An exclusive interview with Sekhar Kammula
Here is the follow up of the first interview
with Sekhar Kammula.
Sekhar responded to few questions from audience
before the release of the film. Godavari released and is doing excellent at the box office both in India and overseas.
Phani caught up with Sekhar after the release. Sekhar responded to few more of audience questions. Also, Sekhar talked in detail about Godavari, the general feedback he has been getting on the film and his opinion on doing remakes. Here is the exclusive - only for TotalTollywood.
The following is the interview done by TotalTollywood
Sekhar gaaroo, what advice would you like to give to aspiring directors like me who set themselves high standards even before they start realizing their dreams or know what its all about?
Hai sekhar, I am planning to pursue masters in sanjose state university. After that I want to move in your path that is to pursue masters in MFA at howard university or even better . what is the placement criteria's in amigos corporation. I want to be a part in it.
I am a software engineer & very much interested in movies. What would u suggest me in this concern. How can one enter into this field.
(After a pause), I will to tell u one thing. Take it as advice or whatever. Do not plan for anything with an agenda. First realize your true passion and potential. If you have the passion, it does not matter where you are doing it. I mean, if you want to study something, it does not matter where you are doing it if you have full dedication towards it. So here is what I would say - First analyze the range of your passion towards film making, ie. if it is really the interest in film making or if you like watching movies. Working with Amigos, Suresh Productions or Ramoji films is the secondary thing. If you have the true potential and zeal, the banners will look for you.
As for the other question, if you have the zeal, passion and honesty, I will give you a chance. Movie making should not be an agenda. Put your heart in your work and things will happen automatically. All the best to you all.
hello sekhar sir, there is a rumor that u have planned ur anand movie with Pavan Kalyan.
Is it true? What is the reason u have dropped him. Why don't u plan ur next film with Pavan?
I am ur loyal fan. I like ur flair in direction. I am impressed with ur personal and professional views by reading ur interviews. I found some co relation between ur thoughts and Pavan Kalyan's views. Please direct Pavan with a story like swadesh.
in telugu there are no children movies . Very few like little soldiers and anjali…. I think this area has been neglected. I believe that u can make such films given your directions skills.. what do you say?
Vyasa Pawan, it is not a rumor. It is a fact that I planned Anand with Pawan Kalyan. But (laughs), I did not drop him. He was not available at that time. Films with Pawan Kalyan cannot just happen overnight. There are a lot of parameters in the equation when making film with Pawan who has such a huge image. I can tell you one thing. He will be definitely apt in my films. That is the truth. I also want to make a film with him and hopefully it will happen some time.
Chandu, Swadesh is a good movie. Sometimes I feel that this generation is becoming money minded. Swadesh opens eyes on that.
Srikanth, I agree that children's movies are less in number. I definitey have plans to make one. But I have to first settle financially
to venture into such projects on my own. It is not that far away.
How do you feel about the success of Godavari?
I am very happy. It is kind of a challenge since Godavari is coming after Anand and naturally audience will have expectations on the film. I am well aware of this fact when I was writing the script. I also knew that it is not just a good story or a star that will help reach the expecations. It has to be different. So I went for the backdrop of Godavari. I always wanted to make film with Godavari backdrop but I did not know that it would happen for my second film itself.
What matters to me is if I am able to meet the expectations of the audience and it is clear now that I succeeded in it. It is a great feeling. I hope this talk continues and the film turns into a good hit.
Few comments are that Godavari has traces of Anand?
Godavari represents and appeals close to the middle class. Middle class people (I mean regular tax payers.. laughs) are misrepresented in our films. I wanted to represent them truly and that happened in Anand. In Godavari, most of the characters and the opinions fall in the same category. So you might feel that there are traces. Tell me one thing. Most of our regular films has a hero who can fight a bunch of goons, and there are few songs with a heroine, and a few fights. Can you say that all these films have traces of each other?
I agree that there might be hangover from Anand but certainly I did not make another film like Anand. You might find some flavor. And also finding flavor of a good film is not a bad thing. Is it? (laughs). It is okay with me if the audience think I made another Anand as long as they are not disappointed with Godavari.
In your films, you seem to give emphasis on the individuality of the lady lead. In Godavari, you portrayed Sita, Rajeswari in different ways. Sita is full of individuality while Rajeswari has wavering mind. What are the intentions here?
That's a good question. I should confess here that I never intentionally planned the heroine character to reflect feminist ideas. In my view, both genders have equal importance. I don't try to impart any special importance based on gender. All of us
live on the same earth. Girls can do everything that guys can. I believe in equal rights and hence I am against the reservation too. In the present days, girls enjoy the same rights and they are competing with guys in every field. So I don't see
why they have to be treated any differently. In the past they might be oppressed. But definitely not now.
Coming to Godavari, Rajeswari character represents the true society in the fact that she cannot see the idealistic views of Sriram but only sees it as a weakness in the man. The very same Sriram is treated as a special person by Sita and that makes Rajeswari realize what she missed. Both Rajeswari and Sita characters are written with my heart in it. They are done to elevate the character of Sriram. I have equal respect for both of them. I cannot say which one is better. The only motive there is to show that if Sita kind of girl join Sriram, Sriram can reach any heights. Take both Anand and Godavari, both pairs Anand and Rupa, Sita and Ram will leave you with an impression they make a good pair.
Dog episodes are highlighted in the film. How did you come up with this thought. Was it planned from the beginning or did you
come up with this idea during production?
The main concept of Godavari is that a person of such good and idealistic views finds his soul mate who shares the same views. This concept is built on four characters - Sriram, Sita, Rajeswari, Ravindar. For the story to run, sub plots are needed. Boat journey is one example that runs around the main lead characters. Similar is the dog episode. That is molded as a fantasy element. A young boy Chinna lost everything for a small mistake committed by a person. That person is also in the boat. So Chinna boards the boat and the dog who considers Chinna as master tags along. These things all fitted apt in the context of the film.
I was inspired by something else about the talking dog. Once we started that episode, there were no bounds. I was able to express all my views through that episode. My favorite dialog in the entire film is "Maa amma cheppedi kshaminchadame manavatvam ani.. adi idenemo". If you look at those dialogs closely, there is touch of philosophy. In fact, forgivness (kshama) is what is missing these days. This is especially the case with today's hero roles. For a small mistake committed by some one, the hero is expected to
chop him up. That is called heroism these days. I don't agree with that. You can see that forgiveness is portrayed aptly through
the role of Chinna in Godavari.
How did you design Verayya role? Is that role created to elevate the Sriram role?
In our films, faction leaders are portrayed in different views so far. I wanted to express my opinion too. I feel that they know their mistake. Veerayya character comes into picture the very same way either Chinna or the dog characters were created. They are
subplots. Also, hero character is definitely elevated when he saves Rajeswari. Rajeswari realizes the hero in Sriram in that scene itself right.
After Anand you took some good gap and made the entire script for Godavari. How much time do you take to prepare a script? Also, you write your own story. How willing are you direct stories penned by others?
I am always in search of stories. I am willing to take stories from others too.
When I am inspired by an idea, I go to script work. I take my own time. I do not feel that getting late will make the project stale.
So there is no fixed time I look at for making a script.
You penned the dialogs also for both Anand and Godavari. Dialogs are quite different in these films. Godavari dialogs are more impressive. Any special attention?
Usually I prepare dialogs during the script phase itself. For Anand, most of the cast were non-Telugu speaking. There will be a gap in the performance if they have a hard time with the Telugu dialogs. So there was a compromise for Anand. For example, the little girl in Anand cannot speak Telugu. So we had to modify the dialogs so that she can say them with ease. For Godavari,the environment is different. So the dialogs came out effective. I love Telugu language and literature. You can notice touch of Adavi Bapiraju songs. In my films, few scenes will carry the golden oldies by Ghantasala.
Why did you decide to give voice for one of the dog character?
We tried many voices for the dog. Initially we thought of Ali or Venu Madhav. But if I used regular voices, audience will only see them in that character. I tried non-actors. But I felt exaggeration in their voice. I did not like it. That is one of my favorite characters in the film and I did not want to compromise. So I decided to do it myself.
You seem to give good importance to music in your films. What inspires you for such music? And what is your role in getting the music? Also, the music sounds classical always. Is it intentional?
I clearly explain in the script on what kind of lyrics or theme music that situation needs. So even the music is decided during the script phase itself. Radhakrishna always gives me with a good number of choices. I pick the one that I feel the best for that situation. That is where my involvement ends. it is all a creative process. I do not force the music director to lift a tune because I liked it.
Coming to the classical touch point, it is not intentional and purely based on the situational requirement.
What is your opinion on remakes? These days we see Tamil and Malayalam remake getting into Telugu. Do you think that it is unfortunate that we don't have good stories?
I cannot comment if it is unfortunate. But personally, I do not prefer remakes. In fact, I was offered to direct Kadal (Premiste)
remake after the success of Anand. They even waited for quite sometime and tried to convince me that it will be a different film. But I felt that it is unnecessary and I don't have to prove to anyone. Kadal is a very nice film. I felt that the same freshness cannot be reproduced. Even if it is dubbed into Telugu, it would fare well. That is what happened eventually.
We have to start experimenting with different stories. There will be a Telugu pride in it.
Already some of our producers and stars have got used to the habit of seeing the film to decide if it is a good one to make. Tamil, Kannada or Hindi film is shown to convince the producer that if it is done this way the film will fare well. That trend is so against the basics of film making. Film making is a thought that is elaborated on a paper and is brought to life on screen. If we see the picture and decide on what to make and how to make, it is definitely not film making but 100% business making. This trend
is so bad that it will kill the original Telugu nativity.
We can already see the Tamil flavor dialogs and songs in our films. It will be alright now. This will have a devastating effect in the long term. They all look minor now. For example, now we see a good percentage of folks concerned about their kids missing on Telugu language. If some minor things were taken care a while ago, they would not have to feel bad now that their kids cannot speak proper Telugu. Same thing applies to the film industry too.
What is your next project? Will Amigos continue to produce films?
I am pondering over few ideas presently. It might take 6 more months. Nothing is confirmed yet. Amigos will continue in production.
We recently learnt that your next film is with Nagarjuna. Is it true?
(Looks suspiciously on how we learnt it).... (laughs).. Nothing is confirmed yet. First I have to get a good story, then he has to like it. If they work out, then there is a possibility.
What is your word for our viewers?
I browse regularly for film related content and TotalTollywood.com is on the top list among the websites that I go to. You guys are pretty close to the audience. Reviews are very good and I liked the way you guys present it. One of the things that I like about your reviews is no rating. It is a very good thing to explore Telugu Cinemas to the world and you guys are doing a good job in that. Keep it up.
To the viewers of TotalTollywood: I thank all those who saw Godavari and made it a success. For the rest, watch Godavari and let me know how you liked it.