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'Yatra' is a commercial entertainer: Vijay Chilla

Thursday, January 31, 2019 • Telugu Comments

Yatra is a commercial entertainer: Vijay Chilla

Vijay Chilla, producer of 'Yatra', speaks to the media ahead of the biopic's release on February 8.  In this interview, he talks about how the project came into being, why Mammootty was chosen, how the Mollywood superstar came on board, what Jaganmohan Reddy said about the movie and more.   

That one scene clinched the deal

Mahi spoke of the idea during the making of 'Anando Brahma'.  Since it's a political film, I was reluctant to produce a potentially controversial one.  He then narrated to me a scene involving a farmer for 20 minutes.  'Nenu vinnanu, nenu unnanu' is the last line of the scene.  I told Mahi that I will produce the biopic if I find the entire script gripping like this scene.

That's how Mammootty came on board

Mammootty garu was the only figure in our mind right from the time Mahi narrated the script.  He accepting the movie was a great thing.  Cinematographer Shamdat garu was instrumental in bringing him on board.  It was he who secured us an appointment with the star.  On the day we first met Mammootty garu, Mahi gave him a 30-minute narration.  He asked us to meet him the next day.  He asked us to read the full script.  We met him again after 10 days.  The script-reading went on for 10 hours in Telugu.  It was his insistence that the reading should be done only in Telugu.  He loved the script and told us he can do the film only after 4-5 months.  When we said we would need 90 days for the shoot, he told us they make two movies in Malayalam in that period.  

A life-time experience

Working with Mammootty garu was a life-time experience.  In his career spanning 350 movies, he introduced about 75 directors.  He tried to perfect Telugu by watching Telugu movies every day for the period he did 'Yatra'.  He worked with an AD to learn Telugu lines in Malayalam on sets amid hundreds of people.  

Aura matters, not looks or walking style

What is relevant is whether the actor playing YSR garu has the aura that YSR garu possessed.  Mammootty garu has got that.  YSR garu could command discipline with a smile.  Our hero too has the aura to do that.  

Has got fictional scenes

'Yatra' is true to the person that YSR garu was.  Some situations are fictional.  It's not like the scenes happened in real life the way they have been shown in the movie.  Mahi has taken certain cinematic liberties.  The audiences won't be bothered about the timeline while watching 'Yatra'.  It's an honest film.  Those who know YSR garu will definitely relate to the movie.  We are not telling lies.  This is an event-based biopic.  It has a fresh perspective.  

No involvement of Jagan or YSRCP

I haven't met Jagan garu even once.  Mahi has met him twice.  All that Jagan garu told the director is this: "Show in the film what Nanna garu did.  Keep his character true to what he was like".  Nobody from his political party has talked to us.  Jagan garu is not willing to see the movie before the release.  "It's your leader's movie.  I have nothing to do with it", Jagan garu has told the director.  We are releasing this movie on our own.  No politician has come forward to release it.  

Entirely commercial 

It's just a coincidence that 'Yatra' is releasing before elections.  My first film was a crime comedy.  The second one was a horror-comedy.  'Yatra' is an emotional film, which is also entertainment. So, I would describe 'Yatra' as a commercial movie.  It can engage the audience.  

'Yatra' is cinematic

'Gandhi', 'Sanju', 'MS Dhoni', 'Mahanati', etc had their share of fictional scenes.  If you make a fully true biopic, you will end up making a documentary.  There are hundreds of documentaries on YSR garu.  They are available on the Internet.  'Yatra' is a cinematic product.  It has its own timeline.  

Every project is prestigious, much like 'Bhale Manchi Roju'.  That movie and 'Anando Brahmo' were made on a tight budget.  We had to spend much on 'Yatra'.