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Big Leaps into TFI: Mahesh Ramnath, COO, Reliance Ent. [INTERVIEW]

IndiaGlitz [Thursday, July 18, 2013]
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Reliance Entertainment, the first Indian Entertainment Company to have made it big on the Hollywood stage with their near billion dollar tie-up with Spielberg's Dreamworks, made some blockbuster hits in Hindi and Tamil, has made a rather quiet entry into the Telugu film industry two years ago. With their first phase of co-productions not yielding expected results, they are now making calculated and purposeful steps towards making their Tollywood journey smooth and successful.

IndiaGlitz has caught up with Mahesh Ramnath, The Chief Operating Officer of Reliance Entertainment who is in Hyderabad to oversee the release and review of their latest film 'Sahasam'. The conversation touched upon Reliance Entertainment's co-productions in Telugu, Pipeline, How it means for them to be in TFI, their understanding of stardom and the aura around it and their support to small, meaningful films to make them significant.

Excerpts from the conversation...

RE is growing fast in India...

RE produce films in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Bengali. We produce and release 20-25 films every year. Apart from production, we have a very strong distribution network in all the regions and exhibition setup in 500+ 'Big' screens. Supported by the largest film infrastructure facilities, RE is all set to take big leaps in film production in India.

Journey of RE (Reliance Entertainment) in Telugu...

Reliance Entertainment has been co-producing films for a couple of years in Telugu. 2013 is big for us. Big projects, big expectations. Our first release this year is Sahasam, then we have Pawan Kalyan-Trivikram 'Attarintiki Daredi' in August. In September we will release our own production 'Toofan' starring Ram Charan Tej and Priyanka Chopra. We have two co-productions with Annapoorna Studios, Bhai and Manam to follow. So, this year, our journey has been with top stars and the anticipation around them.

Sahasam is about Production Values...

Sahasam is a reintroduction of a rare genre for Telugu, adventure. Revolving around a treasure Hunt, which has been presented to Telugu audience after so many years on such a vast canvas with fantastic production values, shot in exotic locales like Ladakh, this is a production we banked on the magnificence and it's paying off. The audience's response is quite unanimous and is in sync with our expectations. We are happy...

Chandra Sekhar Yeleti is a complete Director

Yeleti has made a good reputation for making small films and has built a niche in the multiplex crowds. With Sahasam, he expanded his reach to the masses at large. He has all the technical capabilities required for a big ticket director. Our working experience with him has been quite fulfilling.

'Atharintiki Daaredi' is a Blockbuster material on cards...

Attarintiki Daredi is a second co-production in a row with BVSN Prasad and is a total entertainer. We are happy to work with two of the greatest and most dedicated stars of Telugu films, Power star Pawan kalyan and director Trivikram Srinivas. The combination of these two has delivered great BO results with Jalsa. I can say, this is the most awaited movie in TFI this year. Plans are on to release it on 7th August.

South, Especially Telugu is more Organized...

Telugu film industry is far more organized than the others and they go by plan. Amazing how they do it better than the big studios and corporate companies. Talking of studios, in Hindi, 70-80 % of the films are produced by 4-5 studios including Reliance but Tamil and Telugu this culture is relatively new and I am sure with successful films, corporate culture will make its way into these industries as well.

Straight Productions as well...

Reliance has always believed in partnerships where each partner adds value to the project and both complementing each other and growing. There will be more partnerships in the future and we will announce them soon. Paralelly we also plan for our own productions. It looks as the next logical step since we have been in TFI for over two years and did sizeable number of co-productions.

Toofan and Zanjeer are two straight films...

Toofan is the Telugu remake of Prakash Mehra's 1973 film Zanjeer. It's a straight film, an original Telugu narrative with Telugu cast Srihari, Tanikella Bharani apart from ram Charan and Priyanka Chopra in the lead roles. The film's principal photography is over and the dubbing is on. Plans are on to release it in the month of September and will be one of the widest releases in Telugu in the recent times.

And Zanjeer, being the Hindi debut for Ram Charan, is an important film for all of us. The story is the same as the original but has been substantially stylized and contemporarized. And we are sure, the younger generation of today will embrace the movie the same way the audiences have done 40 years ago.

We will do Small Budget Films, strictly good scripts...

We prefer to do films with bigger stars. However, small films is not something we rule out. We have done a small film in Tamil with Madhavan 'Yavarum Nalam' and it did well at the box office. So, if the script is exciting, we don't mind doing a small film.

Strong Pipeline in South...

In Tamil, we don't have any releases this year, we had David at the earlier part of this year and not any more. We are planning to bring some projects in both languages into pipeline and will be able to announce by the end of the year.

Signoff...

Sahasam is a visual extravaganza best watched on the big screen, so please don't watch it on a pirated version. Please come o theaters and watch it on big screen. Thank You.




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