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20 Apr 2014
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Face-to-Face: R.P.Patnaik

R.P.Patnaik needs no introduction. He reached the Telugu audience through his voice and music compositions.
R.P.Patnaik was introduced to screen through Teja's film Chitram. Though he didnot have very much background in music, he amused telugu movie lovers with
his music. Born in Parvathipuram of Vijayanagaram Dist. and brought up in Visakhapatnam, R.P.Patnaik graduated out of Andhra University with post-graduation.
After his entry to the films, he delivered melodious music for the films like Manasantha Nuvve, Santosham, Jayam, Nuvvu Nenu, and many more. He even scored for one
song in Chiranjeevi's Indra. It is a turn of events from RP's side. He will be seen, very soon, on the screen as an actor. Seenu Vasanthi Lakshmi, a remake of
Tamil Kasi (Original in Malayalam), is remade into Telugu with R.P.Patnaik in the lead. The film is slated for release on 26th of March. Here is
a face-to-face with R.P.Patnaik, where Vamsy spoke to him in detail about not just the films but R.P.'s personal side too.

As scheduled, I arrived at 6:00 PM to R.P.Studio. It is not that difficult to identify the studio, where R.P. is known to spend
most of his time. A big poster of Seenu Vasanthi Laxmi welcomes you to the studio. To a new entrant it might be just a poster but being in
this field for quite sometime, it is the welcoming sign into R.P. Studio. It is not R.P.'s studio. But R.P.Studio. This is created by one of
R.P.'s close friend for R.P. R.P. usually spends most of his in this recording center. Except for Suresh Productions films, when he works at Rama Naidu
studios, R.P. works in this studio for all his films.

After a cordial greeting, R.P. gets ready to take the questions. Apparently, the first is about the break for almost 1 year from music.
R.P.quickly corrects and gives the precise figure. "It is 8 months". Now he is resurfacing as an actor. He also composed music for the film.
He says. "It was an intentional break. I wanted to finish off the commitments before August and concentrate on this project from September.
I reserved
my dates accordingly. Parallely, I worked on my directoral venture too.". However, he doesnot want to reveal more about his directoral venture
right now, except that the
film will go to floors in July and will be shot in US. Casting will be decided by the end of April. It will be an English film. However, if the casting is going
to be Indian or foreign is not decided yet. He will also be an executive partner in the production for this film.

How did Seenu Vasanthi Lakshmi take off?

Seenu Vasanthi Lakshmi is the film about a blind singer. It was a superhit in Malayalam and Tamil. It looks like an art film but it's a commercial one.
Atluri Purnachandra Rao garu bought the rights for the Telugu remake. He waited for me for almost 2 years. It was like - when I said let's go, he had commitments and when
he said yes, I had my commitments. So finally, we opted to give it to another producer, N.M.Suresh. He is a friend of mine. I did a film with him in
Kannada. Today happens to be the 100th day of the film.

I saw the Tamil film Kasi. It is heart touching. Vikram bagged national award for the film....

No. Vikram bagged filmfare award and Kalabhavan Mani bagged national award (Malayalam Version).

Is the plot changed or is kept intact?

The plot is not supposed to be changed. It is the life of the film. However, we changed the situation of the songs. In Kasi (Tamil version) or 'Vasanthi, Lakshmi, Pinne Nyanum' (Malayalam version),
the main lead character is a beggar. He is a festival singer in Telugu. Since we changed the characterization of the hero, the situations of the
songs changed.

The film has a tragic ending. Don't you think it is a risk experimenting with such kind of plots? How do you think audience will receive it?

If I had the image as a hero, then it might have been a problem. Audience will treat me as a new artist and will accept me in this role.

Would you continue your career as an actor?

No. I am pursuing the career in direction.

How about music?

I will compose only for my films. I mean, the films which I direct will have my music.

So is this the only film where we get to see you as an actor?

Personally, I fell that I will never be able to get any character better than this. This is one of the best characters that have come on Telugu screen.

Did you go through any training process to become an actor?

Not really. I had some stage experience in my childhood. Also, I was a co-student with Sunil, Sandesh and others. In 96, all of us got training in a
workshop on acting. Though I was not keen on acting, I attended the workshop to improve my diction because I wanted to sing.

You are planning for a directoral career. What kind of films are you intersted in making? - Art or commercial

Now a days, the meaning has changed. Commercial means which earns good amount of money to the producer. It is really the ratio of return to the investment.
Investments in my films will be comparitively less. One thing I could assure you is, I will not follow anyone. I will do according to the script.
And also I will do scripts without getting influenced by other language videos.

You have become an inspiration for aspiring music directors. Would you suggest a music background for them?

I cannot tell swaras or ragas in the music I composed myself. But it reaches to millions of people and they enjoy it. I learnt a little bit of music in my childhood. I dont think
it helped me. Composing is different than learning. One needs good communication skills. Creative part is more important than the classical learning part.
The raga that the song is based on is not that important but whether it is reaching the people or not is the important one.

What do you feel is the best of your work?

Yet to come.

In a previous interview you mentioned that you are a fan of Ilayaraja. How did you feel composing his work (Kasi in Tamil) in Telugu and did you meet him in this regard?

Actually, I met him when I sang a song for him in one of his movies. That was one of my most exciting moments. While discussing on that song,
he came to know that I was doing the music of Kasi in Telugu. He asked me to come and meet him before I start working on that. He suggested me
on the changes he populated from Malayalam to Tamil. Taking that as input, I composed Telugu tunes.

Did you see Kasi or Vasanthi, Lakshmi, Pinne Nyanum

I saw both the films. I have even seen the Kannada version.

Did you meet the cast of the films in this context?

Not exactly in the context. But I met both Vikram and Kalabhavan Mani during filmfare awards. I got the best music director award. I called on these
two great actors on to the stage and I announced before the audience that these two have done a fantastic job in the respective languages.
I took their wishes.

What would you like to tell the audience about the film?

They will understand what I am trying to say after watching the film. If Seenu had his eyes, this story would have never happened.

You seem to be very inspired. Are you planning to start any trust or charity?

Already 100 people from our unit have donated their eyes to Chiranjeevi Charitable Trust. After release of this film, I would take an active part
in visiting the people and talking to them to motivate them in donating eyes. This character really touched me and I felt the pain of a blind person. If
atleast 100 people can get eyes because of me, that itself would give a meaning to my life. This wont be as a promotion for the film. I know it is going to be
a sure shot hit. It will run for itself.

So you are planning to go personally and meet the people at the theaters and through TV Channels

Not necessarily. I will go to the theaters and also will meet them in person. Not through TV channels, though.

The makeup was very good. Did you use contact lense?

There was absolutely no makeup. I didnot use any contacts. It is all natural. I didnot use even a drop of glycerine.

How did E.Srinivas get to direct this film?

E.Srinivas is a good friend of mine. Dasarath, Trivikram, Sunil, E.Srinivas, myself and few more are good friends and are like a batch.
Others from the same batch - Gopi, Chandu - are coming up. I thought this will
be a good break for E.Srinivas.

What did you think of E.Srinivas after seeing the rushes?

Because there is some director in me, there is every possibility that I would interfere in the project. Fortunately or unfortunately he didnot allow me to do it.
Fortunately - he did a good job. Unfortunate is for he didnot let me do it. He was very clear in what he wanted.

How do you take the critics?

I accept the facts. If someone tells me that I shouldnot have sung all the songs in Nijam. I accept that. But that happened. Past is past.
If someone says I am headstrong or arrogant or something of that sort, I care them a foot.

Seenu Vasanthi Lakshmi is releasing during the time of elections, cricket and amidst big budget films. Add to it Jai is releasing around the same time.

At the time of elections, people will have more money. So they tend to spend.
As far as high budget films are concerned, Seenu Vasanthi Lakshmi will have silent bunch of audience. And cricket also adds
an advantage. This is releasing during the Test match period. Ladies will miss the serials and they dont have the patience to see the 5 day match.
Teja's film release is due to Kulasekhar who decided the auspicious dates for us. It will be an advantage for me and it wont be a
disadvantage for Teja. He has got his group of audience. Overflow of Teja's film will come to my film, because we belong to the same feather.

So, does this mean the theaters are going to be close by, going by what you said about overflow

Ofcourse yes.

Due to the slab system, the film is restricted for 35 prints. The budget of the film is around 2.5 crores. It will release into a number of 40 theaters
allover AP. R.P.Patnaik is very confident about the film. He says, "Casting is one of the major plus points for the film.
One thing I can assure - people will not get disappointed. It is not
because I did it. But I can vouch this is the best film. ".

On personal front,
R.P. loves traveling outside India. He feels that he is yet to see the best place of his travel. Out of the places he visited, Las Vegas is the place
that attracted him the best. He is planning a trip to Europe very shortly. The food he likes the best are Chicken items and Naan with Panneer Butter masala.

Ask him about politics. You will get a surprising reply. "I dont mind campaigning against Sonia Gandhi. There are 120 crore Indians,
who are pure Indians. There will definitely be atleast 1 person better than her.
Why should we support foreigners. She took 14 years in deciding to get an Indian citizenship after marriage.
That is the respect she has towards the nation. An Indian tried to contest for a consuler position in Italy and they didnot allow him because he is an Indian.
I am not against congress nor in favour of BJP or TDP - I am 200% against Sonia Gandhi. ".

After the conversation, RP dictates his phone number and hints on not giving his phone number to girls or lyricists. Girls is understandable. Why not lyricists?
Is it because he already has friend Kulasekhar penning the lyrics for him? The answer is "Most of the aspiring lyrcists dont know the difference
between Bhadha and Badha.".

Well! R.P., It was nice talking to you and we hope all your future endeavours be a great success. We wish you all the best for Seenu Vasanthi Lakshmi.

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