Sep 30, 2007

Telugu Movie Producer Lagadapati Sridhar Interview

Normally, film producers skirt behind the screen. Only few producers get name and fame and recognized by the common audiences. But there is one producer who made a big name and hogs all the attention with just two films. He is Lagadapati Sridhar, the man behind the successful movies “ Evadi Gola Vadide and Style. Hailing from a big business family, Sridhar believes in making films that either inspire or entertain the audiences rather than minting money from it.


Tell us about Viyyalavari Kayyalu!

Viyyalavari Kayyalu is not mere love story. It is 'lovely' story. The film says it is also important for lovers to get married with blessings and support of their respective families. We are not preaching here but the message is subtle where as entertainment dominates. Our film is more entertaining than the recent romantic blockbusters - Bommarillu and Nuvvostanante Nenonaddanata. I want this film to be loved by everyone.

But the title sounds very old!

"Peru Chooste..1935, Katha Chooste 2035," that is how legendary actor Akkineni summed up about my film. It is true that the title has vintage touch but the story is modern. And the scenes bubble with verve and energy. Moreover, the title has chosen based on the script; it is very apt. Any how, what is wrong in putting a title that has traditional feel? Do you find anyone serving Pizzas in our wedding dinners?

You gave two successful films in a row and you are in a position to make films with big stars. What made you to go for 'out of form' Uday Kiran and director Sattibabu who gave two films earlier?

I believe in 'talent' not on their market 'statuses'. Uday Kiran might have been rejected by a section of filmmakers for various reasons, he won the hearts of Telugu audiences with his memorable hits. Just because it lost shine, can gold not be gold? Same is the case with my director. I liked his work in Evandoyee Srivaru despite the fact that it didn't run well at the box-office. When I began my first film, director EVV was also going through rough patch. Commitment, energy, dedication, zeal to prove something is what I look for in my case and crew members.

Was selection of Srihari in prime role based on the sentiment that he brings luck to young heroes?

No. When we approached him, Dhee was not released. As I said, I respect talent. I have always had special admiration towards Srihari when he was doing small roles, negative characters in the films. He is real star. I liked to watch films if he had any role in those movies. So when director narrated this script, we immediately approached him. He loved the script and told me that he is a fan of me for promoting a film well and loving my project. That is how Srihari came into the film.

What is his character?

He plays a rural patriarch and a factionist with good heart. To him his sister played by Neha Julkha is everything. She falls in love with Hair Stylist (Uday Kiran). All the characters are well etched and very interesting ones.

There are comments that your heroine lacks glamour!

To be frankly speaking, Neha Julkha was not our first choice. We had approached all the big heroines but could not get their dates. So then we heard of Chandra Sekhar Yeleti introducing a new heroine, we went to see her and chose Neha. Because, all his heroines who acted in his films get big break. Sindhu Tolani made debut in his Aitey, and her second film, Atanokkade, was a big hit. Charmi acted in Anukokunda Oka Roju, and then she got a string of success later. For Neha too this is second film, I am hoping the same patterns repeats.

More than that Neha is a top model; you see her daily on commercials. That is a plus point to her film. I am sure that after Viyyalavari Kayyalu she goes places although she might lack the conventional glamour quotient. She is asset for our film.

Are you satisfied with the outcome of the music?

Ramana Gogula has given us better and lilting music than our previous two films. Each song has a special theme and conveys the various moods of love. Except for a mass song, all the five songs denote five 'ation' of love -attraction, confusion, connection, expression and conclusion (marriage). It is concept oriented music that looks even better on screen.

Last year among three releases at Sankranthi, your movie, Style, was appreciated by everyone than other movies. But it could not turn out to be a big hit like them. Where did it go wrong?

I am satisfied that I made a film that I am very proud of. Monetary is secondary. It might not have collected as much money as the other Sankranthi releases, but I got praises and appreciation from unusual quarters too. Hero Venkatesh appreciated even though his film, Lakshmi, was running along with our film. Senior producer Ashwinidutt specially called on me after watching the film. The appreciation is more important. It is wrong to say it didn't collect money.

Was it true that Style went over budget?

I just understand why people and media always talk about budget and expenditure of the film. I make films that I believe in and put anything for it. See what happened when Tatas and Birlas entered into film production and made them thinking too much of budgeting and other factors? Did any one lose money in my films? Why do you think about budget?

What is your goal as producer?

I don't want to disappoint audiences who come to see my films. Earning money through movies is last thing in my mind. Personal Satisfaction is vital to me. I am true lover of movies and try to be a good filmmaker. No award or reward is more gratifying than the common man's appreciation.

Do you have plans of producing movies in other languages?

I dubbed Style in Tamil. Recently Evadi Gola Vadidi was bought by producers of Partner (Salman Khan). I don't want to produce films in Tamil and Hindi directly. I may go for joint ventures. But in Kannada, I might remake some movies in the future.

Is it true that you are planning a movie with hero Balakrishna?

Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna, Nagarjuna and Venkatesh- are the four top stars in our industry. Chiru and Nag have already acted in my movie and I am honored for it. I want to work with other two top heroes too. I met Balakrishna gaaru with a film proposition but nothing has yet been materialized. Among younger heroes, I am also planning movies with Mahesh, Allu Arjun.

Heard that you are doing sequel to Evadi Gola Vadidi?

True. I believe sequel to this film works. When Evadi Gola Vadidi released, everyone including in your site review, trashed it but ultimately people loved it for its sheer entertainment. Making sequel to it is a better option, I think. Also I want to do a revenge drama.