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Chitchat with YVS Chowdary on Devadasu
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After giving two films L3 and Seetayya on his home banner Bommarillu, YVS Chowdary is back to produce and direct a film titled Devadas with fresh faces in it. Devadas is releasing on 11th of January 2006. met with YVS Chowdary at Prasad Labs on 5th January to get to know more about Devadasu. Here are the excerpts -

5th January 2006

Devadasu links

How come there is so much of gap between Seetayya release and the muhurat of Devadasu?
I do focus on one film at a time. Hence, there would be around 9-10 months of gap between my latest release and the start of the next project. It is difficult to get the call sheets of stars on immediate basis when your script is ready. That is why I did Devadasu with new faces. My brother expired in the last year. My wife conceived my daughter Yuktha after few months. Hence I had to spare lot of time to my family. I took a gap of an year after the release of Seetayya film.

Tell us about the number of working days and locations of Devadasu film?
I started the shooting of the film on 14th December 2004 and completed on 14th September 2005. I shot this film in a span of 9 months. The total number of working days for this film is 190 where as we shot it for 40 days in USA.

Here are the details of locations.

1. USA (40 days): Vital part of the film takes place in USA and it was really necessary to find out right locations in USA. We shot the film in Virginia, Washington DC, New Jersey, New York, Monument Valley, Zeon Valley, Valley of Fire, Las Vegas, Mohave, Los Angeles and San Diego.
2. Phuket Islands (15 days): We needed an isolated island in USA, but could not find one. Hence we went to Phuket islands to shoot for 15 days and show it as an island in US.
3. India (135 days): We shot majority of the film is Hyderabad. We shot a song in Rajahmundry and a few scenes in Chennai.

When did you get the story idea for Devadasu?
I did a love story earlier in the form of Seetaramula Kalyanam Chootamu Rarandi. It had youth elements in the first half and family elements in the second half. I wanted to do an out and out youth entertainer. I got the basic idea when I was shooting for Seetayya film. And I developed it after Seetayya got released.

Why did you name this film as Devadasu?
Devadasu stands as the symbol of extremism in love. And I have to grab the attention of public with the title and a title like Devadasu stands out. I kept the tagline as Premalo Munigi Telandi, which means that fall and raise in the love. It gives a positive feel to the film as it says that you win in love unlike the old Devadasu where the ending was tragic. There is no similarity between ANR’s classical Devadasu and my Devadasu. I decided to attract the attention of film industry by printing a 36 page colorful invitation. No muhurat invitation for any other film in South India was printed as 36-page booklet.

How did you arrive at the casting of Ram and Ileana?

Hero: Initially I wanted to introduce a hero who became successful hero today. But it did not work out. Then I went to another hero who is another successful today. That too did not work out. Then I decided to cast a fresh face. When I met Sravanthi Ravi Kishore, he shown a photographs of youngster in his computer and asked me how that kid was. I liked that guy instantly and told Sravanthi Ravi Kishore that I want to cast that kid as my hero. Later on Ravi Kishore revealed that the kid is his nephew Ram. Ram was 16 at that time.

Heroine: I wanted to cast a fresh face as heroine. But my friends suggested that we should go for Genelia as her film Satyam was super hit at that time. I went to Mumbai to ask her for dates. Genelia told me that she was doing only with big and established heroes and did not want to work with newcomers. I was very disappointed and came to my hotel room. When I switched on the TV, I noticed Ileana in Fair and Lovely advertisement. Incidentally Genelia also acted in Fair and Lovely ad earlier.

When I enquired about Ileana, I was told that she came to Hyderabad to sign in Teja’s film. At that time, Teja signed Ileana for two projects. Teja is a good friend of me. I called him up and requested him to spare the dates of Ileana so that she can simultaneously participate in two shoots. But Teja said that he don’t mind Ileana working for my film, but she should complete one film by Teja before acting in my film. I was disappointed again.

Then Teja called me up after 20 days and said that the script is changed a bit and he don’t mind letting Ileana get off. I latched on to it and signed Ileana. I told Ileana and she posses the looks of Jayaprada and physique of Simran. I would like to thank Teja for the favor.

Ram and Ileana are going to create a sensation after the release of Devadasu film.

Tell us about USA shooting part?
When I applied for Visa for location scouting in USA, it got rejected. Then Gopi (USA Shooting Coordinator) helped me by getting the right documentation for the second time. We (me and my wife Geeta) got stamping for multiple entry for 10 years. I went to USA for 4 times to scout locations with Gopi. And I took the biggest risk in my life by shooting the Indian part of the film first. I needed visa for 36 cast and crewmembers and I would lose lot of money if visa gets rejected for my crew. Thanks to Gopi again. He did perfect groundwork and submitted the appropriate documentation. We got work permit and visa for all the 36 members without any problem. We started the US shooting on 28th of April and wrapped the USA part up by 5th June.

I would also like to thank Vellanki Vijaya Sekhar, Srini Anumolu, Rambabu Suryadevara, Narendra Surabattula and Mahesh Chengareddy for their excellent cooperation. Devadasu’s USA shoot would not have happened so smoothly without the generous help of these gentlemen.

What is the reason to opt for Chakri instead of your regular music director MM Keeravani?
MM Keeravani scored music for 4 out of 5 films I directed. I could not utilize the dates Keeravani given to me as project got delayed. And by the time I started the project, he got busy with the projects he committed prior. Hence I had to lookout for an alternative music director. Chakri was in touch with me even before he became a music director and I liked his tunes for Idiot and Avunu Valliddaru Ista Paddaru a lot. He can score both melodies and youthful songs. He has given excellent tunes, orchestra and re-recording for Devadasu. We did rerecording of this film from 2nd December 2005 to 2nd January 2006 for 30 days. There are 9 full-length songs and 2 bit songs in the album.

What do you think are the best songs in terms of picturization in your opinion?

1. Telusa Telusa: Melody version of this song comes during the titles of Devadasu. The sad version of this songs comes at an emotional moment of the film.

2. Bangaram: I shot this peppy song in various places in USA like Los Angeles, San Diego, Newyork and Washington DC on the lead pair.

3. Kshaminchu: This song is about ‘forgive me’ concept shot in Hyderabad.

4. Nuvvante Nakistam: This song is shot in Grand Canyon.

5. Mayadari Chinnodu: I am a great fan of LR Eeswari and I love the way she changes her accent in funny way so quickly while singing. I remixed Mayadari Chinnodu song and Chandrabose came up with variety lyrics in just half a day. This song is also shot in USA.

Veturi, Sirivennela and Chandrabose are my favorite lyricists.

What about item song by Shriya?
Shriya did a special song, but it is not an item song. She comes in vital scene of the film and becomes the cause to a twist in this film. She did few scenes and the song Kurrollu (sung by Malathi) in Devadasu.

There seem to be less quotient of comedy in your films except for L3. What do you say about it?
If there is scope for comedy in film in terms of characterizations, I would definitely have comedy in it. All films other than L3 had no characterizations that had scope for comedy. But in Devadasu there would be ample comedy -

1. Venu Madhav’s comedy in 1st half.
2. MS Narayana’s comedy in 2nd half.
3. Comedy by Pug Dog (the kind of dog featured in advertisements of Hutch)

One final question! Why do you think that Telugu film lovers should watch Devadas film?

1. I work really hard and there is good consistency and success rate for my films. I maintain good content and film lovers who watch my films would not get disappointed.
2. Good music and nice songs picturization.
3. USA backdrop.
4. On screen magic by Ram and Ileana.
5. Characterizations and narration.

Check out comprehensive interview of done on 9th July 2002

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