MS RajuFrom introducing talents to launching stars to giving breakthrough films for a host of actors who are now superstars, MS Raju’s journey is nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. His home production Sumanth Arts—named after his son Sumanth Ashwin—has completed 25 years, and the producer and director, in a chat-a-thon, shares his experiences in showbiz journey. 

Dealing with failures: Once dubbed as the showman of Telugu film industry, Raju started off with a bang but a string of flops hindered his growth. “My ‘Shatruvu’ and ‘Police Lock-up’ were super hits, but ‘Street Fighter’ brought me on to the streets literally (smiles). I tasted super success again with ‘Manasantha Nuvve’, ‘Varsham’ ‘Okkadu’, ‘Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana’. But my subsequent endeavours bombed, relegating me to a new low.
During the failures, I realised the scripts and the treatments for such films were not up to the mark,” he admits, adding, “My passion for films kept me motivated irrespective of the box-office barometer. My films might have failed but I always commanded respect from people.”
Making stars: He gave defining films for Mahesh Babu, Prabhas, Prabhudeva and Devi Sri Prasad—all of whom are a big box-office draws now.  Ask him about his equation with them and he replies, “I’m glad that actors who have starred under my banner became superstars. They always respect me and I share a great camaraderie with them.”

Long-hiatus: Since ‘Maska’ (2009), Raju has not made any film under his banner. Put that to him and he quickly states, “I started to focus on Sumanth’s career from that point. I got busy in grooming him as an actor. I was writing scripts, screenplay, etc., for his films. Recently, I met Mahesh Babu and he asked me to develop a script for him. Very soon, I shall produce two films under my home banner – one with my son and another with a big hero.”

A happy father: Raju shares that he’s pleased with the way his son’s career is shaping up. “Sumanth did around six films and is improving with each film. We are currently picking scripts that suit his age and body language.  Down the line, I want him to do action-based films too,” he signs off. - SA