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Sukumar on everything from his movie to what's next

Saturday, March 31, 2018 • Telugu Comments

Sukumar is a happy man. 'Rangasthalam' is on its way to becoming a blockbuster. In this interview, he talks about the making of the film, sharing interesting insights. Catch him speak on other topics as well.

Story is paramount:

I have learned that if the story is good, the audience will forget small issues with a film. I wrote 'Rangasthalam' inspired as I was by an elderly man telling me that I have never made a film in a village background despite me being from a village. He asked me if it doesn't interest me. That's when I wanted to do a film like this with someone or the other.

Charan just did it:

'Rangasthalam' is also a character-driven film. Even though he had never lived in a village in his life, Ram Charan did many scenes in the film in a single shot. Maybe, the atmosphere inspired him. I had had my reservations about Charan using the ear machine in a few scenes. 'Will the fans accept it?' I asked myself. Charan was not at all reluctant to use it.

I am blessed that the film's stature got elevated because of Charan. Rangasthalam', at one level, is a one-man show. He took the burden of the film on his shoulders. A film can become big only if the performances are good.

That's why DSP sang it:

We actually had Shiva Nagu sing the song 'Aa Gattununtava'. However, after everything was done, we felt that his voice and Ram Charan's expressions were not matching. On the other hand, Devi Sri Prasad's voice was apt. We had actually shot the song using his voice.

No conscious effort to imitate Chiru garu:

There was no attempt to have Ram Charan behave like Chiranjeevi garu anywhere in the film. He has inherited some traits by birth.

As for doing a film with Chiranjeevi garu, it will be a dream come true. I grew up watching his movies.

Ramakrishna made it easy:

We had been researching a lot about the villages in that era. But when art director Ramakrishna came on board, our work became easier. He took care of everything. Ramakrishna, Monika, the costume designer and others were engaged in many brainstorming sessions.

That's how 'Rangasthalam' got delayed:

It was supposed to be shot from November 2016. However, every time I felt that the writing needed more fine-tuning. That's how I kept on postponing the shoot. I was very tensed throughout the writing phase.

Characters don't always fail a film:

I wouldn't agree if someone says that a film didn't do well because Chiranjeevi garu rode a bicycle. You have to tell any story beautifully.

Thanks to Vijayendra Prasad garu:

K Vijayendra Prasad garu (Rajamouli's father) happened to tell me the entire story of 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' in 20 minutes. This inspired me to write the synopsis of 'Rangasthalam' in a shorter time.

I'm like an AD:

If you were to catch me at work on the sets of my film, you might think that I am actually an assistant director. I don't believe in the concept of one-man show. I involve my department and my actors.

That's why no 1985:

We had earlier decided on 'Rangasthalam-1985' as the title. However, I didn't want any year to be mentioned specifically so that the audience won't expect any reference to an incident that happened back then.

Wanted to be genuine:

I wanted to tell only the story this time. That's why we edited out a couple of comedy scenes involving Prudhvi. Actually, the scenes came out really well. The audience would have definitely enjoyed them.

Caste consciousness was rampant:

In the 1980s, caste was a big factor in the villages. A lot of humiliation was going on in the name of caste. The context had to be there in the film.

That's how they are still living:

In the 1980s, indebtedness was rampant in the villages. Fudging of numbers used to happen every day. Peopled started getting relief when loan waivers happened. But even to this day, many villages are still not developed. Even to this day, people have no savings at all. They earn on a day, spend it.

Producers wanted an ensemble cast:

Initially, the plan was to have only one big star in the cast. It's Ram Charan. Everybody else would be non-big names. But the producers felt that if other star faces are there, it will be like a fest. That's when I started out with Jagapathi Babu garu.

I can't tell whose idea this film was. It's my team's work.

Am getting calls continuously:

Bunny has called me. Ravi Tej, Vamsi Paidipally, Krish and a number directors, actors, and producers have been calling me since yesterday. I am mandatorily attending the calls because I am thankful to them for taking their time out for me.

What next?:

I can do only one task at a time. When 'Rangasthalam' was being made, I forgot about everything else. There won't be any film in my direction under my banner. I can't take any risk (Laughs). I have 2-3 stories getting ready. I am not in talks with Bunny or Akhil or any hero.

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