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Chitchat with MS Raju
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MS Raju talks at length to in an exclusive one-to-one chitchat about Pournami. MS Raju has produced three continuous blockbusters in the form of Okkadu, Varsham and NVNV. Read what MS Raju has to say about his 20th April release Pournami -

April 18, 2006

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Tell us about Pournami?
The name Pournami itself gives us a pleasant feeling. It is a risky proposition to name this pleasant title to a big action hero. Pournami is an experimental film with commercial flavor. Audiences have encouraged me whenever I did different films. There will be something new in this film. In the first reel of the film itself, we revealed why we named this film as ‘Pournami’.

Which genre Pournami film belongs to?
There is lot of curiosity in the market and movie lovers to know what Pournami story is all about. People already started speculating about the story. A few fans called me up and asked me if the story is about rebirth. Some other asked me if it is a remake of Punnami Nagu where hero goes on heroines killing spree, because Pournami has five heroines. I just laughed at those speculations. For NVNV film, everybody told me before film release that Siddardh is loking girlish with that kind of hairdo. But after the film’s release everybody is satisfied. Likewise, for Pournami publicity too created good amount of curiosity among the cine goers.

I cannot say which genre it belongs to now. But all I can say is that Pournami belongs to the type of musical based films like Sankarabharanam, Sagarasangamam etc. We made Pournami in such a way that it instills Telugu culture and our traditions into the minds of movie lovers without going into the preaching mode. There will be a very good message in the film.

Why are you keeping very low profile in terms of publicity for Pournami?
I always kept low profile for my films before film’s release. Only film that I over-publicized in the past was Devi Putrudu and you know the result. I always believe that we should speak less about our works and let the others speak about it.

It is been one year since you started this project. Why is the film delayed?
Though we announced the project after the release of NVNV. We took time to start the project. We worked on the script from February 2005 onwards and launched the film on 22nd of August. Now it is April. It is ok to take 8 months to shoot such a huge film like Pournami. The number of working days for this film is around 180-190 days.

All the songs in this film are situation based?
All songs are situational songs except for one that comes just before climax (ichi puchuko).

What has the difference between Varsham Prabhas and Pournami Prabhas?
I was shocked to see the same boy who worked for Varsham film delivering ultimate performance in Pournami. He has no attitude at all. I am very happy with him and his performance. He will go places with Pournami film.

NVNV was a sweet film and Pournami looks like a huge film with different backdrop. How did Prabhudeva handle Pournami?
Prabhudeva has seen everything in life and profession as choreographer and actor. He proved himself as a director with NVNV. Though the script is mine, he added a lot to it from his side. He will be at his peak with Pournami.

You gave guest appearances in the recent films (Varsham and NVNV). Can we expect another cameo from you in Pournami too?
My appearance in those two films was not planned. It just happened. Let us wait and watch Pournami if I am there in the film or not.

Is Pournami a period film?
Yes. We have taken a story that happened long back as base of this film. We thought that it would be refreshing to make the story run in the 60’s instead of present time. We are offering something new this summer to the audience with this period backdrop. This film will run even if we place the story in current era. But I opted for 60’s era because of my passion for films.

I conceptualized the basic storyline. Sobhan (director of Varsham) came up with a real incident that happened four decades back. We took it as backdrop and it added different flavor to the film.

Making a period film is expensive proposition?
Yes. We had spent a lot of money for Pournami. I have done so many films in my life and tasted success. I could have made a small budget film with good storyline and make it a big hit to earn money. But that is not my commitment to the audience. Audiences started loving my banner and my work. Hence I should deliver something good to them all the time.

Lots of my well wishers and friends in film industry cautioned me against spending more money for this film. They say that audience will not come and help you out financially if the film is a flop. I have been listening to these kinds of advices throughout my career. But I always try to deliver my product to audiences heart-to-heart.

What precautions did you take while making this period film?
I have seen lots of Hindi period films recently and it appears to me that they made those films with an ambition of making a period film. They did not concentrate more on emotions. In great period films like Lagaan and Gaddar, the filmmakers concentrated more on emotions though there is huge backdrop of being period films.

I never forget the importance of story and emotions in my films.

Don’t you think that music of Pournami is too classical for a common man?
Do you want me to get the same music for all the films? We tried something new with Pournami and the music will slowly catch up. Audio of films like Manasantha Nuvve and Nuvve Kavali picked up only after the film’s release. Even for a great film like Okkadu, the music was not liked by everybody expect for 2 songs. After the release, people realize why we had tunes like ‘Sahasam’ in Okkadu. People will realize the importance of Pournami songs only after the film’s release.

A few posters carry a snake around the neck of Prabhas. Is it a fantasy film?
It is not a fantasy film. Pournami is a nice and sweet musical love story with lot of entertainment.

Did you face any problems from PETA for showing the snake in Pournami?
We never faced any problems as we created snake using graphics.

What is the duration of the film?
2 hour and 45 minutes and final footage of the film is 15000.

What is the number of prints for Pournami release?
It will be close to 300.

What are you going to communicate with audience through Pournami?
I am a passionate producer and I don’t rush the things. Though we wanted to release the film on 30th of March, I delayed the release because I don’t release my film unless I am 100% satisfied. Lots of big films are releasing this summer and I wish that all those films should do well. Pournami film will make audience feel proud. This film ends with the caption ‘traditions should continue…’ (Sampradayalu Vardhillali).

Tell us about your future projects?
I don’t announce any projects before the release of my film. I will announce details of my next film on 10th May (MS Raju’s birthday).

When are you launching your son Sumanth Aswin as hero?
With in a year, I will be launching my son Sumanth Aswin as hero. He contributed to this project as co-producer.

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