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Interview with Veerabhadram
Date: 1 March, 2011, Hyderabad

It took Veerabhadram 14 years to achieve his dream of becoming director in Telugu film industry. His debut film Aha Naa Pellanta (Allari Naresh) is releasing on 2 March. Here are the excerpts of our interview -

I am born in Kalavalapalli in East Godavari. Our village is near to that of EVV’s Koru Mamidi. I came to Telugu film industry in 1997 and joined EVV as an assistant. I worked under him from Akkada Ammai Ikkada Abbai to Kanya Danam. Then I got an offer to direct a movie for Usha Kiran movies. Ramoji Rao okayed the story. Then Subha Vela produced by Usha Kiran movies flopped. They opined that it would be risky to do another film with a new director.

During that time I got introduced by Teja. Teja asked me to join him as a co-director for his film Nuvvu Nenu. I worked with him for Nuvvu Nenu, Family Circus, Jayam, Nijam and Yeh Dil (Hindi Nuvvu nenu). At that time, I got an offer from Anandi Arts to direct a movie. I had a difference in choice of selection of hero for that movie and it didn’t take off. I decided to try for director chance and didn’t assisted any director for two years. Then Gemini Kiran called me again and offered me the job of co-director for Chiranjeevi’s Shankar Dada MBBS. After that I worked for Danger (Krishna Vamsi) and Happy (Allu Arjun).

That is when I got a call from Rasool asking me to join him. He was directing a film titled Sangamam which has USA backdrop. They got US visa stamped on my passport. Sangamam film was shot in Maryland, USA. At that time Anil Sunkara who was based in Chicago was looking forward to produce films. My friends told positively about me to Anil. Anil came to Maryland and asked me to narrate a story. I narrated a story that is suited for a big hero and he liked it. Anil promised me that he would do a movie with me when he returns to India.

Anil returned to India. We realised that it will be difficult to get a big hero when both the producer and director are first timers. Hence Anil asked me to select a script that suits small hero. That is when I prepared the story of Aha Naa Pellanta. We approached a hero and he made us wait for 6 months before saying no. Mean while, Anil decided to go ahead with Bindaas with Manoj as hero in the direction of Veeru Potla.

That is when I attanded Sitara awards function and saw Allari Naresh dressed classily for receiving an award for his work in Gamyam. I narrated the subject to Allari Naresh and he liked it. But my producer was little skeptical about Naresh. He took feedback from his friends and felt that Allari Naresh and Srihari combination is a crazy one. Then, Allari Naresh said that his father EVV has to approve the story as most of Naresh’s films with first time directors were bombing. It was a tense moment for me to narrate the subject to my guru EVV. I mustered the courage and gave a narration to him. EVV listened till the interval bang and approved the project.

We had started working on movie for final script on 2 December 2009 and completed script work by August 2010. The movie was launched on 16 August and I shot the movie in 60 working days and with in the pre-decided budget. I have worked on this story and script for almost 2 years and I am completely satisfied with the final output.

What is the story of Aha Naa Pellanta?
It’s about three brothers trying to marry off their sister. It’s about the struggles they went through to get their sister married. It is a family entertainer with 2 hours and 14 minutes of duration.

What are the high points of the movie?
There will be several hilarious scenes. The combination scenes of Naresh - Brahmanandam, Naresh - Srihari and Srihari - Brahmanandam are the ones to watch out for. Nagineedu, Subbaraju, Dharmavarapu and MS Narayana did orther imporant characters.

What are your future projects?
I have offers from 3 producers. The subject I am going to choose for my next film will depend on how Aha Naa Pellanta fares commercially at box office. I am grateful to producer Anil Sunkara who has given me the opportunity of realising my dream of becoming a film director.

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