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23 Apr 2014
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Puri Jagannath

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Quick chat with Puri Jagannath

It is not new for Puri Jagannath to produce and direct a film. But this time it is different. He is involved in production and direction for two different films. He is directing Chiruta that has Ramcharan in the lead and producing Hello Premisthara with his brother Sairam Shankar. Rajkumar is directing Hello Premisthara. Audio of Hello Premisthara released recently and the film will release on 30th of this month. Another interesting fact is that Dhil Raju is also one of the producers of this film.
Though he wanted to talk about Hello Premisthara, my first question was about Chirutha for which he replied that he would talk about it towards the end of the interview. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

For Hello Premistara, you are involved only in production. This is the first time you are involved only in production for a film. How do you feel about it?

At extreme comfort level. I did not know when it started and when it ended. It is because of the hard work of the team that I did not have to put in too much effort. For the previous films, I was both producer and director. But for this film, I am only the producer. So less of responsibility. Also, Dhil Raju is involved in the project. So all the more less work (laughs).

How did it all happen? I mean, the film and then association with dhil Raju etc.

Dhil Raju referred Rajkumar to me and suggested that I hear his script. I liked the story. More than the story, I liked the presentation style of Rajkumar. So I called Dhil Raju and said I am all for it. I wondered if I can do it or if he is doing it. He said we could do it together. And that is how the film started. In fact, I was to do a film for Dhil Raju. But for variouis reasons, the film did not materialize yet.

What is it that you liked the most in the story or script

I cannot tell you that now. If I tell you now, you will lose the thrill when you watch it on screen. It is a nice and cute love story. Lot of people say that their concept is new, idea is novel etc. But I feel that as long as you can keep the audience engaged for the duration of the film, you are successful with the film. In this film, hero works for a mobile company AirTalk. He is very jovial guy. He falls in love with ETV anchor who hosts a program named Hello Premisthara. Rajkumar has full grip on this subject. No doubt about it. He is successful in brining the script on to the screen to my expectations. As a producer, I am very happy with the output.

Chakri composed music for this film. The music is in sync with your style. Also, promos suggest your touch. What kind of suggestions and support did Rajkumar for direction?

I only gave him one suggestion for the film - Sai is not a big hero; so do not waste lot of footage and bank on crisp editing.
I have to think of these things being a producer. That is pretty much it. I did not get too much involved in the direction. I believe in giving full freedom to the director. I liked the story. All I had to do then was to provide all the resources that the director is looking for and give him full freedom. That is what I did.

Is this film entertainment oriented?

Ofcourse. The movie is all about entertainment. There is plenty of comedy in the film. It does not run as a seperate track but is interleaved in the story. The casting is apt in the film. Brahmanandam, Sunil, Ali, Mallikarjuna Rao etc are all there in the film. Sheila did very well in the film. She did so well that Dhil Raju picked her for his next film that has Allu Arjun playing the lead and Bommarillu Bhaskar as the director.

You directed many high budget films in the past. What do you think of low budget films?

I started from low budget movies. I know those situations. I strongly believe that more of low budget films with good quality should release and should be received well. It is good for the industry. In fact, I am planning to produce films at reuglar intervals from now on.

Tell us about Sairam Shankar?

Personally, I feel that he is a good performer. I have good confidence that he will sustain as hero. I liked Sai's performance in 143 itself. I feel that showing him in rugged looks will do him good.

You always maintain a style. Did you ever dream of being a hero?

(Laughs)...Every director will have a hero in him and similarly, every hero has a director within him. One should handle his own responsibility and should make sure the other passion within is not overtaking. As a director, I know what to expect of the actor but that does not mean that I should act. Similarly, a hero would be able to judge the story very well but that does not mean that they write the script and the story. That is simply not possible. In simple terms, one should handle their own responsibility.

What do you think are the qualities of a director?

Good movie knowledge, understanding on story and script, and ability to convince a producer. But if you just have the ability to convince a producer, that should be it (laughs).

How do you keep yourself updated with the films?

Frankly, I dont watch lot of Telugu movies. In fact, I could count the number of Telugu Films that I saw in the last 16 years.
Out of those few, 3 are Chiranjeevi films and 1 is Mahesh Babu's. I saw Mahesh Babu's Okkadu before directing Pokiri. Dont ask me why I dont watch lot of Telugu movies. When I was narrating story to Pawan Kalyan for Badri, he suggested that one of the scenes resembled a scene from Gokulamo Sita. I havent seen the movie. He quickly understood that and asked me on what was the reason that made me go to him with the story when I havent seen a single movie of his. I said it is his image and the recognition I enjoy that will make it a successful combination and that worked.

When is your next film with Pawan?

I am also waiting for it. I narrated several stories so far. Let us wait and see.

Finally when the interview is all done, he talked about Chiruta. 'Done with production except for 3 songs. Audio will release next week into the market without any function. Movie came out very well. I dont want to say anything more than that at this point', added the director.

Well, we wish all the best to the Unit of Hello Premistara.

Interviewed by Phani

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