Doesn't sound like a Telugu Movie. Can you tell us how this
could interest Telugu people?
DK: True, FLAVORS is in English, but language barriers
are vanishing fast. Today, a movie that does well in any
language is either dubbed or remade into other languages.
is a comedy that looks at the lives and relationships of
Indians living in the US. It is fresh, new and entertaining.
This is a universal theme and should interest all Indians
irrespective of language or sub-culture.
From what we have seen at several of these international
film festivals, different people of different culuters and
races have enjoyed the movie thoroughly. A comedy with universal
sensibilities can appeal to anyone.
on a specific note, Telugu people are an integral part of
the Global Indian these days. Wherever there are Indians
in any field and any land, there is a Telugu and he is at
the frontlines. So we thought it was very appropriate to
have some Telugudanam in our movie. So we decided to create
one of the multiple stories in FLAVORS to be Telugu.
you tell us about yourselves?
DK: I grew up in Chittoor, did my Engineering in
Computer Science at SV University, Tirupati. As was the
trend those days (it is even now), I came to the US on my
I was born in Tirupati and did my Mechanical Engineering
in SV University, Tirupati, too. That is where DK and I
met and became friends. We used to take part in a lot of
competitions and cultural fests and used to travel to other
colleges all over the state. After my degree, I came to
the US for my MS, then took up a job as a Computer Engineer.
did you get into moviemaking (direction)?
I think it was the monotony of our lives here that made
us realize that we should do something creative and create
something where we can channel all our energies and abilities.
We felt kind of stunted in our jobs and the direction we
were heading towards, in our lives.
Also, the quality of Indian movies being made left a lot
to be desired. There are good movies, yes, but going by
the size of the industry, we thought there should be more
people making sensible movies. I'm sure everyone has walked
out of a bad movie and thought, "I can make a better
movie than that!" We did too. And we took that thought
did you learn filmmaking? Did you go to film school?
Once we decided to make movies, we didn't rush into it head
first. We thought the best way to learn anything is to start
doing it. So we made some short films, and as we made each
one of them, we learnt more. We spent five years doing shorts
or discussing filmmaking and then we did our hour-long feature,
shaadi.com. After it received really good feedback from
the press and from audience and it was invited to some prestigious
film festivals like Commonwealth film festival in UK, we
were really encouraged to make our first feature film, FLAVORS.
We did take a few classes for the technical aspects of filmmaking
- specifically lighting, editing etc. But mostly we learnt
filmmaking by watching films from around the world. So I
can say films are our school.
will you differentiate your movie with other movies made
by NRIs in USA?
A lot people feel that independent movies have stories that
we are all very familiar with and these movies somehow feel
amatuerish. Our objective was very clear, we wanted to make
a movie with a story and structure that is fresh, appealing,
funny and smart. We also wanted to make it as professional
as we can afford: we even got Frank Reyonds who was the
editor for Oscar-nominated film, In The Bedroom and people
like Lelsie Lewis of Colonial Cousins.
above all we totally wanted to avoid any clichéd
concepts like 'cultural differences' and 'ABCDs & FOBs'
and stay away from stereotypes.
We believe that how you tell a story is as important as
what story you tell. In other words, we place emphasis on
presentation. The film has an innovative screenplay, a quirky
structure and a New Age feel to it. Many critics have called
it cool and stylish.
the film, a lot of viewers (at film festivals) walked away
loving the characters and with a feeling of warmth for the
movie, in addition to having fun. And they were not all
Indians. Above all, we wanted to put a lot of what makes
movies so entertaining - humor!
kind of recognition you got so far for your work?
FLAVORS has got good reviews in the various film festivals
it has gone to. Getting accepted at some of these festivals
is in itself an achievement, especially since this is a
light-hearted comedy. Film festivals usually prefer the
dark, controversial kind of movies.
Among the film festivals that FLAVORS has gone to are Hamptons,
Hawaii, Durban, Cairo, Bangkok and Mumbai. The detailed
list of festivals, awards and reviews is available on our
website. We also felt elated when DK & I were nominated
as Best Emerging Directors at Asian American International
in New York. Screen Actors Guild honored one of our stars,
Pooja Kumar and we won a couple of other honors.
us about your hard work that brought you to where you are
Filmmaking requires a lot of dedication and hard work. Any
filmmaker will tell you that. A film like FLAVORS - by newcomers
in the industry - takes a couple of years to make, counting
the 6 months or so it takes to write the script. During
those two years we pretty much gave up our personal and
social lives, traveled like crazy, gave up our paying jobs
(as software consultants), depleted all our savings in the
bank and used up favors from all our friends and relatives!
The only thing that keeps you going for such a long period
is passion for the art and faith in the movie. So you better
be sure the movie is worth making. Now that we have successfully
completed the film, the next challenge is to market it well
and make sure audiences around the world get to see and
appreciate it. It is also time to call up our friends and
families and thank them for the favors and apologize for
all the unanswered calls!
are your future plans?
We are working on scripts for our next movie. We're planning
to make a movie in India for mainstream audiences. A new
kind of Bollywood movie.
We also want to make a bigger Indian film for worldwide
audiences. There have been Indian movies that have made
waves in the international arena, but it is mostly due to
their cultural or exotic appeal. Not for their innovative
concepts or technical excellence, which is the case with,
say, European or Chinese cinema.
you have to tell about this movie in 3 words, what would
Funny. Intelligent. Stylish.
Watch. The. Movie!
should people watch this movie? I mean, without a popular
actor or a director, what should attract people in going
to the movie theatres?
This movie has fresh faces and a fresh perspective. It is
funny and entertaining and intelligent at the same time.
Anyone who wants to watch more than the regular run-of-the-mill
fare should find this movie very interesting. Our biggest
challenge is to get people into the theaters initially.
Once they see the movie, we're confident the word-of-mouth
will be very positive and the film will catch on.
If you will watch only one movie this summer, it is bound
to be a Chiranjeevi or Nagarjuna movie. But if you'll watch
more than one, make sure FLAVORS is one of them!