Ram, who had struck gold in his career with his very debut film Devdas, consolidated his position as a highly explosive and potential mass hero with Jagadam. He always prefers to be aloof from the hype and media blare, but he found some time to give an exclusive interview to Totaltollywood.com. This coincides with the Birthday of Ram, coming up tomorrow (May 15). His latest film Ready – with tagline running Dhenikaina, is finished to its shoot, barring the last leg formalities, and gets ready for Release probably in the second week of June. He speaks about his director Srinu Vaitla, Genelia, Peter Haynes and what not. His urge for versatility is seen in his sharp and hunting eyes. It is four years now since Ram entered the Tollywood, yet giving only two films. He doesn't believe in Number Game, but ardently trusts in hard work and creativity.
You clinched the deal as a debut hero in Devadas. Again, you proved your mettle as a mass hero with high energy levels. But, you are taking to the lighter-vein subject with Ready. Don't you think, you might be at a loss with less scope for you to perform amidst a plethora of artistes?
It's a good commercial perception. I knew my limitations. After all, I am two-movies old. I am happy the audiences accepted my presence in the industry. When I did Devadas, it was all like rapid fire and curiosity with my inner levels. When I did Jagadam, I could take on some matured levels and understood the dynamics of a hero's characterization. I further studied the possibility of a hero's growth – from the point of view of the audiences. Ready is certainly my choice for my audiences. Srinu Vaitla watched Devadas and got convinced with my strengths for an out and out comedy entertainer without spilling off the commercial elements. For this kind of film, you need to have multiple objects. In fact, I enjoy working with a good number of artistes in this film. You will sure find the Srinu Vaitla mark entertainment. I am thrilled in one aspect. My burden as hero in Ready when compared to my previous films Devdas and Jagadam is very less. This gave me a good opportunity to work in a lighter-vein film, away from serious subject for the time being.
Is Ready an extension of Dhee?
It is not an extension of Dhee. In fact, Vishnu did a good job and proved his stamina in Dhee. I can only say, my film Ready might have a close ride alongside Dhee, but its script, characterization and other aspects have altogether new dimensions. Change is the principle of success in the entertainment industry, particularly. Of course, some similarities are there. Brahmanandam is going to rock from the start to finish. I can't say more than that. To cut the ice, it's a rocking family entertainer.
In family entertainer, we can't expect much masala elements like stunts?
Nothing of the sort. You have superb stunts. Peter Haynes took an oath. I quote him here… If I don't get a good name as a stuntman with this film, I will surely leave the industry. That is the confidence level. There are two exclusive getups of mine for this department of action. You will watch it.
What about songs?
This is my second film with Devi Sri Prasad (after Jagadam) To be frank, I don't believe in dancing for all the songs. There are certain levels. Romantic, frolic and offbeat. There is no need to rip the screen with dances. But, I am sure; all the numbers will be entertaining. There are six songs with a judicious mix of mass beats and melody.
How you felt working with Srinu Vaitla?
He is a very flexible technician. He understands the stamina of an artiste and would leave no stone unturned to get the best out of him. Moreover, he is a master of his own script. I observed one thing. Hero's personal character and a director's imagination and creativity will play the magic. But both have to match with each other and should be equally good. This well suits our combination.
How about Genelia?
Yes. She is a much disciplined artiste and a topmost heroine here. I heard that some heroines do perturb the producers and directors with their pranks and non-cooperation. But, there is never such a problem with her. As this film Ready is made on our home banner, I personally observed that the entire unit is all in praise for her.
Ready is produced by your home production banner. How is it working in your home production banner?
It is a great feeling. In fact, my respect for my uncle (Ravikishore) went to further levels. The kind of respect he demands from the unit he works with is apparent. His knowledge, dedication and involvement is amazing. He spares no expense to get what is needed. Every one in the unit feels like working on a home project. It is a great feeling.
Did you take any remuneration for this film?
Highly confidential...... (laughs)
Now, tell us about your forthcoming project with B. Gopal and MS Raju. We hear that it makes an odd combination.
MS Raju knew me ever since I was a thirteen year old boy. He had even asked me to a do a film, which got released recently. But, I was engaged with Jagadam. Coming to the present script, Raju is very confident. He says that it is the script which he found to be very powerful after Okkadu. The same was also narrated to uncle (pedananna Sravanti Ravi Kishore). That time I was sitting on the script of Ready. In the meantime, the script (of MS Raju-B. Gopal film) was developed further and worked to perfection. I too am amazed with it. Both of them are very responsible and sensitive technicians. Charki is in mind for the music and Hansika is the heroine.
What about Rey? It should have come earlier?
Of course. YVS Chowdary was busy with his US trips and working on the script. Moreover, it is a big budget film. By the time everything gets finalized, it would be somewhere around September. So, uncle thought it right to do a film before that. That is B. Gopal film, which is likely to release in October. The shoot is commencing from May 21st, tentatively. And we are planning to start shoot of Rey in September and release it as Sankranti gift 2009.
What kind of films do you watch? How do you update yourself with regard to the flashing trends?
I hardly watch movies. When I was in Chennai, I used to watch some Tamil films and mostly English films, apart from the movies of our banner. Coming to updating myself, its quite easy. The TV media will not give you any rest. Even if you want to be an ignorant, it doesn't leave you. Simply, you are forced to remain updated. Its good.
How do you find your journey in Tollywood?
I entered in April 2004. Now, its four years. It's very Loooooooooooong. I know that I did just two films. Hereafter, I wish to speed up my career, but not in a hurry.
In Bollywood or Tollywood, everybody is talking about six packs and eight packs? What about your option?
Simply, I am not interested. It's a separate taste for some people. I don't think I will develop interest in that in future also. In case, the story demands any such figure, I might try, but not certain.
You are seen on the sets regularly, though you don't really have the schedules. Why? Do you give any suggestions?
I wish to have a thorough idea of the filmmaking. It is a kind of curiosity. When I watch a scene, which I have to follow up later, it will sure give me an idea of the emotions. The action-reaction principle will work out, I believe so. It will also enhance the creative levels. Coming to suggestions, I frankly do it when I feel it so. Whether the director or any technician follows it or not, I am least bothered. But, it is not my nature to poke my nose in areas which is not under my purview.
It was criticized that you imitated Pawan Kalyan in Devadas, but retained your originality in Jagadam. Do you keep changing your style film after film?
I tell you this. I like to be very flexible in my celluloid career. Some people might call it versatility. I would be lucky if I could master it. It all depends on the blessings and acceptance of the audiences, who are the ultimate judges.
What is your personal view of a Cinema?
A cinema is one which doesn't have any particular categorization. Generally, movies deal with subjects related to personal failures, achievements and the like. You can do a film with just One crore rupees. The same could be done in hundred crores or thousand crores. I believe in limitless creativity. At the same time, I vote for entertainment factor and is not really bothered about the message segment.
These days, films are directly impacting the youth; say it with elements like elopement, violence and other mal-content. Don't you think your film Jagadam belonged to that streak with its message in favor of violence?
There is a saying that the bad spreads faster than the good. When the hero in Jagadam is shown as the perpetrator and believer of violence that is the beginning of the realization. Naturally, you know the climax. Good always is the winner.
Do you have any plans to do versatile and experimental roles?
Yes. I believe Jagadam too comes under that genre, thanks to its dark shades. Moreover, such roles require more maturity and understanding of the profession. I am confident. I will surely do such roles.
Ok. What are the highlights in Ready? Any item songs?
We took a lot of pains shooting the film, yet we enjoyed it absolutely. You have a song sequence shot near Medak with 400 junior artistes. There is another scene where we used nearly 50 vehicles. It is a lavish entertainer which is hitting with a Rs. 13 crore budget. You don't have any item songs, as the script doesn't demand such element. Senior cinematographer Prasad worked for the project. You have the locations shot in Swiss. A lot more things will entertain you.
Thank you, Ram. We wish Ram a very happy birthday and success in all his future endeavours. We thank him for this exclusive time.