Please tell us something about your latest film 'Muni.'
'Muni' is a different subject. Such a theme has not been explored on the silver screen before. We chose a theme and gave it a shape that would suit celluloid. It is a commercial film and at the same time, it will entertain all classes of audiences. I am sure that the audiences would get to see a different film as compared to the routine offerings.
Could you please tell us in what way Muni is different?
I agree, these days it has become common for everyone to claim that they are making a different film. But this film is definitely different. 'Muni' is quite heroic, but it is basically a horror movie.
How did you choose on a horror when you have a good reputation as a commercial director?
You rightly pointed out that I have a good name as commercial director, but I am not depriving Muni of any commercial elements! At the same time, we wanted to make a film in the horror genre. I strongly believe that the film would also be a good commercial hit.
Does horror mean a story that treads on ghosts and devils?
No, not devils but an 'Atma' or soul, which would keep coming all through the film. This Atma enters into a person and what it does, and what consequences result, forms the main concept of the movie. There is a flashback for the Atma too.
How did you decide upon this subject at this juncture of your career?
In actuality, I prepared this subject long ago, even before I debuted as director, i.e., before 'Mass'. But I kept it aside, as no one would expect such a subject from a person who has had no experience in direction. Especially, none would have evinced interest to do a horror movie, especially when it is from a debutant like me.
In fact, I too had my own doubts as to whether the audiences like such subjects. But my doubt was cleared with the success of 'Chandramukhi' with a similar storyline. By that time, I had already gained experience in directing two successful films. So, I again took out the story, revamped it and gave it a shape on the celluloid. I am very confident that the film would get me more fame as a director than what my earlier films did.
Tell us about your character in this movie.
I play a timorous person in this movie. I am so timid and apprehensive that I don't step out alone after 6 p.m. and seek someone's help if I have to indeed go out. At this juncture, an Atma enters into my body and brings about a transformation in my behaviour. What happens thereon is to be seen on the screen!
Tell us about Vedhika's role in the movie.
Vedhika plays my heroine. She is playing my wife's role in the film. The character is quite romantic and it has good scope for dancing and acting. She has performed well. When I called her for the auditions, she came and did a dance movement and I liked it. Later, she competed with me in dancing during the shoot. I strongly believe that she has a very bright future in the film industry.
What are the highlights in 'Muni'?
Dance, the climax fight and the climax song have come out excellently well and they, I think, are the highlights.
What about music in the movie?
The audio is already a big hit and it is a chartbuster. It’s a bigger hit than my previous movies. The audio of 'Style' became a super hit after the film's release. But in the case of 'Muni' the songs have already become popular among the audiences.
Is there any inspiration behind the film?
I am the inspiration behind the film! I am very timid in actuality and I never go to sleep alone because I feel a little nervous. There are several people who give in to fear like me but they don't reveal it. I am saying this because cinematographer Guhan, after watching the rushes, told me that he identified himself with my character in the film. This makes us confident that our film would turn out to become a hit.
Is there any specific reason for doing your third film in Tamil after directing two films in Telugu?
Yes, there is a reason. My mother is a Tamilian and my father is from Andhra. I proved my mettle as a successful director by doing two films in Telugu. My mother watched both the films and told her friends that her son had become a big director who has given two big hits. But they cannot come all the way to Andhra to watch these films. My mother, in fact, asked me to do a film in Tamil. In order to fulfill her wish, I decided to do venture into Tamil as a director.
Your mentor Saran is producing this movie.
It is director Saran who introduced me as a choreographer in Tamil cinema and he is the one who gave me good roles to perform in Tamil. He watched my film ‘Mass’ and told me that he had planned to produce five films in Tamil. And yes, he gave me the opportunity to direct one of them and that, is 'Muni.’
How do you work on the stipulated budget?
I generally don't like to spend much on my film. For 'Style', a huge set to depict an international dance competition was needed in the film. There was no option but to erect a huge set. But for this film, I planned the schedule for 100 days, but completed it within 85 days. I had thus spent lesser than the estimated budget.
What did producer Saran, also a good director, say on watching Muni?
He said that this is the best film that he has produced so far.
Who would be your next hero?
I have not decided on it as yet. But my ambition is to do films with all the lead artistes. Particularly, I want to do a film with my elder brother and Mega Star Chiranjeevi.
You have treaded several paths like dancer, choreographer, actor, director, hero, music director. What would be your next step?
I have absolutely no idea. I never planned anything and I am making the best of everything that came my way. I wanted to be a good dancer and I have become a good dancer. Just recently, I started a dance school for the physically challenged children. There are about 50 people who stay at our home in Chennai.
I am also providing some jobs to each of the inmates. There was an 85-year-old man called Rangaraju, who used to stay with us. He passed away recently and I performed the last rites for him.
As far as films are concerned, 'Muni' will hit the screens on March 9. Besides these, I have started constructing a temple for Sri Raghavendra Swamy and it is almost nearing completion. It would be inaugurated very soon.
We at indiaglitz thank Ragava Larencce for having taken the time to talk to us and we wish him the best for his forthcoming Muni.