did you arrive at the story line of Santosham?
watching Santosham everyone felt that it was inspired by
Kuch Kuch Hota Hain [Karan Johar's blockbuster debut film
starring Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Rani Mukherjee]. It's natural for
the audience to feel so. But that's not correct. Let me explain
how I arrived at the story for this film.
wanted to make the character of Nagarjuna similar to the character
of Ajay Devgan in 'Hum Dil De Chuke Hain Sanam'. But Nagarjuna
garu warned me that he was not interested in acting in love stories.
As a director,I cannot make a film without the angle of love in
it. Hence, I shifted the love story into flash back episode. Initially,
we planned Karthik [the character played by Nagarjuna] coming to
his in-laws house and then the flashback would be narrated till
the interval. In the second half we would show how he convinced
the family and won their love and went back to New Zealand.
we felt that the second half was too predictable and uninteresting.
Since we needed to have a character to help Nagarjuna prove himself
in the second half, we introduced the role of a bubbly girl who
is Gracy's friend in the flash back and who acts as a bridge between
the in-laws family and Nagarjuna.
we thought that it would be more interesting if we have love budding
from her towards Nagarjuna. Also we changed the friend role into
the cousin role of the heroine. If we make the sister character
love the hero from the beginning and try to get closer to hero in
the second half, it might give audience some suspense and excitement.
wanted to give a reason for the hero to reject the heroine's cousin
character. So, we thought that we could make the heroine's cousin
get engaged to another guy so that there is a strong reason for
the hero to reject heroine's cousin in the second half. That's how
the character of Prabhudeva was born.
if I sit back and see 'Santosham' as a normal spectator,
I too find some similarities between KKHH and Santosham.
But honestly, the story of Santosham is my own baby and is
not copied from KKHH. I wrote this story to sell it. Why
would anybody buy my story if they find it copied from a Hindi film?
is one scene similar to the one in Kuch Kuch Hota Hain when
Prabhu Deva touchs Sreya and she turns back and says I love you
thinking that its Nagarjuna. What do you have to say about that?
is also coincidental. The actual scene is like this. When Sreya
is crying, facing her back to the hero, Prabhudeva comes there.
When he is about to say Hi, Nagarjuna warns him to be silent. Then
Nagarjuna calls Sreya casually her name, she turns back and says
'I love you'. But for cinematic effect, we edited those scenes and
cut it short. But my conscience knows if I copied it or not. However
the resemblance is too close.
did you arrive at the casting of the heroines and the kid?
Singh: Before Lagaan was released, I saw Gracy Singh
in the trailers of the song 'Radha Kaise Na jale' on the
TV. She has a family look and is capable of emoting with good expressions.
On the 5th day after Lagaan was released, we signed her for
the role of Paddu.
We initially tried for another heroine. Luckily, we did not get
her dates. When I visited Krishna Digitals (a movie poster maker),
I happened to see the stills of Istam. I liked the heroine of that
film. At that time, Gopal Reddy garu was working for 'Akasa
Veedhilo' film at RFC. I called him up requested him to have
a look at the songs of Istam at RFC editing rooms to checkout heroine
Sreya. He liked the heroine, but expressed his doubt if Sreya might
look too young opposite Nagarjuna. We did a screen test for Sreya
and she fitted the bill.
Akshay: He acted in just one scene in a Kannada film. We
picked him up for the role of Lucky. He is a Telugu kid from Mumbai.
He is a very good artist.
scenes of the film in the first half
- There is
one conversation at the railway station between Nagarjuna and
Gracy Singh - Nee gurinchi naaku ekkuva emi teleedu. Emi teleekunda
emiti idanta ante ..daaniki kooda samaadhanam ledane cheptaanu.
Prema anedi lekkalu, patralu choosukokunda kaligedi antaaru. Naaku
ade kaligindi. Kaani okka vishayam telusu. Nuvvu lekunda nenu
bratakalenu'. These dialogues worked very well as it depicted
the lover's heart and his love for the heroine which blossoms
in such a short span.
manchi family nundi ammaini evaranna teesuku velte .. andulo pain
emito ippude telisindi. Adi telisi vunte nenu appudu teesuku vellaleka
poyi vundevaadini' - Nagarjuna says this to K Viswanath garu
in the first half.
- '20 yellu
kani penchina koothuru family antha vadilesi okadi kosam vellalani
dhairyam chesindante vaadu elanti vaadu ayyi vuntaadu ani okkasaari
gaa alochinchi vundunte bagundedi. Tappu naadi babu. Needi kaadu!'
- K viswanath tells Nagarjuna in the railway station just before
above-mentioned three scenes worked out well to make movie a hit.
There is another scene, which is very much appreciated by audiences
in the first half.
tells this to the relatives of heroine in the kitchen - 'Innallu
Paddu tana intlo valla gurinchi cheptunte edo anukune vaadini.
Kaani ee roju mimmalni choosaka telisindi. She missed this family
scenes of the film in the second half
dialogue to Sreya - 'Preminchukovadaaniki iddaru vyaktulu chaalu.
Kaani pelli chesukovadaaniki rendu kutumbalu kavali'.
dialogue in the climax - 'Ee roju naaku illundi. Kaaru vundi.
Mobile vundi. Alage oka pellam vuntundi. Anthakante theda emi
- The climax
dance in which all the family members dance to the dholak sound.
points in the movie
- There is
only one scene in the film, which we could not present well. That
is the death scene of Gracy Singh. The scene of accident also
did not come out well in New Zealand due to local security reasons.
We were supposed to call technicians from Australia to make sure
that nothing untowardly happens during the shooting of the accident
scene. We could not get vehicles that were scratched and moreover
it was raining heavily then. We had to compromise on that accident
scenes that I liked a lot but which did not make it to the final
- In the entire
movie, there is no shot in which Gracy Singh says I love you to
Nagarjuna. When Gracy Singh gets admitted into hospital after
the accident, Nagarjuna visits her. She tells him that she has
been thinking about him and their sweet memories and that she
has realized that she had never explicitly said 'I Love You' to
him. She asks him if he wanted her to me say that to him now?
Then Nagarjuna takes her into his arms. She says 'I love you karthik'
and dies. As she dies, the camera goes into top angle. But this
scene was deleted later as it did not get universal acceptance
by the cast and crew.
- There were
lot of scenes that were edited at the last moment due to length
problem. When Nagarjuna was about to leave to New Zealand in the
first half, Ahuti Prasad asks him to consider marrying some girl
for the sake of the kid. Then Nagarjuna feels very proud that
the family members of Gracy Singh wholehearted love him.
moments during the making of Santosham
traveled from Christs Church to Queens Town in a bus while shooting
some scenes in New Zealand. It was an 8-hour journey. Nagarjuna
garu and the producers traveled separately in a car. Sreya, Prabhu
Deva, Anitha Chowdary, Pruthvi, Master Akshay and I traveled in
a bus together. We all danced for 3 hours continuously. Seeing Prabhudeva
dance in that bus was a treat to the eyes. We were sweating heavily
even in the cold winter.
from the team
Mohan is given the credit for screenplay for this film. He helped
me a lot with the script. Gopi, Trivikram Srinivas, RP Patnaik,
Kula Sekhar and Sunil used to be roommates in Punjagutta. I used
to move around with them everyday. At that time Trivikram was working
with Posani Krishna Murali. All of us were struggling for a chance
to get into movies. Trivikram Srinivas was the first guy to become
successful in our gang followed by RP and others. Veeru K, who was
my roommate, helped me on the script too. When I got Santosham offer,
Trivikram Srinivas was tied up with other big projects. I requested
him to be my audience for 2 hours on every day for about a week.
I narrated scene-by-scene film to him and he made instant corrections
and modifications to those scenes. The kind of person he is, valuing
friendship more than anything, cooperated with me to a great extent.
My assistant directors Gopi Mohan, Sai Kishore and Yadagiri helped
in making the film a success. I would be very happy if any producer
makes films with them as directors.
is a comment that the film is too heavy with less comedy.
are a lot of comedy scenes, which were edited during the editing
phase, as they tend to dilute the serious mood of the film. Actually
there were hilarious scenes between LB Sriram garu and Sunil. But
we edited all those scenes, thinking they might break the narrative
of the film.
seems to be too many English dialogues in Santosham?
realized it when a couple of people mentioned it after watching
it in the theaters. It was not intentional. I wanted to use natural
language as dialogue writer.
were your expectations after seeing the final copy?
believed that Santosham would run for at least 10 weeks. Luckily,
it got good response. Such a huge success did not astonish me and
neither was it surprisingly delightful. Good movies are always bound
to get responses. I had similar experiences in the past where our
team celebrated the success of Chitram and Nuvvu Nenu.
Jayam by Teja.