You have taken a long gap as director. How did you get the opportunity to direct 'Annavaram'.
When I am browsing the Telugu film websites, I learnt that Pawan Kalyan is doing the hero in the Tamil remake of 'Tirupachi'. At the same time, it was mentioned that Bhimaneni Srinivasa Rao is directing the film. I just shocked and got a doubt how that news appeared in the website and who gave them the information. Immediately I went to Pawan Kalyan for clarification. He says, 'Yes Srinu, you are directing that film.' I am shell shocked for a moment and also felt very happy for getting that opportunity.
When there are so many directors, why Pawan Kalyan selected you alone. Isn't it interesting?
Yes, it is really surprising and interesting. After watching the original film in Tamil, Kalyanbabu got an idea that only Bhimaneni alone could remake it properly and he only suggested my name to the producers. Moreover, I had earlier worked on Super Good banner and they readily accepted it. As they have decided to convince me to do the film, that news appeared on the website. It is well aware among the film circles that I am an expert in doing remakes and hence I got the opportunity. I was able to prove that their belief is not wrong.
In fact, it was first rumoured that the film was supposed to be done by Chiranjeevi. How come Kalyan did that film?
I don't know much about it. Off the record, Chiranjeevi planned to do that film and watched it. But after watching that movie, he felt that Pawan Kalyan would suit best to do that film and suggested it to him. Then Pawan Kalyan watched the movie and asked me to direct it. I just know only this much.
Because Chiranjeevi asked Kalyan to do that film, did you give the title 'Annavaram'?
Not really like that. In our villages, there will be names like Simhachalam, Srisailam and Annavaram. I too studied several such names. In Tirupachi, there is a strong brother-sister sentiment. The story is about the boon that was given by a brother to his sister. The sister's name is Varalakshmi and everyone calls her Varam. At the same time, the film was a boon given by Chiranjeevi to his brother. So, it was a perfect fit to the film to call 'Anna' 'Varam'. Both in reel life and real life.
Did this film became a bigger hit than what you expected?
Definitely. The film is a bigger hit than what all we expected. We are sure that the film would be a success. But never predicted that it would create records like this. There were records of good collections all over the places where it was released. The buyers of Nizam area were claiming that the Power Star's power could be witnessed again.
What did Chiranjeevi say after watching the film?
I don't know whether Chiranjeevi watched the movie after the release or not. But while watching the rushes, he complimented me, He said, 'You are passed. But you have to till the film goes to the audiences. I wish you will get first class after its release.' I strongly believe that it was because of his blessings, the film became a hit of this range.
Did any others call you and complimented about the film?
Yes. Several people from the film industry called me up and complimented me for bring out a good film. Especially many people liked the second half and said that it was quite thrilling. Pawan Kalyan's fans enjoyed the film and their happiness knew no bounds after the film. Several of Kalyan's fans called me personally and thanked me for giving such a big hit for their favourite hero. Some of them claimed that their friends were very happy and the theatres were resounding with applauses. They told me that after a long time, Kalyan got a very big hit in the form of 'Annavaram'.
Tell us about the other characters in the film?
When it comes to the other characters, the first to mention is about Sandhya. We chose her for the role after watching her performance in 'Premiste'. She gave a wonderful performance as sister of Pawan Kalyan. Next, Asin is already a proved heroine. Venumadhav is claiming that his character in this flick is the best in his entire film career. Not only one, every one in the film gave their best of the performance. That is why the film became such a big hit.
How were you able to convince Sandhya who played heroine in 'Premiste' in the character of a sister?
After watching 'Premiste', we asked her to play the role of Kalyan's sister. She first refused to do it, saying that she wanted to settle as heroine and doesn't want to do sister's character. But after listening to the story, and about her character, she gave her nod, because the hero of the film is Pawan Kalyan. Now she is very happy for earning a very good name in the film.
There was a strong remark that the chemistry between Pawan Kalyan and Asin was not that good. Especially, there is a rumour that the love track was not properly established between them?
It is wrong. Whoever be the heroine, when Pawan Kalyan is playing opposite her, he will ensure that the chemistry between him and the heroine would be quite ripe. You can find it out from Pawan Kalyan's earlier films. Moreover, Asin is a well known heroine among the Telugu audiences. What all I heard is that their combination was quite good.
Is there any special reason for keeping Telangana slang for Asin character?
Nothing of that sort. Because the girl belongs to Hyderabad, we planned that it would be quite novel to give her Telangana slang. That is all.
What made you to convince Nagababu to act in Kalyan's film. Did you do it to create some craze over the flick?
Right from the start of the camera of the film, there was a big craze about the film both among the audiences as well as in the industry. There is no need to create a special craze over the film. I suggested three names for that character and gave the list to Pawan Kalyan. Of them, he had selected Nagababu's name. Moreover, Nagababu had played a similar character in 1-4-3. We thought that the character would suit him the best and the audiences were clapping whenever he appeared on the screen in that character.
Did you select Ramana Gogula as music director, because he gave successful audios for 'Tammudu and Badri'?
Not like that. Kalyan has a very good music sense. Moreover, there was a very good rapport between Ramana Gogula and Pawan Kalyan. That was why the audio became such a big hit. At the same time, we got the re-recording done by Dina, who worked for the original Tirupachi to retain the original feel of the film. Many of the songs are being sung by the youth and audiences.
Tell us about other technicians?
Not only one. Abburi Ravi, who gave fantastic dialogues for 'Bommarillu' was selected to script dialogues for our film which became a highlight. Vijayan master's fights and Abburi Ravi's dialogues were perfectly synchronized in the film. Gouthamraju's editing skills also helped a lot in bringing out the finished product in such a successful way.
You directed Pawan Kalyan in 'Suswagatham'. Now you directed him for 'Annavaram' after becoming Power Star Pawan Kalyan. Did you find any change in Pawan Kalyan after such a long time?
Yes. There is a phenomenal change. At that time, Pawan Kalyan is an upcoming artiste. Now, Pawan Kalyan is an artiste with powerful image. Though there was a lot of change in his image, there was no change at all in his behaviour. The best example for that is – He gave me a chance to direct this film. Moreover, being a person who move closely with Pawan Kalyan, I am saying that he is a great person in the industry.
What kind of effect this film will have on your future?
When there was a big success, several people will be after us in this film industry. If there are no hits, they just ignore that there is one such person in the industry. That is our Telugu film industry. Till now I have not given any commitments to anyone. Let me enjoy this success for some more days.
After sharing all his happy moments during the shooting of 'Annavaram' and enjoying the success after the film's release, Bhimaneni Srinivasa Rao thanked the Indiaglitz for sharing his experiences about the film and greeted the browsers and readers of Indiaglitz a Happy Sankranthi.