What made you to select black magic as a theme for 'Raksha'?
Twenty years back, I was very much impressed with the film 'Tulasi Dalam' which was based on Yandamuri Veerendranath's novel. Again recently 8-10 months ago, I observed on IndiaTV that many programmes were relayed based on this subject. I felt that even in times like 2008, people show curiosity in such subjects. With this impression in mind, I started a search for the story writer, and Vamsi was recommended by an anonymous source. Later when we started writing the story for 'Phoonk', I was impressed with his visualization, clarity and sincerity towards work. I told him that "I shall make 'Phoonk' in Hindi, and you direct 'Raksha' in Telugu". This is the backstage footage before incarnating 'Raksha'.
What are the variations between 'Phoonk' and 'Raksha'?
To illustrate the subject, black magic is commonly believed to be something used to kill or harm the enemies. A good amount of people believe in this and some don't. The hero of this film rebuffs such superstitions abruptly. His daughter is affected by an unnamed source. People say it is a kind of black magic (Chethabadi). Others who don't believe in this, like the hero and doctors who treat the child will not be able to explain what exactly has happened to her. In such a critical circumstance, the hero's attempt and mode to save his child forms this film. Coming to the differences in 'Phoonk' and 'Raksha' – In Vamshi's turn the quality, characterization and sequences are all made in his distinguished style that stands apart. If you watch the film and ponder over the story it will appears similar. However, Vamshi's treatment is very different from mine, and I honestly feel it is delivered better than I felt.
Did you make 'Phoonk' or 'Raksha' to convey that superstitions still exist?
I didn't intend to inculcate superstition or to prove the existence of black-magic by rendering this movie. That is completely not the crux or target of this project. Like, some people believe in superstitions and others do not, a dated conflict still exists between these beliefs. I personally do not believe in this (black magic), however, if someone comes to me and tells that such and such a thing has happened to him, and if I know nothing about it, then its not correct to rule it out completely, this is how I feel. So - It is a superstition until it happens to you, is the core point of the film.
When a popular director makes such films, does it not influence the viewers?
I don't believe that viewers will be influence by a cinema. For example, after the film 'Hum Apke Hai Kaun' we did not see a growth in joint families. If we ask - what came out first the plant or the seed, they will be tongue tied and no one can answer such a question. The belief in black magic is existent since 100's of years and will prevail for sure in the future. Cinema is almost made only by a single journalist. This is an inspiration not a direct statement it is a mirrored reflection sliced from a part of our real life.
What inspired you to make these kind of films?
'Axiologist' was made 30 years ago and 'Tulasi Dalam' was made 20 years ago. And now we made 'Raksha', similarly tomorrow or perhaps 20 years from now some one might make a film inspired by the same subject. So, everyone is adapting the topic of 'Axiologist'. Black magic (Chethabadi) was existent even before 'Axiologist' and will prevail after 'Raksha'. Films are just making a cut at regular intervals in time according to the mindset of the people living in that particular generation.
What is the reason behind your interest in horror films?
It is not a true statement that my keen interest is in horror films. I made 'Siva' it on students' violence; 'Kshana Kshanam' is a keeper film; 'Money' is a comedy entertainer; 'Raatri' is a horror flick; 'Sarkar' is a political drama; 'Rangeela' is a musical movie; As a whole to speak, I have made all genres of films. Just the hard hitting nature and intensity of this kind of films will stay in the minds of people. Hence, it makes you to think that I mostly make horror films. My last horror film was 'Bhoot' is made in 2002, and now in 2008, so it's been 6 years since I made a horror film.
Usually every film you make in Hindi will be dubbed into Telugu. What is the reason for making 'Raksha' specially in Telugu.
When a film is hit a remake is made instantly. The remake will carry the same story & effects. This is a type of way. Another method is the restating the original by making it again in the corresponding language. Vamsi made 'Raksha' with a different style and not like a remake. It is completely an original interpretation, in his own way as he envisaged the core of the subject. Quite a lot of changes have been made in his version, and I think it is a better make than my original.
What kind of film you are going to make next?
I have certain ideas to envision. I am still thinking about them. The story discussions are in progress.
When can we expect a new Telugu film from you?
I don't think I have the sensibility to make Telugu films.