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Chitchat with Venkat Kuchipudi
Kaveri  Jha

March 18, 2008

After delivering a flop with Modati Cinema, Venkat Kuchipudi has done his homework right this time to make a comedy film titled ‘John Appa Rao 40+’ (JAR40+) with Krishna Bhagwan and Simran in the main leads. JAR40+ will be releasing on 20th of this month. Here are the excerpts of chitchat -

What went wrong with your debut film Modati Cinema?
People expected a pure love story out of it and I mislead them by giving excess dose of comedy. I did not have confidence that people would be interested in a love story with two unknown faces. Hence I padded the film with lots of comedians. My move misfired.

Are you implementing any lessons you learnt from Modati cinema in JAR 40+ film?
Yes. The title indicates that it is a comedy film about an aged bachelor like Krishna Bhagawan and a hot lady like Simran. Whoever comes to theater with this expectation will get satisfied.

What is the story of JAR 40+?
It is a love story between a career oriented man and a career oriented woman. They have their own reasons for not marrying till then. There is much more to the film than the love and comedy. I established the character of John Appa Rao for the first 30 minutes of the film and then he meets heroine.

Tell us about Krishna Bhagawan character?
In all his earlier films, he used to do satires on other characters. But in this film other characters do satires on him. It will be in the mould of Bhagyaraja character. Comedy will be generated by people digging at him.

What about Simran?
She is doing a very decent and dignified character. There are no cheap elements about her. She has done a fabulous job.

Tell us about how you worked for this film?
I took a lot of care in terms of script. I learnt that we should never take audiences out of the story and we should always keep focused on narration. The movie will be gripping once the story starts after 30 minutes. I feel that songs in this film are going to be a distraction.

Tell us about music?
Nobody bothers to come to a movie of Krishna Bhagawan expecting some great music. That’s why we tried to bank on old hits by remixing them than creating new sound and then inject it into crowds. I wanted to have fun element in songs.

Krishna Bhagawan is known for his improvisation on the spot. Did he contribute to script of JAR40+?
No. But he helped in terms of consistency in characterizations. He is a sharp observer.

Why is JAR40+ release delayed?
The postproduction work took much more time than I anticipated. I tried new things in terms of visual graphics. DI work and sound effects took a month each. Editor Naveen took 600 hours to edit this film.

Tell us about editor Naveen?
He is one of the best things happened to Telugu film industry. He is passionate, hardworking and has lots of creativity. He is extremely good at editing songs. He took 100 hours edit ‘Meghalalo’ song.

How is the business of the film?
I shot this film with a budget of 3 crores and I am almost recovering it before the release. I could make this film in 2 crores by compromising on making. But I wanted my product to be rich and competent. I had gone through great difficulties throughout the making of this film. Siri Media has bough the film for Nizam area.

If you look at the films with comedian as hero, JAR40+ is the first film to have such business craze. Shooting the majority of film in RFC (Ramoji Film City) also helped me.

How did RFC help you?
I shot 23 days of the film in RFC. I never expected it to be so flexible. In other areas, I could only shoot one scene at a time. In RFC, they make their entire infrastructure available to us. Due to artists’ dates problems if we change the scene, they arrange an alternate set and let us shoot. The prices are also very reasonable. RFC is cost-effective if you do proper planning. It is a one stop shop for all your film needs.

What is your next project?
I have a couple of scripts. It all depends on the success of JAR40+. But I will do only unusual films in the future.

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