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Indraganti on 'Sammohanam', respecting women in films, etc

Friday, June 8, 2018 • Telugu Comments
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Indraganti on Sammohanam, respecting women in films, etc

Mohankrishna Indraganti is ready with 'Sammohanam', which will hit the screens on June 15. In this interview, the director talks about his film, choosing Sudheer Babu and Aditi Rao Hydari, why women shouldn't be portrayed as dimwits in movies, etc.

A very special movie

I must say that 'Sammohanam' will be a very special movie to me. We have got everything just right with it. Be it the visuals, performances or other departments, I am very happy with the way they have turned out. You will find the lead pair quite fresh.

The father-son conflict

Naresh garu has played the hero's father. It's one of my favourite characters in the movie. I had met such a person in real life during the making of 'Golkonda High School'. I wanted to start a script with such a character.

And I slowly weaved a love story. Naresh garu's character is the film's 'Sootradhari'. He is insane about movies and regards them as a great art. But his son (Sudheer Babu) is a polar opposite.

He is a children's book illustrator. There is a conflict here. I wanted to cast either Rao Ramesh garu or Tanikella Bharani garu in the father's role in the beginning. But their image is different. A couple of friends suggested that I should cast Naresh garu. Nobody else could have done it so well.

Extraordinary circumstances

The backdrop in which the lead pair meet is different from what we saw in 'Rangeela'. What follows their meeting is to be seen on the big screen. How did they end up loving each other in extraordinary circumstances? How and why did they break up? How did they meet again? All these are narrated in an entertaining way.

Nothing negative about film industry

It's the film industry because of which I am making a living. Why would I show such an industry in a negative light? There are good and bad in every industry. The hero's character in my movie eventually realizes that films have been influencing him without his knowing. It's the heroine who brings him the realization.

I have faced a number of instances where people talk about the film industry in a bad light. Many of my own relatives used to ask me as to why I chose this field despite being well-qualified. Even to this day, most middle-class parents are against their daughters entering the industry. 'Sammohanam' asks what is causing the negative image.

Wanted to cast N. Indian girl

I wanted to cast a North Indian girl who has delivered a few hits. Both Tamannaah and Kajal Aggarwal are too big. Had they been cast, they would have been seen as Tamannaah and Kajal and not as Sameera (Aditi's name in the movie). I then happened to watch Mani Ratnam's 'Cheliya'. I like her Aditi in the movie. She was busy with 'Bhoomi' and 'Padmaavat' when I contacted her. But since she loved the story, she adjusted her dates for this movie.

Sudheer not the first choice

It's Vijay Devarakonda who was considered for the role before Sudheer Babu. But 'Arjun Reddy' made him look like a larger-than-life star. Nani is rising as a star. It's then that I watched 'Samanthakamani'. I liked him a lot in the scene where he talks about his mother. It's then that I went to him. The fact he shed his weight around the same time also helped me.

Wings of change in Tollywood

New trends are emerging in Telugu cinema. It's a big thing that a (commercial star like) Ram Charan has played a partially impaired person in 'Rangasthalam'. 'Mahanati' is a female-centric movie. It has got no star face but for some guest appearances. And yet it has registered a huge success. The audience has been waiting for freshness since long. It's the filmmakers who have been late in reaching out to them.

A hero's mindset matters

I do meet star heroes for story discussions. What is important for a director to understand is that he has to know what kind of a movie the hero wants to do. Without recognizing what they want to do, there is no point in thinking why they have rejected your story. You can't expect them to lay a red carpet for you. I don't pen the story keeping any star in mind. I find my hero after penning the story. It's important to know their state of mind at the given point in time.

Respecting women is must

Even from a commercial point of view, you can't show women in a demeaning manner. It's because the woman audience will always like the female characters to be shown respectfully. A woman can have her whole family watch a film. Just because you want to elevate heroism, you needn't show the heroine as a dumb person. It would be a mistake to do so. In Hollywood movies, the female leads are glamorous and powerful at once. Nobody had any problems in showing Samantha's character in an aggressive way in 'Rangasthalam'. Same is true about 'Mahanati'.

Next will take time

I could do three films ('Gentleman', 'Ami Thumi' and 'Sammohanam') in two years because their scripts were ready. But I will take a year's time to develop my next script.

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