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16 Apr 2014
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Laxmikanth Chenna

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Laxmikanth is the new kid on the block. He came to limelight with the film Hyderabad Nawabs. Laxmikanth worked as associate for many years. His talent and experience clearly reflects in the style he presented Hyderabad Nawabs.

I got a chance to meet up with Laxmikanth at the production office. He is as casual as his movie. He is jovial and very friendly. During the interview, he had to step out - to give a "byte" to the TV channels on piracy. The following are the excerpts from his interview.

Congratulations! Tell us how you are taking this. Also, give us a hint of your background.

Thank you. You know this is my first film as director. I am very happy that the film is getting good response from all cornors. What
else can a debut director ask for?

I come from a middle class family. I completed my intermediate and came to Hyd to join in movies. I was planning to step in as assitant director. Editor Shankar adviced me that I am better off to handle editing. His view is that it would help a lot in understanding the dynamics
of film. In 1996, I joined with Shankar. I worked for about 40 films with him as assistant editor. I learned a lot. I observed the directors very closely in the editing room. I paid close attention to their discussions.
I worked in the editing room for about 4 1/2 years staring from Ninne Pelladata. Also, I worked as assistant director with Teja for Nuvvu Nenu. I did very few films as assistant director - Yeh Dil (Hindi), Okariki Okaru, Grahanam and Angrez.

The best thing I ever did was following editor Shankar's advice. It is the editing room that taught me everything.

How did you get chance with Hyderabad Nawabs?

I worked as assistant director for Angrez. I got in good touch with RK, who played mama role in the film. More over, I put in a lot of efforts
for Angrez. And also since the director himself played a role in Angrez, I got a chance to handle more of directorship. RK observed my efforts
and got a good view of my takings. And almost around the same time I kind of told him that I have some good scripts and wondered if he knew any producers. So after 3-4 months from the time we completed Angrez, RK called me. He called me very casual. By then I was working for Bommarillu. After the regular chat, he said that he and Aziz (who played Pappu in Hyd Nawabs) made a story and he is even producing the film. And he declared that I am the director. It was all of a sudden and I was shocked. I could not believe it. He even gave me some amount as advance. I did not have words. The fact is, I have been trying around a lot. Here I got a chance where the producer came to me. I really owe him for that. In fact, I started thinking if I am all ready for handling the film. RK narrated me the story and we decided that with tight screenplay this would be a sure winner.

I always wanted to make different films, have a style of my own. That would automatically get me the special recognition. This film gave me the full scope for it and I believe I utilized it.

So is your next film going to be on the same lines?

It is definitely going to be different. I will direct my story that I developed for quite sometime.
There will be freshness in story and narration too. Story line is thin but it is the characters that I am very confident of.

Usually, debut directors prefer doing their own stories. You directed the story of RK. How comfortable were you? Since the film is different, did you think this is a risky step?

I was totally comfortable. After hearing the story line, I got an idea... it would have loads of comedy.. visual comedy. I was pretty sure that with effective treatment, it would be great.
Never at any time, I felt it was risky.

How did you zero on casting?

RK already had few characters in mind when he narrated the story. The fact is he prepared the story line on these characters. The characterization was natural and very real... like typical city-based teenagers. Also, Mast Ali and Aziz come from the needed background and that made my life easy. Before the film took off, I did home work on the style of Old City folks. For example, Rajeev Srivatsava played Hanif Bhai role as a mutton shop owner. But in real life, he has no clue about it and does not even know how to hold a mutton knief. We trained him for such body language etc. There is a lot of ground work done behind this project. We were totally prepared with all the arrangements such as
even growing natural beard for some of the folks before we went to the floors.

Though the film is doing well, the talk is that this film is a multiplex film. What is your say?

Not at all. It started off in 7 theaters. Now it is running in 15 theaters within a week of its release. This film has an universal appeal and
is a comedy film. There is a lot of visual comedy (expressions and comedy circumstances) that has nothing to do with the language, if you are referring to the language used in the film (Deccan Hindi to most part). In fact, at this point we are planning to release the film in North also. Also, the first song in the film is a mix of 9 languages along with Deccan Hindi.

What about music?

Viswa composed music. Anil gave the background score. Anil comes from a masterful background. He did his music study from Berlin. He knows what he is doing and the quality can be seen in the film. He did a fantastic job in enhancing the mood of the film.

Editing is also pretty sleek!

Thank you. As you know, I am an editor myself. But Lokesh did editing for this film. Lokesh is my brother. He is one of the leading editor nowa days. We planned everything from the beginning. This is critical so that we donot waste the available resources. Every day, before we start filming, we discuss on what we want to do and how it should come on screen. That is why we could make the film in estimated budget.

What is Cinema to you

It is an entertainment medium. Every one comes to a movie to get some entertainment, relaxation.. whatever you want to call it. If we can give
them the entertainment, then we are winners. At the same time, we should make sure that there is some message as under current.

Is it true that you shot few scenes in some house and not locations or sets.

Yes. That is true. For some of the scenes involving Hanif Bhai's house, we filmed that at a real house. There are so many problems associated with such arrangement, especially for lighting etc. I hve to thank Joshi for his patience in that regard. He did a fantastic job.

What are your future projects?

I am making the second film with my own story. I am planning it to be a bilingual. Discussions are going on. I will tell you when everything is confirmed.
Interviewed by Phani

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