Dasarath, who is well remembered for his stupendous blockbuster with all sections of the audiences – Santosham, says that he has achieved his ambition: To become a film director, only film director and nothing else. But, the long journey taught him the importance of patience and faith in his profession in the face of a slow going. His latest film Swagatham, as he says, is his own mind. He attributes the successful completion of the film to the entire unit. His special thanks is to hero Jagapathi Babu, who jointly produces the film with Aditya Ram. Excerpts from the interview.
What is all about Swagatham? Who is welcoming whom?
Swagatham is a pure family entertainer. Along with the elements of family sentiment, music and songs, I gave equal importance to comedy. This I think is the specialty of Swagatham. I am not going to give any message. It is an out and out commercial entertainer. Coming to the title, it is welcoming the good for the good by the good people. To say it right, it's a feel good film.
How do you define a family entertainer?
Different people have different definitions. Some people think a family entertainer is free from vulgarity. They say the so-called terms expose and vulgarity are prohibited if you were to give a clean show. But, I believe that vulgarity is a personal disorder. A family entertainer is one which provides all elements from A to Z and 1 to All. It is for the audience to take what they want. As a director, I do like to make films as per my mind and limitations. Again, the films are meant for the people. They are the real judges to pass verdict on a movie's performance.
Tell us about the making of Swagatham.
We enjoyed the making of the film. Nearly 60 percent of the film was shot in the USA, that too mostly in New Jersey. It deals with the moods of the Telugu NRI community over there. The situations are not deliberate. They are realistic in treatment. Three characters – Jagapati Babu, Anushka and Bhumika – are an integral part of the story and their characterizations grow along with the narration. You also have diehard uniformity in the costumes. Generally, in most films, the costumes are dealt with to feast the eyes and to enhance the glamour of the characters. Here, I made it a point that the characters wear the costumes as the public do wear them in real life. Swagatham reflects the lifestyle. The same trend is followed in canning the song sequences. It is not simply changing the locations for color and variety. Songs too give a natural feel and suit the mindset of the characters. RP Patnaik's music has really enhanced the richness of our project.
What about Jagapati Babu's characterization? Don't you think you are just repeating the One-Hero-Two-Heroines again? After all, this is a regular feature in the hero's earlier films?
Absolutely No. I already said, each character is highly individualistic. I understand your point. The audience might draw inference from Jagapati Babu's previous films like Aayanaku Iddaru etc. They will surely say Swagatham has nothing to do with this set mold. I once again clarify. The film has nothing to do with any triangular love story. The movie is a sincere reaction of three characters to the circumstances in which they are; and to requirements they have to fulfill – let it be in social or personal life.
To what extent you think heroines Bhumika and Anushka have contributed to the success of the film?
Yes. The heroines are the right choice for the film. Anushka's glamour is going to be a major highlight. No director had culled the best from her as I have done in this film. She would definitely get the best appreciation from the audiences thanks to her down-to-earth performance. Same is the case with Bhumika. She is an unassuming person. She understood the director's requirements and simply caught hold of my mind. She simply excelled in what she did.
How thrilled are you with RP Patnaik's music?
RP's music did count a lot for this film. He is ignited with zeal, zest and vengeance in the wake of his low-profile these days. I am hundred percent satisfied with his tunes. Moreover, they suit the film's musical requirements so perfectly. Already we got positive report on the Music in the market. Above all, RP is a good friend of mine. Not that we are doing this film, but we regularly meet at least twice in a week. That is our understanding.
What is your opinion about Jagapati Babu – professionally and personally?
Let it be the one and only opinion. He is a thoroughly gentleman, so kind and understanding. But for his support, the film Swagatham would not have been here now. Actually, he wanted to produce the film completely by himself when I narrated the subject. His association as joint producer shows his confidence in the project.
What is your confidence level about this film?
It is positioned to 90 degrees. The film is near to my heart and I too succeeded in finishing the project with the outcome exactly touching my expectations. The audiences are going to have a surprise. After the release, it is going to be a big talk of the crowds.
Swagatham is all set to release on 25th of January. We thank Dasarath for his time and we wish that all his hopes turn true on this film.