 4PM. One of the assistant directors of Krishna Vamsi told me that as he is in story discussions now, it may take a while for him to be free. At 4:15PM, Krishna Vamsi made himself available for the interview. Interview started at that time and lasted for 3 hours. Here is the story of a man called Krishna Vamsi .....

tell a friend

The making of Krishna Vamsi
(As told to Jeevi by Krishna Vamsi)

Till Post Graduation

I am a movie buff since my childhood. Since my father worked as Assistant Executive Engineer in PWD, we used to shift our place of living from one town to another town. I stayed in Rayalaseema for 2 and 1/2 years. I spent my childhood in Godari, Vizag and Ongole districts. From 8th class onwards I got addicted to movies. I used to watch all the movies that are released. My parents used to get fed up with my movie obsession. I used to steal money from parents to watch movies. I had gone to the extent of selling of valuable items in my home to watch films.

Technically, I got interested in movies when i was doing my B. Sc. in Tadepalligudem. I used to watch a movie a day. There were times, when I watched 5 movies a day. We used to go to Vijayawada, Rajahmundry, Tanuku and Vizag to watch Slick English Films and Hindi films. I used to watch Speilberg films, Bruce Lee films and films like Madmax, Exorcist, Enter the Dragon etc.

I got attracted to the glamour of the Film Industry. I wanted to get recognized by the people for my talent. I wanted to join films. But my father was very particular about me completing studies. After finishing my B. Sc., I applied for a film institute. My father wanted me to finish my PG. After my graduation I went to Agra for doing my MA in Agricultural Economics. The reason why I chosen Agra University was that my marks in B. Sc are not enough for fetching a seat in Andhra University for me. I can communicate well in Hindi. I did my course for 2 years in Agra. Though I used to be a movie freak, I never flunked in any exam. I used to pass all the exams in second class. After my PG., I spent six more months there before returning home

I returned home. My father did not allow me to join films. He restricted all my movements. I was house arrested for some time. I had a horrible time. I was forced to apply for Civil Service Exams. I started preparing for that. Mean time I worked as an exhibitor at Tadepalligudem. We used to hire films and exhibit them in Tadepalligudem theaters. I used to spend all my time doing that work. I used to sell tickets, cut tickets, check auditorium, sound system, projector etc. As Tadepalligudem is a pucca mass center, I used to observe the viewers reaction to various scenes in the film and I used to analyze the reason. I realized the importance of money factor in making films, when I interacted with distributors and theater owners. I chosen Madras as my exam center for civil services entrance exam. After going to Madras for giving exams, I did not return back to Tadepalligudem.

Struggles in Madras

At the age of 24, I finished my education. Initially I applied for the film institutes. Later on I started developing contacts. Palakollu is very near to Tadepalli Gudem. There used to be lot of Film Producers, Directors and Actors from Palakollu. I used to go there and try to make friends with the people who knew those filmy personalities. I had a distant relative called PS Prakash (he expired recently), a cameraman. I succeeded in obtaining a recommendation letter and approached him at Madras. When I met him, he asked about what I wanted to become. I did not have any answer for his question. I was not sure what I wanted to be. Then he advised me to join outdoor unit as a light boy. He also told me that it helps me in understanding how a movie is made.

I worked as a light boy for one and half months. Later on, I was taken in as the assistant camera man. I used observe and learn a lot about the functions of camera and the various technical aspects of doing a shot. At that time there was a new technical camera (very expensive) called ARRI3. That camera was used extensively, when fights and songs were pictured. That camera helps us in doing the slow motion sequence in a movie. I used to attend 4 to 5 shootings a day, done by different directors. I used to observe how directors work. I got an opportunity to read a few technical books on operating a camera. I used to read those books during night times and get clarified on practical implementation of theoretical techniques by the cameramen during the shooting.

At that time, and even now, fights and dances were directed by fight master and choreographer. Director presence was not needed. I used to ask those masters, how they would cut the scenes. I was even interested in editing. I used to visit Editing rooms and observe how they are cutting a particular shot. Then I used to analyze what I read from books and see if everything is done according the theoretical procedure. I used to learn from other's mistakes.

In 1987, I got the opportunity to join as an assistant director for a film produced by Silk Smitagaru. Silk Smitagaru was the first person who gave me money. She gave me Rs 500/-. And she got a very kind heart. I felt thrilled. For the first time in my life, I experienced the satisfaction of earning money. She was very kindhearted, humble, nice and formal. She had no ego. I sensed that she was struggling to produce the movie and people around are taking undue advantage. Though she was very friendly with me, I did not have enough to proximity to tell her about exploitation by others. Silk Smithagaru's film was stuck for 2 years.

I struggled a lot during that time. For six months, I had to survive eating one lunch for 2 days. There were times when I did not have food for 4 days. I used to visit all the famous directors like Dasari, Kodi, Pinisetti, Kodanda rami Reddy for a job. Unfortunately they had their own groups and setups. I had no money. I used to walk for 10 km at a stretch for meeting all the directors.

After 2 years, Silk Smithagaru's film editing was going on. Goutam Raju was the editor. Goutam Raju used to be very kind to me. He might have observed the spark and interest in me. He used to allow me to stay with him while he was doing editing. I used to watch him at his work and assist him in editing. At that point of time I got met an assistant director called Siva Nageswara Rao. He was the co-director for Mr. Babu Rajendra Singh, who was doing a film called 'Prema Yuddam' for Nag and Amala. Siva Nageswara Rao was very experienced and a hot property as a co-director. Goutam Raju requested Siva Nageswara Rao to help me out by giving me a job. Likewise, Gowtam Raju used to ask directors like Mohan Gandhi, Muthyala Subhaiah to help me out.

Enter Varma School

One fine day, Siva Nageswara Rao met me accidentally at the editing room and told me that he was going to work as a co-director to a film produced by Annapurna Studios. That film would be directed by a new person called Ram Gopal Varma. He asked me if I was interested in working as an assistant director. I used to be a great fan of Akkineni Nageswara Rao. Ten years prior to that, I visited Hyderabad to see Akkineni Nageswara Rao. I could not meet him in spite of waiting out side the gate of Annapurna Studios for 8 hours in hot summer. It was a great opportunity to work for Annapurna Studios. At that time scope films were very less. I was told that Annapurna's film would e made in scope.

Everybody used to criticize Annapurna Studios and Nag's decision to make Ram Gopal Varma, a small time video parlor owner, direct their venture. They used to think that Ram Gopal Varma got a chance because of his father's friendship Akkineni Nageswara Rao.

But for me it was a means of survival in the industry and a matter of bread and butter. I gladly accepted that offer. Then it turned out to be a big farce. I used to call Siva Nageswara Rao up and request him about the job. He used to say 'later'. Then I got suspicious that he might have taken someone else for that job. That thought got on my nerves. I used to irritate him over phones. He got so wild that he shouted me over phone not to call him up again.

One fine day, I was standing out side the office of Annapurna, Madras smoking a cigarette. Two people crossed me, who ere entering Annapurna office. One of them was staring at me. I expected the guy, who stared at me to be a relative of Nag. Siva Nageswara Rao called me inside and introduced me to the same guy who stared at me. I got the shock of my life when Siva Nageswara Rao told me that I was introduced to, none other than, Ram Gopal Varma. As I was aware that Ramuji was a boxer, I expected him to look like a hunk. Ramuji greeted me and asked me about my experience. I gladly lied to him that I worked as an assistant director for 7 films. I also boasted that I worked under Balachander for a few Tamil films, thinking that he does not know about Tamil films. Then he posed a few questions about editing and direction. I responded with the right answers. He was satisfied and told me that I was qualified and asked me to meet him in Hyderabad. Those managers of Madras were not keen on me going to Hyderabad.

I boarded my train to Hyderabad. Then I entered the Annapurna studios. Initially the staff out there thought that I was a costumes guy from Madras. Then Siva Nageswara Rao and Ramuji met me. Ramuji gave me the script and asked me to read it and tell him my opinion. I read it and felt nothing exciting about the script. If I told them that the script was bad then Ramuji might take me out of project. So I told him that Script was nice. Then he asked me what i felt so nice about the script. I did not not know what to say. Then I told him that I did not understand what is written inside. But by the look of it, it looked like an action film. As Ramuji was new to camera, we started doing rehearsals. My job was to assist Ramuji technically. We used to shoot outdoors with local artists using a video camera. I used to control the crowds, who come to see the shoot.

Then the real shooting started. I started realizing the depth and strength of Ramuji as a film maker. Whatever little I read (glamour of the films, nuances, implementation of the emotions, how to conceive a scene and how to execute that scene and how to edit that scene) in the books, I could see that being applied by Ramuji in the making of 'Shiva'. Though I was aware of all these concepts, I could realize the impact of it by looking at Ramuji's implementation of those concepts. By the time shooting of Shiva was over, I became the most important person in the team. I got grip over certain aspects of film making I could get command over all departments. From Shiva (Hindi) onwards I was an important part of the whole team. Later on, I worked with Ramuji for KshanaKshanam, Raat, Rathri, Antham, Drohi and Gayam.

Dilly dallying with Direction

After Gayam, Ramuji wanted me to direct a film under his banner. He asked me to come up with a script. I was nervous and modest in the beginning. Then he forced me to accept his offer. I came up with a story line which was very much liked by him. Then I prepared a script for the same story line. Then Ramuji and me had a difference of opinions about how to go about it. After prolonged discussions Ramuji decided it will not workout for us. Then I worked as an assistant director for Money. Money, directed by Siva Nageswara Rao, became a runaway success.

Ramuji wanted to make a sequel to 'Money', as no sequel had happened in India. And he wanted me to direct 'Money Money'. I expressed my reservations that I did not want to launch myself with this kind of film. Then he told me that I had to direct it. I kept a condition that my name must not be there in the titles (ghost direction). He assured me that if i see the finished product, I myself would ask for the credit. Then 'Money Money' was started under my direction. I tried all types of techniques and experimented with it. In that film I shot one song with just four shots (Kota song 'em kompa munagadoi') and another one with 357 shots (Chakri and Surabhi duet 'Left and Right endukanta' at Golkonda Fort). The Kota song took 6 hours to shoot and the Chakri duet took 6 days. Ramuji scolded me about my inconsistancy. May be, I was selfish in taking that film as a rehearsal for launching my directorial debuet. I finished that film. Ramuji gave me a choice to change my mind about the director's name. After my refusal to it, Ramuji requested Siva Nageswara Rao to lend his name and it was released. I detached myself from that film.

After seeing the texture, format of 'Money Money' and the way I handled the artists in 'Money Money', Ramuji started 'Anaganaga Oka Roju' with me as the official director. That title 'Anaganaga Oka Roju' was suggested by me. It was a crime thriller with Ramuji favorite idea of ' the couple on run' (KshanaKshanam, Govinda Govinda, Daud and Anaganaga Oka Roju). As the shooting progressed, there were a few difference of opinions about what I visualized for that film and what Ramuji expected of it. I shot a chase scene in that film ( bikes and fiat car) and three sequences. After two schedules, Ramuji realized that the accounts for that film are going haywire. Then Ramuji called me up and told me that he would lose to the tune of 2 crores if I continue directing this film. He asked me what should he do. I accepted that it was fault of doing over budgeting, as I was very keen to prove myself and working too hard to reach my expectations. Then I told Ramu that whatever he does is acceptable to me. Then Ramu told me that he would direct the film. He asked me to go and search for the projects with other producers. Then I told him that I was willing to work as an assistant to him.

During the making of 'Antham', Nag asked me if I had any interesting story line for him. He was willing to give me a chance. I was looking for a suitable story line. I saw a paper news about 'Ameena'. 'Ameena' sold a 14 year old girl to a 70 year old Dubai Sheik. Later on that girl was rescued by 'Amita Nangia', an Air Hostess. Then I adapted that point and did backward integration. I had chosen that point as the climax. Then I had to develop a love backdrop that had violence, action and emotions. That story should suit the image of Nag. It should make an impact like Shiva, yet it must have the mark of Krishna Vamsi. The script came up very well. But it needed a huge budget. Due to that reason, I changed my opinion and made it suit for a small budget film.

Since Chakri was very good friend of me and acted in two of my films, 'money money' and 'anaganaga oka roju', I wanted him to be hero in this film. So I changed the whole plot except for climax that happened in the airport. Then I got the script ready. I narrated it to my close friends and they immensely liked it. Then I started narrating it to the outsiders, especially to women (wives or girl friends of my friends) . Some of them cried after listening to the story. At that time Rasool was the cameraman for Varma's films. Myself and Rasool were very good friends. I narrated the story to Rasool and he was impressed and told me that I need to cast a very good heroine for the film. Then I narrated it to Sameer (Cameraman for 'Seetaramaraju'), nephew of Rasool. Sameer cried after listening to the story. Sameer told me that Taboo will be the best cast for the heroine role. As Sameer knew Taboo well, I narrated story to her. I gave Taboo a two and half hours narration and Taboo started crying from the 5th real onwards. Then Taboo told me that she would do that project at any cost. Then I expressed my concern that I would not pay her much and I would not provide her a stay in expensive hotels. I wanted to make that film in 50 days with a budget of 50 lacs. Then Taboo told me that she was willing to stay at her relatives house and she would come in her own car to shooting. She was ready to compromise on her remuneration. As the stage was getting ready for the launch of film, suddenly these guys started developing a cold feet. I started knocking the doors for chances, once again!


Ramuji was busy with 'Rangeela' in Bombay. When he came to Hyderabad, he heard about my script. He called me and asked about what was I doing. I told him that I was ready with a Script. Then he asked me about the budget for that film. I told him 50 lacs. Then he smiled at me and told that if I make a film for him it would cost 2.5 crore, else I would make a film for just 50 lacs. Incidentally the cost incurred for the shooting of two schedules for 'anaganaga oka roju' was 54 lacs. As we all ways had the difference of opinions when it come to the emotion of the film, Ramuji told me that he would set this project up for me and he would not interfere in the project. He added that the budget for the film would be 75 lacs. Ramuji was reluctant to listen to script. He told me that he would watch it in public theater after the release of the movie. The only constraint he fixed for this project was the budget. As long as I control the budget under 75 lacs he would not be interfering.

Suresh Babu was also keen on doing film with me, as he came to know about my script. He was trying to locate me. At the same time, he wanted to enquire Ramuji about me regarding 'Anaganaga oka roju' budget fiasco. Ramuji gave me a choice of Suresh being the producer as he too was keen to produce a movie with me. When I approached Suresh, he made it clear that he must be convinced about the script before starting up the project. I had two options. One was to go for the Varma's film that would give me creative freedom and no-interference and other one was to go for Suresh's film where I need to prove myself. Obviously, I preferred the choice number one.

When Anaganaga Oka Roju announced, many Big heroes sent feelers that they were willing to work with me. When I was thrown out of 'Anaganaga Oka Roju', I approached all of them only to get politely rejected. When I approached Jagapathi Babu, he told me that he needed big banners and big directors, as he could not do experimentation at that time. He assured that he would do a film for me later. I was really frustrated. I was having an excellent script. I was capable of doing very good job. Still I was not getting any chances.

All that frustration turned into a constructive (innocent) revenge when I was offered to direct Gulabi by Varma.

Chakri was a small time unestablished hero. Maheswari was branded that she is not fit for a role of lover gal. Sashi Preetam was a non-entity. He was so raw about cine songs that he did not know how many minutes a song last. I used to sit with him during nights and days and screw him to deliver the songs. Jeeva left the industry 10 years back. He was in Guntur. I searched for him and got him. Chalapati rao, who was doing the rowdy characters, was given a soft role as a father of the heroine. Chandra Mohan was the only senior established actor acted in Gulabi. I picked the raw people up so that they suit our budget. At that time nobody was willing to do their recording at Ramanaidu studio. After six months of its inception, I recorded the first song (e rojaithe choosano ninnu) in that studio, as that song uses minimum number of instruments. We did back drop score and mixing in that studio. Gulabi was the first movie to be recorded in Ramanaidu Recording Theaters.

During the production of Gulabi, we used to have fun doing mischief's. Then thing started rolling like loving gals, line maroing a gal and pataoing gals over the sets. During that time I understood the psychology of youngsters. We used to fight and had a lot of fun. During that time myself and Chakri developed a misunderstandings.

Incidentally, Nag was looking for a female to cast as a second heroine in his 'Ramudochadu'. Somebody told him that Maheswari was looking damn good in Gulabi. So Nag requested me to send him two songs so that he can decide on choosing Maheswari for that role. As my assistant directors could not separate scenes from the songs, they sent the leads scenes together with songs. He was very impressed the way I handled that lead scene. I got a call from Nag immediately.

I went to Nag's place after four days as I was busy doing post production work of the Gulabi. Then Nag asked me if I was interested in doing a film for him. I was totally shocked, as he was one of those famous heroes, who sent feelers that they were willing to work with me during the days of 'Anaganaga Oka Roju' and later on gave me a cold treatment. Then I acted smart by saying that Nag had not seen the whole film of Gulabi. I started throwing tantrums by saying I had to think over it. Then he scolded me thoroughly and made me accept his offer. I was keen on showing him the result of Gulabi before accepting his proposal. But, Nag was the least person to care about the box office fate of Gulabi. He offered me a film by Annapurna Studios. He asked me to take my own time and come up with a suitable subject. On the next day, much prior to the release of Gulabi, Nag made an announcement of his project with me. After the first copy of Gulabi came, i shown it to Nag. As everybody was raving about the film, Nag told me that the second half of the movie was not good, as there was too much of violence. And he told me that first half was very good. I can understand his concern about second half, as he was very sensitive person by heart and he could not stand too much of violence. Nevertheless, he made sure that he would make a film with me.

Ninne Pelladatha

Then I thought of a subject for Nag and went to Vizag to have a look at the locations (Incidentally, that same subject is getting a shape now as 'Samudram'). I got a feedback from numerous teenage people that the second half of 'Gulabi' is very violent. Some other people complimented(?) that Gulabi is like a Ramuji's Film. I got disappointed, as I did not want myself to be compared with Ramuji. I wanted to be different and to make a mark of Krishna Vamsi.

Then I decided to shelve the subject of violence and do a film that is sans violence (contrast to Gulabi) and it should have total entertainment and that subject must not be touched by Ram Gopal Varma.

I wanted to do the casting with unestablished and failed actors/technicians and wanted to show the world that I can do it!! At that time i have seen Hum Aapke hain Kaun (HAHK) and Dilwale Dulhania Lejayenge (DDLJ). Then I decided that I should go that way. Then I called Nag up from Vizag and told him that the original story line was shelved and I had a different subject in my mind. I came back to Hyd and went to 'Ramudochadu' shooting and narrated the story line of 'Ninne Pelladatha' for 3 minutes. After listening to the story line, Nag went to the shot without saying a word to me.

Then I developed that subject. Though DDLJ and HAHK kind of culture is not existing in telugu people, I had to convince the people about it. DDLJ and HAHK does not have any reality in it, as they were just idealized dreamy set ups. Though, I did not want the format of DDLJ and HAHK (as they were not native for us), I wanted to capture the soul of those films and make it adaptable to the telugu people. With in 15 days, the script was ready. Then I gave a final hearing to Nag and he liked it. Finally the project was happening. We started searching for heroine. I have inspected about 65 gals from Bombay and Madras and we were not convinced. Suddenly we realized that Taboo was the right gal for that role. I traced her and met her at the Vile Parle (w) ( apposite to the domestic airport, Bombay). We were standing on the road amidst heavy traffic and she asked to narrate the subject. I did it in a couple of minutes and she was impressed and asked me to finalize her for the project. Then I met her in Madras to narrate the whole script. She was on cloud 9. Then 'Ninne Pelladatha' happened. The rest is, as they say, history.

'Ninne Pelladatha' became a blockbuster. But I had no excessive joy for the success of that film, as I started detaching myself from my films fate at box office. There were so many reasons for the success of Ninne Pelladatha. Only Nag could do that role with perfection. No other heroine, sans Sridevi, could look as sensuous and serene as Taboo in a saree. For Gulabi and Ninne pelladatha, I was complimented that the dialogues were very realistic. I continued that trend of delivering natural dialogues for the rest of my movies.


The motive behind my home production was the ambition to come up with a film that complements my creative urge towards a social awareness. If you look at the film producers of present generation, there are very few film makers are there. Remaining of them are businessmen. All these producers wanted my name to be associated with their films, but not my creative work. They wanted me to make another 'Ninne Pelladatha' or 'Gulabi'.

I wanted to make a film that gives entertainment and message that is worth their money and three hours of time. I wanted to work with youngsters and talented, yet unrecognized people. At that time, I happened to see 'Bad Boys', which influenced me a lot. I wanted to make that kind of film in our village backdrop. I wanted to show the beauty of Godari using all our nativity.

I observed that important and innocent people were getting killed in the social movement and for our society. There were people like Vyas, who were killed while they were doing their duty and working for society. I wanted to show why these guys were sacrificing their lives? For whom they were doing it? In spite of them sacrificing their lives for us, we are treating them as just news paper cuttings.

Slowly the urge to find the truth about these killing became a devil in me and it was urging me to make a film about that issue. Then I started watching all these red films (erra cinemalu). I found those films to be very crude and raw. For every film, they were giving same solution to take the gun and kill the people.

I captured that point from Erra Cinemalu and began the film. Opening shot of Sindhuram describes about what would happen if you a take a gun and kill the people. I did a research about the people, who were joining the naxlite movements. Why were the medical and engineering students preferring guns to their education? I started realizing the real stories behind these new paper cuttings. I wanted people to understand about the people who were giving their lives for our good.

Then the 'Sindhuram' shaped up. We knew that this film was not going to have universal acceptance and it was aimed at a particular section of people. All the big people of the industry advised me to change the 20 minutes (in second half) of sequence in that film, so that it would become a super hit. As I was doing that film with a purpose and commitment, I did not heed their advice.

Regarding the casting of RaviTeja and Brahmaji, I wanted to show that hero need not be a type cast. I knew Brahmaji for a longtime and he was good at acting and looks. RaviTeja was the assistant director for me in 'Ninne Pelladatha' and I liked his imitating skills, walking style and crankiness. After the release of the film, I lost so much money. I did not care. I gained lot of popularity and respect. I am very very proud of 'Sindhuram' and its very dear to me. I have no regrets for making that film. I can proudly say that its my best film till date (26th july 1999). It was an achievement. I do identify myself with Sindhuram. All the characters are part of mine. My anger, mischief, failure, innocence was reflected in the characters of Sindhuram.


After Sindhuram, I was emotionally exhausted. At that time Nag and Ram Prasad were searching for a director. Nag casually asked me to come and watch the malayalam 'Chandralekha'. I liked the film. Then I asked Nag if I could direct that films. And Nag jumped at that prospect. He asked me if I was ready do a remake. Then i told him that I was a game. There is nothing wrong with doing a remake as long as I like it. I did not want to be branded myself as an unapproachable and tough guy. I never considered doing remake as a demeaning and degrading thing. As Fazal and Priyadarshani were involved with the original and there was a lot of scope for the hero to emote, I got convinced more about the project.

When 'Chandralekha' was announced, people started thinking that Nag bailed me out of my financial problems and as a favor I was doing a film for him. Nag and myself knew during the shooting of the film that it would not be a very well receivable film like 'Ninne pelladatha'. On the day I saw the first copy of 'Chandra Lekha', I told Nag that ChandraLekha would not run. But Nag was very happy to have made a sensible film. Later on I have not seen that film in public theater and I was insensitive to the feed back for that film as the soul of that film does not belong to me.


A couple of years prior to that, somebody gave me the cassette of a tele film 'Not without my daughter', which was based on the real story of Mrs. Betty Mohammed. She was an american girl married to an Iraqi guy. That film was about her experiences in Iraq. I loved that film very much. My mood was disturbed for 3 days as those incidents were lingering in my heart. Later on I came to know that all our top directors and heroines have made attempts to remake that movie, in vein, as they had no clue about how to adapt. That film was about an educated and sophisticated female go to a place where the primitive culture exists and how she fights her self out of that situation. Immediately I captured the soul of that movie.

Then Bharadwaja and Kiran approached me to make a film for them. When I was thrown out of 'Anaganaga Oka Roju', Bharadwaja was the only person who encouraged me. At that time he called me and asked me to narrate the script. After listening to that script he told me that he did not have that much of money to make a big budgeted film and asked me if I could come up with script for a small budget film.

After the release of 'ChandraLekha', Bharadwaja told me that he was in financial mess. Then I narrated the story of Indianized version of 'Not without my daughter'. Narration went like this ..... ' There is an Indian girl in Mauritius .... an island with abandoned water .. a beautiful place ... that girl goes to Rayalaseema that was boiling in factionalism and she struggles to come back.'

After listening to story line Bharadwaja told me that he was trying to indianize that 'Not without my daughter' to make a film for a long time. Along with the script of Anthahpuram I also told him two commercial story lines. But Bharadwaja picked up the 'Anthahpuram'.

Then I worked over the script of 'Anthahpuram'. There were two standards of living, two different environments, two contrasting ways of expressing same opinion. There I identified the heroine called 'Bhanumati'. How does she traverse from Mauritius to Rayalaseema and go back to Mauritius. What her struggles were.

After the script was ready, I wanted Aravind Swamy to play the role of Bhanumati husband. Soundarya was Bharadwaja's choice, as she had good market. I was not keen on sporting soundarya for that role, as I thought she was a normal actress ( Later on I realized that she is very sensible actress). I wanted to sport a new heroine. I approached Aravind Swamy. He liked the script. But he told me that he was not keen on doing straight telugu films, as he had a bad experience with a telugu film. He also told me that he was very uncomfortable with the pronunciation of telugu language. He was ready to do it, if it was made in Tamil. He told that he was regretting his decision of missing a good film. I was even ready to shoot all his sequences in Tamil and dub it in telugu. Then Aravind told that he does not want to do injustice to the role. I started searching an actor for that role. Then I asked Jagapathi Babu to do that role. Jagapathi Babu refused to do that role, as he all ready played loads of characters of Hubby . Instead, he asked me if he could do the other role, which was decided for RaviTeja. So I casted Saikumar and Jagapathi Babu for those two roles.

While making 'Chandralekha', we had lots of financial problems due to the effect of 'Sindhuram' and 'ChandraLekha'. All the artists like Jagapathi Babu, Soundarya, Saikuar and Prakash Raj were going through a lean phase at that time. Due to that I could not even got a reasonable budget for that film as the producers could not afford it. There were some date problems too.

When 'Anthahpuram' was released there was bad talk in the beginning. It takes them to digest the violent and hard hitting film. Slowly it picked up.

If I look back and see ... I find 'Anthahpuram' to be emotionally good .. but the format was not what I have conceived. The Impact was not there. The 'Anthahpuram' was just 15% to 20 % of what I conceived and what it should have been. It was appreciated by viewers. Got a few awards. It was pretty nice. But I am not proud of 'Anthahpuram'.

The subject of 'Anthahpuram' is very dear to me. I want to remake it into Hindi in the way I wanted. Three Bombay based Big producers have shown interest. Negotiation are going on.


My next venture is Samudram. This film is about an innocent person called Sagar, who was implicated and framed for a murder done by somebody else. Being a normal and common man, how Sagar will react and what will happen. Its a film with realistic touch.

Jagapahi Babu is playing Sagar character. Saakshi Sivanand, the cute babe, is playing the female lead. Prakash Raj is playing the role called 'Pasupuleti NukaRaju'. No. 124 constable. An innocent, bold and little educated man, he is. That role is a welcoming change for him as it is different from his earlier typecast evil roles. In this film he is doing a role of humble and low esteem man that is quite contrast with his earlier roles that have the force to reckon with.

Sivaji Raja shocked me with his acting in this film. He has an excellent ability as an actor. He is playing the Evil Cop in this movie. Srihari is playing the good Inspector role. Tanikella Bharani is playing the main villain role of 'Chepala Krishna'. RaviTeja, my friend, is doing a villain character in this film. Shashi Preetam is doing the music for this film.

Q & A section

How to make a film?

Aaagh! It is not an easy question to answer. You need a story. Then you need to know all the technical aspects and requirements of a cinema. You must know what kind of films people are watching and what kind of films people will like. You need to know hwhat is screen play. How to play story on the screen visually. You need to interact and deal with interesting, idiotic, tough, rough, un cooperating and sober people on the sets. With in the time frame, you need to execute the scene perfectly the way you perceived it without losing the impact. You need to convince the producer, who is a 'chintapandu vyapari', about budget . Your producer cannot understand what you are talking about. He will get attracted and spend more money only if the scene you propose to him resembles any of the scenes of the latest hit film. When you want to make your kind of cinema, you need to be convinced and confident of of your perception. It is not the personal perception of yourself. You need to have the perception of the market, the industry, people around you and the centers.

If you compare the people of Hyderabad and Tadepalli Gudem, they are not the same. Though, feelings are universally unique, the language choosen to express their feelings is different. If you want to scold, people in Hyderabad say 'Badakhov' and the same feeling is expressed as 'yedava na kodaka' in tadepalligudem. If you say 'Badakhov' in Hyderabad, they do take it seriously. If u say 'yedava na kodaka', they laugh at us. If I say 'Badakhov' in Tadepalligudem, they laugh at me. 'Yedava Na Kodaka' is a serious word out there. You must know the difference. Even people in the same city are different.

If you go to a theater, the viewer sitting in balcony is an educated, rich one and comes with his girl friend in a car. He will always compare the films that are released in the recent past with this movie. He starts comparing films seen in Sangeet theater like Matrix with Anthahpuram.

In the same theater, there is another section of people, who are viewing movie sitting on the floor or bench. His status, standard, education, understanding and thinking level are entirely different. You must attract and live up to their expectations of a cinema. Once the lights are off and the flickering images of movie are shown on the screen, all the viewers become infants. But to make all the people innocents and infants in the theater, your film has to be as good as 'Sankarabharanam' or 'Hum Aapke Hain kaun'. Viewers from all sections start enjoying the movie with equal interest. No one knows to make a film like 'Sankarabharam', it just happens.

One more important factor is casting for a film. You know how exactly your characters are going to behaving on the screen. For that reason you need to choose the right actor. Your actor might not have the same intelligence of your character. You need to make your actor understand the character. And every time one can't get an artist like Prakash Raj. Prakash Raj is a thinking actor. At the same time that right person you chosen must have the market as an actor and should have the acceptance by the viewers.

Then your technical team of assistant directors, cameraman and editor come into play. You must concentrate on locations. You must know the time limit and budget. You must be able to finish the film with in the budget. The art of movie making cannot be explained in this limited time.

What's your advice for the youngsters who are interested in doing direction.

My sincere advice for them is to work for 8 years in the industry at various levels (from Light boy to assistant director). After 2 years of working, you can get the confidence that you can direct a film. But I have waited. Even after I conceived things and executed things, I waited for 4 years. I think, today my success lies in the hard work I have done for so many years at various level in the film industry. It comes natural for me to deal any sort of situation. As a director you will be having a problem every other second and you must be prepared to do the crisis management. After that mixing, dubbing, editing, back ground score must be done with your creativity. Sound plays an important role in the film. You have to decide the sound when you write your screenplay. But unfortunately most of the director think about sound when they are doing mixing.

Who writes the screenplay? Director or Dialogue Writer?

Dialogues are the part of screenplay. There is no separate section called dialogues.

What is the difference between Story line, Story, Script, Dialogues, Screenplay and Direction?

When somebody asks you the about the film, you cannot narrate 2 and half hours of movie on the spot. Then you tell story line. For Gulabi story line is 'When an innocent rich girl was sold to an Arab Sheik and her lover fights and rescues her from the clutches of Arab Sheik at the airport'.

Now lets come to story. There is a town. There is used to be a guy called Chakri, who used to enjoy life with friends. He has a father and no mother. Suddenly Chakri started receiving blank calls from gal and she used to tease. She talks as if she is observing him online. Then they started loving each other. By the time of Interval, a close friend of Chakri sells heroine off to brothels. Then Chakri searches for that guy and finds him. He tells her whereabouts to Chakri. Finally Chakri saves her from villains. This is the story.

Now we will come to screenplay. The person who 'knows' the story writing, direction and screenplay must have to ability to capture the moods of viewers and arrest them in the cinema hall. Now we have to tell the story in a very effective way to the viewers. In Gulabi lets take the brothel scene and keep it in the beginning. Trade of girls going on at a brothel house. One of those girls tried to escape and got caught. The girl who tried to rescue that girl was captured and was burnt alive using kerosene. As that girl is getting burnt alive ...... cut ... there is a girl relaxing on her luxurious bed.

If you narrate your story like this, the curiosity of the viewer gets aroused. This is called screenplay. How you narrate your story to the viewers. How effectively you play the story on the screen. Screenplay consists of dialogues. That is why there is no title card for a dialogue writer in Hollywood. Here in our films our directors do not know what screenplay is. That is why they call a dialogue writer and ask him to come up with the punch dialogues.

Script is nothing but the compiled collection of story line, story, screenplay and dialogues. Its a bounded book.

Direction is a different ball game all together. When on sets, a director is not bothered about all the above things. He picks up his scene paper. Reads it and thinks about how effectively he can execute that scene on the screen without losing impact.

That is why the director does not have the right over the cut in Hollywood. A script is given to them and he has to execute the scenes. Most of the directors do not even have the to right to enter the editing room in hollywood, except for a few like Steven Speilberg, John Lucas etc. Because of this reason most of the famous directors produce their own films so that they have command over each and every department. John Lucas seduced the producers with a 14 page script for Starwars.

What is the role of Dialogue Writers in your film?

For me, there is no dialogue writer. I don't believe in a separate department called dialogues. I do write my own dialogues most of the time with the help of my group of friends and technicians. We discuss about the type of character and his language, slang, diction or accent. Then we do come up with our own dialogues. For example, we used to talk words like 'Revulo Thadichettu' in our home. We do use all that

But whose name will be credited for dialogues in the titles?

I do credit it to somebody as I do not want to put my name for dialogues.

How many assistant director do you have?

There are 8 of them. I have chosen them very carefully. All of them are intelligent and well educated. They are well versed with the art of film making. We are like a family. No formalities and no special treatment for any one. I learnt it from my Boss, Ramuji.

Why did u keep your Andhra Talkies as your home banner name? Is it inspired by Madras talkies of mani Ratnam.

When we decided to make a film on my own banner we started searching for a suitable name. Then I thought of using 'Godavari Entertainments' as I belong to Godavari dist. My friends started saying that I am regionalizing it to particular district of AP. Then I argued that Godari belongs to many states. Then we thought of 'Alluri Seetarama Raju Art Movies'. Then we thought of 'Kakatiya Entertainments'. Then I thought of 'Nannaya, Tikkana, errapragada' etc etc. I did also considered 'Chalam', as I like his books and his attitude towards life. As we were under dilemma, I announced that I will keep my banner name as 'Andhra Talkies'. And there was no resistance over that name. Incidentally, mani also kept his banner name as Madras talkies for his 'Iddaru'.

Do u feel happy if someone come and say that you did very well in a particular shot?

I do not get affected by criticism as i don't care for them. If somebody comes me and tells me that i did take a particular shot well, i do not get excited as the person, who is giving compliments might not know what he was telling. He does not know the effort and creative aspect that has gone into making that shot so good. If a man with a caliber of Ramuji and Manirathnam tells me about any of my shot, I get excited.

Being aware of the fact that 'Chandralekha' was inspired by 'While you are sleeping', why did you remake 'Chandralekha'?

At that time I was aware of the fact that Chandralekha was inspired by 'While You are sleeping'. But Nag had already bought the remake rights for huge amount. So I had to follow it.

In 'Anthahpuram', the characters of Prakash Raj and Jagapathi Babu never meet. Was it intentional (because you were going to partially dub/remake into Tamil?

No It was a pure coincidence.

In your movies, you are not sporting regular comedians like Brahmanandam, Kota and Babu Mohan. Why?

I think they are over exposed. And I did not find a right character for them.

What's your opinion about controvarsary over Nandi Awards for Anthahpuram?


One more question on Anthahpuram. I must be asking this question to the producer. Why were the censored scenes exhibited in the cinema halls for Anthahpuram? Who will take the responsibility for doing so?

(laughs) Censor Board. I should not answer this question. If you want I can tell you the real reasons off record later. (as walkman was busy recording his voice)

When I saw Anthahpuram, I felt that songs are obstructing the pace of story. Do you think songs are necessary when you produce film like Anthahpuram?

I love shooting songs. I love watching songs. If songs are disturbing you when you are watching the film, it must be my failure as a director. I take the responsibility.

I did not mean it. You are such an intense story teller. As the story was really getting on nerves of viewers and as they are getting tensed about what will happen next. At that particular time if a song appears?

I am doing songs with the same intensity. May be you have chosen to two songs. One in Sindhuram 'O Cheli' and another in Anthahpuram. But you have forgotten other songs. They are very well knitted into the script. I have done 5 films. Only remark I got is twice. Once in Sindhram and Another in Anthahpuram. If you consider five songs per film, I did 25 songs. 2 failures in of 25 songs are excusable. Are not they?

If somebody wants to joins an assistant to you. Is there a procedure?

At present, I do not have a vacancy. I have 8 assistant directors as Ramuji used to have only 3 (myself, Siva Nageswara Rao and Uttej). All the 8 people, who are with me, are not ready to leave. If I ask them to leave they will kill me (laughs).

I am asking you this question, though you gave the answer earlier. Is it possible to direct a movie, without working under anybody?

That's not possible. And its not advisable too.

Being a frank person, did you land up in any sort of troubles with your uprightness by losing any projects?

I never lost anything. If I lose anything I don't consider it as a loss. (laughs).

Whom do you think are responsible for you to be in this position today?


Do you have any woman behind your success?

No. My success lies in my team work and with my team. I am not inspired by any woman. I am inspired by our society, nature, world etc etc.

Your parents were worried about you when you escaped to Madras. Now what's their reaction?

They were very much worried about me. They thought that I would become good for nothing. They thought that I would become a useless fellow, pauper, drunkard. This is the general notions about filmy people. And most of the filmy people became like that. Generally people get attracted to this industry by the glamour, fame and name. But whoever are successful today are sincere hard workers. Right from NTRama Raogaru and Chiranjeevigaru, whoever attained great success in films did immense hard work. In that process they are losing and sacrificing so many things. After Gulabi, my parents realized my success and the sincere hard work. I love my mom very much.

What are your future projects?

I do not know.

But KS Rama Rao announced a film with you and Venkatesh

Yes. That film is there and I have been doing that film for the last four years (giggles). I do not know when I will materialize that film. KS Rama Rao has been patiently waiting for me to do a film for him. Till now no idea has come up in my mind for that film. But I am doing it ..... I am thinking of doing it.

When can we expect a film to be announced in your direction for Chiranjeevi or Bala Krishna?

If I have to make a film with Chiranjeevi or Balakrishna, that film should be made at that level. It must worth that film.

We do have something called Discussions. Lot of fans of Chiranjeevi and BalaKrishna discuss why their favoritee heroes are not making films with Krishna Vamsi.

I would like to thank them all. Its very nice to know. But I do get scared whenever I listen to these kind of things. And, sometimes, I think I am not worth it. There are 40 to 50 people around me who make the things happen to me. I want to tell you one thing. 'Idli Pinditho Chapatilu cheyyalemu. Gulaka Rallatho Diamond Necklace cheyyalemu'. We need diamond and Gold to make Diamond Necklace. I am like a gold smith here. I am telling you this honestly from my heart and soul "I am just doing the work of a Gold Smith". I need so many talented people to make what I am making. May be I can guide the people to certain extent. But after that they are the people who deliver the goods. That is my conception of myself as a director. I am a slow paced worker. I am always disappointed with my works. I am having so much of anger, pain and agony inside me.

What mark did Ramu left on your working style?

I worked with 9 colleagues under Ramuji at different points of time. But it was only me who could mark for myself. Even Ram Gopal Varma worked with a director called B Gopal. That shows that its does not matter who your Guru are! What matters here is who you are!! I have a different style of film making. Even now I show my films to Varma and get scolding from him.

How many days your films were taken when they were under production?

It depends on the script. Gulabi has taken me 55 days. Anthahpuram was made in 47 days. Samudram is taking around 75 days. Ninne Pelladatha has taken 90 days. Chandra Lekha took 77 days. Sindhuram has taken 130 days. We worked 18 hours day for that film.

What are your unforgettable moments?

Lacs of them are there. I do not regret for anything. That is my motto of life. I all ways want to be happy. I live through memorable moments. If there are none at that time, thenIi will create them.

What's your year of birth?


You will be completing 37 this 28th July. Do you celebrate Birthday?

I do celebrate every day, if I have time. I am scared of birthdays, as that day reminds me thatIi have lost an year in my life. My friends do ask me for a party and we have it. I don't think I am aging at heart from my teenage time. I feel like I am stuck at 22. I just realized that I will be 37 when you mentioned it now.

When are going to get married?

As soon as I find an exciting girl.

Are you in the process of looking for a suitable girl?

I am not searching for a girl. It has to happen. Love happens like an accident. You will never know. We cant be sure of our future.

Who are your family members at this residence?

Myself, My mother, My brother and his wife.

Click here for the Part - 2 of the interview

Interviewed by Jeevi
emailabout usprivacy policycopy rightsidle stuff