Sir, tell us something about your latest film 'Muni'?
'Muni' is a different subject. No one had touched one such subject earlier on the silver screen. We chose a good point and gave it a shape on celluloid. It is an out and out commercial film at the same time entertain all classes of audiences but they definitely feel the difference from the routine stuff.
You are claiming that it is a different film. Will you please explain it?
Yes, these days it has become common for everyone to say that we are making a different film. But this film is definitely a different movie. 'Muni' is a different movie which is quite heroic, but this is basically a horror movie.
You mean it is a horror movie? You have a good reputation as a commercial director then why you chose this kind of subject?
As you have rightly pointed out that I have a good name as commercial director, I am not at all missing any commercial elements in the movie. At the same time, we planned the film in such a way that it is a good horror movie. I strongly believe that the film would also be a good commercial hit movie.
Horror film means… are you showing any devils on the screen?
No, not devils but one 'Atma' (soul) would keep moving all along the film. This Atma enters into one person and what it did and what are the consequences of the situation is the main concept of the movie. There is a flashback story to the Atma too.
Why did you do this kind of film now?
There is no such rule that this kind of film should be brought before the audiences at this time. In fact, I prepared this subject long ago, even before my entry into direction, i.e., before 'Mass'. But I kept it aside, as no one would expect such typical subject from a person who had no experience in direction at all. Especially, nobody would be interested to do a horror movie, especially as a debut venture from a person 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 this time, I had already gained experience in directing two successful films as well. So, I again took out the story from my shelf and gave it a shape on the celluloid. I am very confident that the film would earn me more name as director than my earlier films.
Tell us about your character in this movie?
My character is a very timorous in this movie. I am so fearful that I don't go out alone after 6 pm and seek someone's help. At this juncture, an Atma enters into my body and brings a huge change in my behaviour. What happened later and what are the consequences had to be seen on the screen.
What about Vedika's role in the movie?
Basically I am the hero and she is the heroine. She is playing my wife's role in the film. The character is quite romantic and had a good scope for dancing and acting. She performed well. When I called her for selection as heroine, she came and showed me a dance movement and I just liked it. Later, she competed with me in dancing during shooting. I strongly believe that she had a very bright future in Telugu film industry.
What are the highlights in 'Muni'?
Dance, climax fight and climax song have come out excellently and they could be taken as highlights
How long the Atma remains in the story?
There are three romantic scenes in the first half of the movie. It goes to its peak by the interval bang. The 'Atma' would continue to remain on the screen for the whole second half. Rajkiran is playing a role in the flashback episode. The 'Atma' comes in between me and Rajkiran. That is the basic concept of the movie.
What about music in the movie?
Already the audio was proved a big hit and remained a chartbuster. The audio had gone to a big range than my previous movies. The audio of 'Style' became super hit after the film's release. But in case of 'Muni' already the songs have become popular among the audiences.
Is there any inspiration behind the film?
It is me. I am the inspiration behind the film, because I am so timid and I will never go to sleep alone because I feel a little nervous. There are several people who fear like me but they don't reveal it feeling shy. I came to this conclusion when the cameraman Guhan after watching the rushes told me that he had identified himself in my character in the film. That will be enough to say that our film would be a hit.
You gave two super hit films in Telugu. But why did you choose your third film in Tamil? Is there any specific reason?
Yes, there is a reason. My mother is a Tamilian and my father is Andhraite. I proved 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 and gave two big hits. But they can't come all the way and watch these films in Andhra. So, my mother asked me to do a film in Tamil. In order to fulfil her wish, I have decided to do a film in Tamil.
What is the reason behind Charan producing this movie?
It is director Charan who introduced me as a choreographer to the Tamil cinema and who gave me screen presence for five times in Tamil. After completing 'Mass', he watched the movie and told me that he had planned to produce five films in Tamil and gave me an opportunity to direct one among the five movies, that is 'Muni'.
Which language is comfortable to you Telugu or Tamil?
Both are equally comfortable to me. But I should say Telugu is a little more comfortable. I reached No. 1 position as choreographer in Telugu, I gave two big hits as director in Telugu, now I am testing my hand as music director also in Telugu. So, I am 100 per cent comfortable in Telugu and 50 per cent in Tamil.
Will you make the producer to invest more finances on your film or limit the budget as per the schedule?
I generally don't like to spend much on the film. When it comes to 'Style', a huge set is needed to suit the sequence as there is an international dance competition. There is no option but to erect a huge set. But when it comes to this film, I planned the schedule for 100 days, but completed it within 85 days, which means, I had reduced the budget than what was there in estimation.
What was the comment from Charan as producer of 'Muni', because he too is a good director?
He says, 'I have produced three films so far and this would remain the best movie among them.'
Coming to the future projects, tell us about 'Don'?
Don will remain a Don. It would be three times to 'Mass'. Already we have recorded two songs and both of them came out very well. Nagarjuna would give me total freedom and that is an additional advantage for me. Moreover, he doesn't even discuss anything while we are on sets. It would be very happy to do a film with Nagarjuna. He told me after Mass that my third movie in Telugu should be with him only. Hence 'Don' is coming up.
What forced you to take up music direction in this film?
When I am narrating the story or composing dance, I used to sing the song and hum the music while explaining the scene to Nagarjuna. So, he told me as to why I should not take up music direction, when I could hum the music with a good ease. With the cooperation and encouragement from him, I turned a music director for 'Don'. However, I don't take up re-recording on my own but get it done by someone else.
Who would be your next hero?
I have not yet decided on it. But my ambition is to do films with all the lead artistes. Especially, I should do a film with my big 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 did never plan anything and everything has come on my way and I am utilising all the opportunities. I wanted to be a good dancer and I have become a good dancer. Very recently I have started a dance school for the physically challenged children. Some 15 students were staying there claiming that they were orphans. There are about 50 people who stay at our home in Chennai. I am providing some jobs to each of them. There was an 85-year-old man called Rangaraju, who used to stay with us. He died recently and it is me who performed all the last rites to him. 'Muni' is going to hit the screen on March 9. I have started construction of Sri Raghavendra Swamy temple and it is almost nearing completion. It would be inaugurated very soon. Possibly, this would be the latest step.