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Chitchat with Dil Raju about Oh My Friend
dil raju

10 November, 2011

Dil Raju is known for class films with decent content. He has given highly creative films like Arya and Bommarillu in the past. He has been giving huge statements about the probable success of Oh My Friend since music launch event. has met Dil Raju for an exclusive chitchat. Here are the excerpts -

Tell us about the background of Oh My Friend?
Venu was the assistant director of Arya film and he was also involved in the script work of Bhadra and Bommarillu. He initially narrated me a story line for Prabhas. Though the idea was good, the treatment was not upto the mark. He was disappointed when I rejected the proposal. I told him that he needs some more experience and asked him to work for Kotha Bangaru Lokam film. He went off for 3 months after KBL release and came back with the script of ‘Oh My Friend'. I told him that the concept is terrific. I gave him feeding for 6 months and asked him o come up with a full version. He sat with his close friends who are also directors in our banner and came back with complete script in 6 months. He gave me 1 and half hour narration and I gave him confirmation. There is novelty in the script.

I narrated this subject to MS Raju since I wanted to launch his son Sumanth as hero. Since MS Raju has committed his son's debut, he asked me if we can use this script as second film for Sumanth. I wanted either a fresh star cast or established stars for this script. I told Siddharth the story idea and he is excited. The struggle has started after Siddharth was roped in. Since Siddharth is a big hero, we need three more actors with star potential. We zeroed on Shruti Hassan and Hansika Motwani. I told the script to 5/6 heroes for the second hero character. All of them liked it, but didn't want to do the film since they don't get equal exposure. Navdeep trusted us and did it. I feel that young heroes should do this kind of roles in good films instead of acting in 10 flops as solo hero. We have a nice tradition of multi-starrers in Bollywood, but is it becoming increasingly difficult to sign even small heroes in multi-starrers. All the actors say that they look for good stories and refuse them when we take good stories to them.

Initially we thought of signing Micky J Meyer. Venu Sriram came across the songs of Rahul Raj in internet and contacted him. Rahul sent us a couple of tunes through mail and we loved it. Thats how Rahul Raj came into the project. Initially we have signed another cinematographer and he had dates problem. Vijay Chakravarthy came to know about the story and he has offered to work.

You seem to be over confident about Oh My Friend. How can you be so sure of success?
The combination of Bommarillu is back after 5 years. I loved the content of film. The scenes are fresh and the music is good. Venu has retained the look and feel of whatever he has narrated during the script stage. My heart says that Oh My Friend will be one of the best films in my banner.

I do also have a few check points. One is at the scripting stage. I make all the people that matter to listen to the script. My partner Laxman has expressed a doubt. If we make that change, the film will become routine. I asked him to wait till the film is completed. I do also show my films to the close associates after we get the double positive. I have shown the movie with eight people (2 each in 4 screenings). All oof them loved it including Laxman. When we screened Mr. Perfect double positive, four people have liked it and the other four felt that it is an average film.

What is the reason for roping in Mani Sharma?
Since we wanted to release the film 11th, we needed an experience music director to do re-recording as Rahulraj is new. Chaitanya Dantuluri (director of Banam) is pretty close to Mani Sharma and he requested him on 23 October. He said that he will watch the movie and take a decision. He saw first half on that day and said that its good. He went off and saw the second half. When we called up to know his decision his phone was switched off. Later we found out that he went to Chennai to get the arrangements done. He has started re-recording on 24 October and completed it on 5 November. He has taken the film to next level with his re-recording. He has also said that the film is of high quality and there is freshness in it.

Tell us about Venu Sriram?
My first film Dil was shot in 82 working days. All my other films were shot in more than 100 working days. I asked Venu to keep the number of working days to 80 and he has asked for 90. He has completed the movie in 84 days. Venu is a kind of director who looks out for the comfort of the producer. He will be a good director for Telugu film industry. Venu has selected a major contemporary issue as the subject for Oh My Friend.

What is it with the overseas rights of the movie?
Siddharth has initially asked overseas rights as a part of his remuneration. I have given him the overseas rights and some more cash. I kept a condition that when he is selling overseas rights he should give me the first preference. If I match the offer he is getting, he should sell to me. I wanted to buy it back, but he was already in talks with BlueSky cinemas. I offered whatever they were offering and bought it back. Since I didn't want to disappoint BlueSky, I sold them at a reasonable price and releasing it on profit-sharing basis. In this way, all three parties are happy.

How many prints the film is releasing with?
Bommarillu was released with 72 prints and the number increased to 200 after getting hit talk. We are release Oh My Friend with 250 prints. I am releasing in Nizam and Vizag on my own. All my regular distributors have obtained rights for the other territories.

Tell us about your next projects?
Seetamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu will start shooting on 5 December and we are aiming for June release. Ram Charan Tej's film in the direction of Paidipally Vamsi will be launched on 1st December. Allu Arjun will play a special character. These two films will be shot simultaniously. There will be a film with Pawan Kalyan in 2012. I have had two meetings with him so far and working on story ideas.

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Mohit Ahlawat
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Dr. Haranath Policherla
Gangaraju Gunnam
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MRV Prasad
PG Vinda
Devi Sri Prasad
AM Ratnam 2
Sonu Sood
Ram Gopal Varma 3
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KS Rama Rao 1
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Manyam Ramesh
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Sravanthi Ravi Kishore
MS Raju
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SS Rajamouli
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