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Interview with Venkatesh
Date: September 23, 2008, Hyderabad

The Telugu film industry in the recent past witnessed the emergence of contemporary trends ranging from youthful romance to action films. But, their ebb and flow don't really matter to Victory Venkatesh. When his colleagues and youth heroes are in a big clamor for mass subjects, this top hero imposed high faith in entertainment for the family audiences. Even it be action films, the typical elements of sentiment and family drama are not missed. After giving blockbusters (Lakshmi, AMAV, Tulasi) continuously, slowly and steadily, Venkatesh gets ready to tickle his beloved segment – the family crowds – equally holding the stuff for the youth, with his latest Chintakalaya Ravi, playing the hilarious title role. In an exclusive interview to Idlebrain, Venkatesh dwells into the pros and cons that went into the making of the film. Excerpts:

How did Chintakayala Ravi materialize?
I heard a lot of scripts after Tulasi film and was not impressed by any of them. I wanted to do a lighter vein entertainer that does have neither heavy emotions nor big fight sequences. My brother (D Suresh Babu) listened to Chintakayala Ravi script and told me that I might get interested in it. I listened to it. It is a simple story with some freshness in it. I opined that changing of backdrop from Hyderabad to USA would add lot of variety to the film. The USA backdrop has changed the entire complexion of the film.

The title of the film was supposed to be something else. The character name was Chintakayala Ravi. I liked it so much that I requested the writer if it could be named as Chintakayala Ravi.

Chintakayala Ravi has lot of entertainment quotient. And there is a bit of mother sentiment within permissible limits. The character of Chintakayala Ravi does possess innocence as well as craziness. He wants to be responsible, but could not fulfill it. I guess every man goes through that phase at one point of time.

Actually I wanted to take a big break after Tulasi. I was about to take off for a long vacation. I was in no mood to accept that film at that point of time. And after listening to this script, everything fell into the place. I am a guy who believes that everything happens for a reason.

Tell us about Music by Vishal Sekhar?
Since it is a soft film, I wanted to make sure that the music is excellent. We wanted a new sound and want to work with somebody with whom we never worked earlier. Bujji suggested us Vishal – Sekhar. Vishal and Sekhar are simple boys and they went through Telugu music albums to get a taste of Telugu. All of us used to fly down to Mumbai and listen to the tune before Okaying it. They are very flexible duo. They came up with fabulous tunes.

Can you tell us the best songs on screen in Chintakayala Ravi?

1. Enduko (lyrics): This melody will come as the first song in the film. I wanted the introduction song to be different and melodious. Sonu Nigam came up with superb rendition. I was dying to act in the song the moment I heard it. We generally do just a lip sync in songs without really involving in the songs while performing the dances. But for this song, I really sang the song while acting in it and put in my heart and soul. Mamata Mohandas features in this melody along with me. This song is part shot in NY and party in a village of AP. I am really happy for this song.

2. Bagunde Bagunde (lyrics): This song comes in a right situation. Anushka is paired up with me in this song. With this song, the emotions of the film go to the next level. It is a very romantic song with beautiful visuals shot in USA.

3. Valla Valla (lyrics): This song is going to rock the discos and pubs in the future. Vishal Sekhar has come up with the most energetic song in my career. This song is shot prominent pubs and night hangouts in and around NY. While composing a tune, the music director comes up with orbit lyrics. Valla Valla is such ramdon word created by Vishal – Sekhar. We loved it and keep it in song as it is. Valla Valla is a hip and happening song that is going to rock in theaters.

4. O Sunita (lyrics): This is a mass song. But at the same time I want certain sophistication to it. It is the only toned-down mass song in this album. It was Vishal Sekhar who coined the words 'Nai Chodunga' in the lyrics.

5. Shava Shava (lyrics): It is a party king of song.

6. Merupula (lyrics): This is only song that appears like a Venkatesh song. I wanted one song in the album which has my trademark music in it.

You studied in USA. And now you shot your film extensively in USA. Can you tell us your experience?
I was keen on getting into detailing before going to shoot to USA. But I did not touch the details after going there as I did not have time. I am familiar with life style in USA as I studied over there. But I did my masters in 1985 and USA has changed a lot since then. I was the only Telugu guy in our batch at our university. Hence it gave me an opportunity to mingle with students came from across the globe and learn their cultures and ways of thinking. But the number of Telugus going to USA has grown exponentially in the past one decade. Certain places of NJ and NY are like our own Andhra streets. Lots of students came and met me when I shot Chintakayala Ravi. I noticed that most of the Telugu guys are grouping up with other Telugus and losing out on the opportunity of meeting people from other countries and learn lot of things. I advised all of them to mingle with students from other countries instead of bonding with just Telugu people.

I met lots of Telugu people during my stay for Chintakayala Ravi. We all had a good time. Some of them are very good at their status and some of them are still strugglers. Most of the Telugu people seem to know much more about Telugu films than me.

I have the habit of going to USA every year on a holiday. USA is like a second holiday home to me.

I guess most of the NRIs in USA are unaware of infrastructural development in Hyderabad and the improvement of lifestyle over here. AP is a happening place now.

Tell us about the heroines?
We wanted to have new pair for me and I never worked with Anushka and Mamata Mohandas in the past. Both of them are sincere girls and they have done their best.

About lyricist Chandrabose:
I knew Chandrabose since the beginning of his career. He gave wonderful lyrics. His involvement went beyond lyrics for this film. He has been a great help in explaining and helping the musician duo Vishal Sekhar in getting the right emotion in the music.

First time with Kona Venkat
This is my first film with Kona Venkat. I liked his positive attitude. He is energetic and very flexible. He takes up suggestions in positive spirit and improvises scenes and dialogues for a better result.

Tell us about Yogi?
We worked together for a subject in the past. My brother is keen on giving him a break. Yogi is a simple and pleasant guy who minds his own business. He is a good boy and he needs a break. He has got good sense of humor and got the emotions right in the film.

About producer Bujji
Bujji is a passionate producer who could go to any extent to get his product right. He has a bright future in film industry. He does not care about money and always concentrates on script and aesthetics.

Any specific reason for accepting Chintakayala Ravi film?
Chintakayala Ravi is an example of big hero doing a film with simple story. I hope that Chintakayala Ravi will set an example in film industry. Big heroes do not need to select heavy subject with huge budgets. They can do simple films and still make money for all the buyers. I am not a kind of guy who wants all his films to cross 25 crores. I am happy if buyers make money.

Your opinion about film school started by your brother?
We are producing so many films and we have very few talented writers. These talented writers are spreading themselves thin by accepting more projects than what they can handle. Industry lacks talented writers. I hope that the film school started by my brother would help the industry in getting some real talent. I feel that every new director should have some film education irrespective of how much experience he has an assistant director.

Did you watch any films recently?
I do not want to watch other films while I am shooting for a film. Some times we might get influenced by hit films and feel that our film might not have such elements. It sometimes makes us feel confused about the project we work on. Since my involvement with Chintakayala Ravi is over now, I am planning to watch all the films now by getting prints to our studios.

Tell us about your future films?

Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum (KVJ): This film has a mix of action, romance and friendship. Krish has got different way of dealing with subject. He is more natural when it comes to performances. He prefers realistic way when it comes to show emotions. KVJ film will be more youthful.

Seenu Vytla film: This film will start after KVJ. I knew Seenu Vytla for a long time and he is an excellent director for comedy. Our combination film is pending for a long time. My brother will produce it. The basic line is ready. It will be a complete freak-out film.

For some films you work hard and pin lot of hopes that the film would become a hit. And it might become a flop. Likewise, there could be some films which you thought are mediocre, but might end up becoming blockbusters. How do you handle the success/failure aspect of your films?
I learnt to accept the results by keeping emotions aside. My spiritual practice has helped me a lot. I feel that God has a design that works in a mysterious way. I am sincere about my films, but I am not serious about them.

There were instances where I got some remake subjects out of blue, I accepted them and they became huge blockbusters. There were times I rejected some remakes as I did not suit them. I recommended some other heroes for the producers. Those films also became hits. And probably those heroes do not even know that I recommended those subjects to them.

I follow this principle. Do it, submit it and exit from it. We should exit from the project once it's complete. We should not keep it close to our heart and get emotional about it. You should know how to exit and you should prepare yourself to exit. Once you exit from it, the hit/flop does not matter.

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