In an exclusive meeting, director and producer YVS Chowdary spoke in detail on his recent release Devadasu, the struggle he went
through, the cast and related details. The following are the excerpts.
What made you come up with Devadas?
Premalo Munigi telandi. This is the caption of the film and that explains every bit of the film. This is the first film to release in 2006 and I am glad that the year started on a good note for me and for the industry.
Don't you think it is a risk coming with 9 songs in a film when the trend is slowly getting rid of songs in the film?
Generally, there is risk in every thing. I did not see any risk factor just because there are 9 songs in the film.
Most of the films releasing these days are love stories. But my Devasadu has to be different. I don't want to treat the
audience with the same routine love story. So I went with the pattern of nice characterization and supporting songs.
As long as the songs are pictured in an entertaining way, the number doesn't matter. I will quote you one fact. The audio sales
have gone up after the release of the film. So I have all the reasons to be glad about it.
Why did you go for new faces? That would reduce the salability of the product.
Making film with new cast is not new to me. My first film was with new cast (Sri sitaramula kalyanam chootamu rarandi).
Lahiri Lahiri Lahiri lo also introduced Aditya and Ankitha.
You will have all the freedom when directing a new cast. Also, it is better to have new faces for a fresh love story. There are some risks too. Especially during the business time. It is a tough deal selling the film with new faces.
Why is there so much gap between last film and Devadasu?
All my films are different viz. Yuvaraju, Sitarama Raju, Sitayya . I tried presenting a novel point in each of my film. Though I was doing all different films, I wanted to do an out and out youth film. That turned reality with Devadasu.
Coming to your question of gap, I am never in a hurry mode to make the film. Bottom-line, for me, is the quality and if I was able to present the script the way I wanted. For that, a lot of pre-production work is required.
But the delay in the production is mostly due to the shooting in US. If not for US schedule, the film would have released 6 months ago.
Why the title Devadasu?
My devadasu has dedication and determination. Love has become a time pass point for youth now. Love is a spiritual feeling.
'If your love is pure, you can achieve your love, come what may be' is my point. Also, the title sounded exciting.
Why was the low profile during production?
I knew the project will get delayed. So I maintained a low profile. If we keep updating the press with the same updates, then the chances are that they might feel it as a stale product. That is why, I met the press only after the production is complete.
You played yourself in the movie. How is it planned?
I do not prefer appearing in my movie. As per the script, there is one character that had to be played by a famous director. I wanted it to be for real. I would have asked any of my friends if that part were shot in India. But since it was done in US and availability is limited, I had to do it myself.
How did you pick Ileana and Ram?
When I thought of Devadasu, I approached two young stars. They were not stars then. For various reasons things did not work out with them. During a discussion with Sravanthi Ravikishore about a different project, I told him that I plan to make a film with all new cast and even requested him to give me any profiles he has. That is when I saw Ram's picture and I immediately fixed on him. A few days later I knew that he is Ravikishore's brother's son.
I spent quite some time on getting the right person to play Bhanumati. Luckily, I saw the fair and lovely ad one day and approached Ileana. She immediately okayed it.
I feel proud about my discovery of these two. In fact, I believe this is the best pair I introduced so far. Ileana already
signed 3-4 big films.
You always go with Keeravani. How come Chakri for this film?
I made 6 films so far and 4 of them were composed by Keeravani. I take break for every 2 films. Ramana Gogula gave music for
my third film Yuvaraju and now Chakri. Chakri had also proved beyond doubt about his capability. He gave super hit songs for my film. Also he did a great job with re-recording.
Shooting in US might have crossed your budget estimations!
No. I was aware from the beginning that US is a key point in the film. So I know how much it is going to cost me
in budget. I was fully prepared. Getting the Visa itself took 5 months. Visa is rejected the first time. Then we had to take great care to minute details with the documentation when we appeared the second time for visa. I visited US 5 times before the production started to get permits for various locations. Then the entire unit spent about 40 days in US and we covered all he scenes. We also went to Pucket Island in Bangkok for 10 days.
There are many NRIs who helped us during the production especially Vellanki Vijaya Sekhar, Srini Anumolu, Soorabattula Narendra from Virginia, Mahesh Chenga Reddy from California, Suryadevara Rambabu from NJ and many. I thank all of them who provided a helping hand.
You knew the budget from the beginning. What were your expectations on the business then?
Budget is one issue and salability is the other. I do not start
with business expectations. That attitude was possible since I am both the director and director (laughs).
So my first goal is to present it the way I want and at least I break even. Second goal is profit. Now it is proven that
I reached both.
What is your next project?
Let me enjoy the success of my Devadasu. My next film will be with a big hero and the title is Okka Maggadu. I will tell you the details shortly.