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You are at Home > Celebs > Interview > Sravanthi Ravi Kishore
Interview with Sravanthi Ravi Kishore by Jeevi

Date: 8th November 2001 Venue: Santhi theater
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When I asked Sravanti Ravi Kishore for an interview, he asked me to come to Santhi Theater where the film Nuvvu Naaku Nachav is running successfully. When I went there, I found an unlikely ticket seller in the booking counter. Sravanti Ravi Kishore that is! Even after producing the two of the biggest blockbusters in Telugu film industry he is not a changed man. He still feels that selling tickets in the counter helps in analyzing the crowds. He is politely outspoken and very confident. He knew what he was saying and he meant it. Here are the excerpts's interview with an exceptionally brilliant producer who has the banner name as his surname.

Tell us about your background and your films

I am basically a charted accountant. After completing my graduation, I started a small business related to electronics. Then my friends proposed me to make films. I never had any fancy for films. I never used to read these film magazines. I took the film making as a pure business. But, when I started making films, I fell in love with them. My passion for films knew no bounds and I got obsessed with cinema. My aim was to making good movies and at the same time to be successful in this profession.

I am thoroughly satisfied with my performance as the producer so far. In the past six years, I have made seven films. It was a second innings for me. I made Mavi Chiguru, Egire Pavurama, Gilli Gajjalu, Manasaulo Maata, Pilla Nachindi, Nuvve Kavali and Nuvvu Naaku Nachav. Mavi Chiguru, Egire Pavurama and Gilli Gajjalu did do very well at box office. Manasulo Mata has a very good story, though we failed to produce it in an effective way. I take the credit for the failure of that film. Pilla Nachindi was an average grosser and nobody lost money by buying this film. And everybody knows about the success range of Nuvve Kavali and Nuvvu Naaku Nachav. You can't expect a better performance from any professional filmmaker.

You used be associated with Vamsi in the beginning?

Vamsi is a brilliant director. I started ladies tailor with him and it proved to be a big hit. Then we did Maharshi together. It was not a big success. Then we did 'Kanakamaha Lakshmi Dance Troup'. After that we did 'Lingababu Love Story', which is a bad movie. We all take the responsibility for the failures too.

In my second innings, I started making films with SV Krishna Reddy. I made three films with him. I might not have made continuous films with any hero. But I had directors who did a bunch of films for me. Producer has more association with technicians compared to artists. Right from the conceiving of the subject to the release of the film, we need to work closely where as for any hero, his job ends at coming to the sets and act. That's how the rapport gets developed among the technicians and the producer. I have done a couple of films with Vijaya Bhaskar now. We will be making many more like this.

You used to have had Ilaya Raja as the music director in all the movies till Jaitra Yatra. Is there any particular reason from deviating from the maestro?

I never wanted to deviate from Ilaya Raja. He is a great music director. He used to give additional life to the movie with his background music. The films like ladies tailor and maharshi had great background music. I approached him for scoring music for 'Jaitra Yatra'. He accepted the offer and took advance money. At a later point of time, he refused to work for the film after coming to know that this film is going to be directed by debutant Uppalapati Narayana Rao. Ilaya Raja must have had some reasons.

At that time Shiva was released and it was a blockbuster. Ilaya Raja's contribution for the film in form of music is extraordinary. But for Ramu's next film, he took Keeravani as the music director. Ilaya Raja was hurt by this fact that debutant director Ramu used Ilayaraja for Shiva and then dumped him for his next film. Ilaya Raja might have had this apprehension that Uppalapati Narayana Rao also would do the same after 'Jaitra Yatra'. Then I requested Ilaya Raja to do the background score. But he could not accept it. I think as a professional he could not have done that to me. Nobody is dependent on anybody here. No one is indispensable. We are playing the game of 'Survival of the fittest'.

Later on, I took SV Krishna Reddy as the director. He also scores music for his films. I fixed Koti as the music director for 'Gilli Gajjalu' film onwards.

Tell us about the history behind your banner names Sravanti Arts and Chandra Kiran movies?

There is a story behind me keeping Sravanti as the banner name. I read a novel 'Sravanthi' by Malladi Venkata Krishna Murthy. I am impressed with the novel and the title. Hence I named my banner as Sravanti Arts. I plan to do a television serial based on Sravanthi novel. I am also planning to do another television serial based on Sri Ramana's novel 'Mithunam'. I am planning to telecast them on the festival days of Sankranthi and Ugadi.

I shifted to another banner 'Chandra Kiran Movies' on the advice of the siddanti (astrologer). As my name is having Ravi (sun), Siddanti advised me to keep the banner name on moon (Chandra). That's why I changed the name to 'Chandra Kiran Movies'.

There is a story making rounds that your partners deserted you after the flop of 'Pilla Nachindi'. Is that the reason why you approached Ramoji Rao to produce 'Nuvve Kavali'?

Though I had partners in my films, it was me who put in all the money. I was the person who was neck deep in the mess. We need a great amount of money in promoting the film and I accumulated so many losses over period of time that I could not afford a grandeur promotion of any film I might make. That is the reason why I have chosen Ramoji Rao as the producer.

I also had an offer from Usha Kiron movies to act as an executive producer for their films. Ten lakhs of rupees per film as an executive producer is not a bad deal at all. On the top of it, I was given very good percentage of the share on the movie 'Nuvve Kavali'. I made a good amount of money with 'Nuvve Kavali'.

On good thing about Nuvve Kavali is the team we had for it. All of us are talented, but in a bad phase. We desperately needed to prove ourselves. Koti is desperate to make a comeback as music director. Suchitra was married and had a kid. She needs a comeback vehicle. Vijaya Bhaskar did not get any offer after 'Swayam varam' that can prove his ability. Trivikram Srinivas has gone back to his hometown Bhimavaram. All of us have decided to do something extraordinary to prove our capabilities. From the beginning of the shooting, we never had any apprehensions about the success of 'Nuvve Kavali'. At the same time, we never had any inkling about the grandeur scale of the success we were going taste.

After the first copy came out, I told Bapineedu (manager of Usha Kiron movies) that this is all we could do. You can't expect a better performance within our capabilities. We have complete grip on the proceedings of the film and the film never slipped out of our control during the production stage.

What is the reason behind choosing new heroines for your films?

If we cast new heroines, there wont be any expectations or pressure on the heroine. If I cast a seasoned heroine, then people have different expectations for her. If we cast a new heroine, people also watch the film to judge if the heroine is good or bad. As they have zero expectations, the heroines fare well with their debut. New heroines also add freshness to the film.

All the heroines I had selected proved to be successful expect for Mahima Chowdary. It was a bad attempt on my part to select her. I think the heroes Jagapati Babu and Srikanth are also not the right choices for that film. In retrospect, I opine that I should have gone for a new cast.

The subject of Manasanta Nuvve is very close to me. I always repent for spoiling such a good subject by delivering it as a bad film. Raj Kapoor used to think that he spoiled the good subject of 'Mera Naam Joker' by not making it the way it should have been made. You may forget the feeling of success of one film after you get another success. But the failure of potentially good subject haunts you though out the life.

Even Maharshi was a good story. We could not handle it properly. The bollywood guys have taught us a lesson by making 'Darr', with the same story line, after 13 years and making it a blockbuster. I had a little salvage from that movie. The tune 'Kallalloki Kallu Petti Choodavenduku' (listen to Nuvve Kavali songs) from that film was adapted into 'Nuvve Kavali' and that song was a huge success.

Even Jaitra Yatra was a good subject. Sometimes, we get carries way. I think we tries to imitate the trend of the 'Shiva' films in that era. Jaitra Yatra was a fast paced film. We could have mellowed it down.

A suggestion to the producers

I want to advise the producer to stall the project and cancel it if he comes to know that the film is not shaping up well. All the producers must realize that we have nothing to lose when we don't make a movie. It is the technician or an artist who loses. If technicians/artists don't work now, their future may go haywire. It is the producer who is keeping capital in the film. He should be a proud man. A producer must have ego and should be confident. He should not bow his head to any hero or director. If he were not there, no director or hero does survive.

Did you have any bitter experience, which evoked you to give that advice to the fellow producers?

I made a film called Rowdy Mogudu. At one stage, we stalled the film. By then, I invested around Rs. 25 lacks, which is a huge amount. I wanted to recover that money by completing the production though I was aware the movie was not shaping well. At the end I ended up spending another 25 lakhs. We should never throw good money to chase bad money. By doing so, I lost ten years of past and I pledged 10 years of my future. I was repaying my debt incurred through that film till the year 2000. That single mistake has made a severe dent in my professional life.

I learnt something from a statement given by Mani Ratnam. That is - 'you can never survive here if you want to be a Godfather to somebody'. If you have a friend, give him money or buy him a car. But never bring him in to the industry by making him a hero of director so that you can play the role of godfather. Never club the professional life into friendship. It will bring you down.

Tell us about what hurdles you have gone though at the time of Nuvvu Naaku Nachav release?

This industry is a vicious place. You can never survive here unless you have confidence on yourself and your product.

I always had confidence on Nuvvu Naaku Nachav. But after I have shown the preview to the industry people, they started offering free suggestions. There is no point in offering free suggestions if the film is going to be released in 24 hours. If I had any confidence on you, I will call you during the scripting time and take your inputs. I had a heated argument/quarrel with a closest friend/producer of mine over 'Nuvvu Naaku Nachav'. He gave me suggestions out of his concern. But by doing so, you are only getting things worse for me. I sincerely request all the people not to offer free advices about the film, when it was about to get released. It only heightens the tension of the producer.

Only 20% of the producers here are genuine professional producers. Rest of them is attracted to the industry by the glitter and glamour it offers. These producers do not have passion for the movies.

I would like to tell you about my director Vijaya Bhaskar. He studied in the Korukonda Sainik Public School. He worked for Indian Air forces. He did not work as an assistant director for long time. But he was obsessed to the movies since his childhood and watched them a lot.

What is the business range of Nuvvu Naaku Nachav?

It will collect a share of 18 crores in the long run.

How are the audio sales of this film?

I can't tell you the exact figure as most of the cassettes released are done with the combinations (click here to listen the songs of Nuvvu Naaku Nachav). So if a cassette is sold we are not sure, if people bought it for Nuvvu Naaku Nachav or the other film. But Nuvve Kavali has sold around 12 lakhs of audiocassettes(click here to listen the songs of Nuvve Kavali).

What are your next ventures?

I am going to do a movie in the direction of Trivikram Srinivas. It will go on floors in February 2002. I plan to release that film sometime in July 2002. We are working on the script now. The cast would be finalized once the script is ready. The next film to be started would be directed by Vijaya Bhaskar again. Myself, Vijaya Bhaskar and Trivikram Srinivas would jointly produce that film.

Did any big hero approach you to make a film for him after the release of Nuvve Kavali and Nuvvu Naaku Nachav?

It does not happen in our Telugu film industry. No big Telugu hero approached me to make a film for him.

You have done films with lots of heroes. Would you like to mention anything special for any particular hero?

Venky is the best of the heroes I have worked so far. He is more compatible than any other hero I worked. He only looks into his work on the sets. He is not bothered about other people and producer. It was very informal shoot with Venky for 'Nuvvu Naaku Nachav'. He is probably one of the very few heroes who do not have identity crisis. Most of the other heroes have got identity crisis. They always observe how other people are treating them and respecting them. I feel sympathetic towards them.

The position in this film industry is effervescent. One day it could be Ram Gopal Varma and the other day it could be Raghavendra Rao. One Day it could be Kalyan and the other day it could be Tarun.

Which film did you like in the recent releases (other then your own films)?

I watch very less number of movies. The latest film I have seen is 'Manasanta Nuvve'. Music for that film is extraordinary. Seetarama sastry wrote excellent lyrics (click here to listen the songs of Manasanta Nuvve').

I advised Seetarama Sastry to hike his remuneration by two fold. 40% of the success of the music in a film should go to the lyrics. I think the Telugu film industry should treat the technicians better. Why are the producers willing to pay Uday Kiran 40 lakhs? Why can't they pay the same amount to RP Patnaik or Seeta Rama Sastry? The credit of the movie success should go more to the technicians than to the hero/heroine. The technicians are the real heroes of the film.

If public spots Gundu Hanumantha Rao on a railway platform, people recognize him and greet him. But how many people recognize Seetarama Sastry, the noble poet?

How do you compensate technicians in your movies?

I don't want to reveal the monitory terms. But they are compensated with much more remuneration than what they are paid for other films of same contribution by the other producers. I also have long-term relationship with my technicians. Sirivennela has written 80% of the songs in my films. Suchitra is the regular choreographer for my films. Koti is a regular music director for my films now. Srikar Prasad is my regular editor.

Do you have any suggestion to the visitors of who want to enter the Telugu movie production?

Don't come to industry by looking at the glitter. If you have conviction, compassion and obsession in films, then only you can survive.

Do you frequent Internet?

I don't visit Internet very frequently. But I make it a point to visit whenever I surf. It has got very good content and is frequently updated. I am also impressed the way '50 days function of Nuvvu Naaku Nachav' was covered with in 2 hours after the function.

Sravanthi Ravi Kishore's filmography:

  1. Ladies Tailor
  2. Ladies Tailor (Tamil)
  3. Rendu Tokala Pitta (dubbed)
  4. Nayakudu (dubbed)
  5. Pushpaka Vimanam (dubbed)
  6. Maharshi
  7. Sri Kanaka Mahalakshmi Dance Troop
  8. Varasudochadu
  9. Nandini (dubbed)
  10. Chal Chal Gurram (dubbed)
  11. Jaitra Yatra
  12. Rowdy Mogudu
  13. Balarama Krishnulu
  14. Linga Babu Love Story
  15. Mavi Chiguru
  16. Egire Pavurama
  17. Gilli Gajjaalu
  18. Manasulo Maata
  19. Pilla Nachindi
  20. Nuvve Kavali
  21. Nuvvu Naaku Nachav
Interviewed by Jeevi
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