Unfazed, he faces critics
Ram Charan Govindudu Andarivadele: Interview With Krishna Vamsi. Krishna Vamsi is officially back, with ‘Govindudu Andarivadele’ ending his poor streak. And, unlike most directors, he is game for an interview and is forthright with his responses.
Who said the film did not receive positive response? Why only Prakash Raj? Why this drama? Filmmaker Krishna Vamsi is his usual self as he responds to critical questions in his forthright and candid style
Krishna Vamsi is officially back, with ‘Govindudu Andarivadele’ ending his poor streak. And, unlike most directors, he is game for an interview and is forthright with his responses. As he lights his cigarette over a cup of coffee, the Nandi Award winning director speaks about the backlash his film faced, why his long-time friend Prakash Raj was not his first choice for the role of grandfather Balraju and the reasons for his emotional outburst at the teaser launch 45 days ago.
The film didn’t open to unanimous positive talk! Who said that?
The collections have been great; it collected Rs 30 crore in the first five days and is going strong. Every film of mine went through a phase where it was panned by certain people. Some sections said ‘Gulabi’s second half had no story at all, while some didn’t appreciate too many characters in ‘Ninne Pelladatha’; ‘Kakulla podicharu ‘Ninne Pelladatha’ release aina taruvatha’. I asked such people to wait, stating that it was new kind of cinema and it takes its own time to be understood and felt. Till then one set of cinema was happening, and it was broken by my boss Ram Gopal Varma. I’ve been trying to continue that, hence such reactions tend to popup. Moreover, there is no difference between I don’t like it and the film is bad, over here. Who can say the film is bad or good? Somebody who knows the craft, right? And, if you don’t like it, why are you spending your energy and time on it, post the release? That means the film has connected to you at one level. If you see the film with an open mind on TV, say after a year, you are bound to alter your opinion.
You’ve replaced Rajkiran with Prakash Raj. Was it an error of your judgment?
To begin with, I didn’t have many options. Why only Prakash Raj, why not others? He entered the big league after ‘Anthapuram’; till then he was doing bits and piece roles. 16 years after ‘Anthapuram’, why should I go to him again? So, where is the error of judgment? Like Prakash’s requirement for ‘Anthapuram’, I needed Rajkiran for ‘Govindudu Andarivadele’, but something was amiss as he shot for his portions. Annaya Chiranjeevi echoed my feeling after watching the rushes, and I had no options but to replace him for the good of the film. And why didn’t I go to Prakash in the first place? When the film was conceived, Venkatesh and Charan were the original cast. I didn’t go to Prakash because people would draw comparisons with ‘Seethamma Vakilto Sirimalle Chettu’ and I didn’t want that to happen at any cost.
You’ve recently said that you share a love and hate relationship with him?
(Laughs) We are two free souls, highly individualistic and independent. Naturally when two such forces work together, there will be an element of friction. Different ideas and working styles had led us to not to stay in touch as we wanted to be. Say for instance, if I want to shoot at seven in the morning and Prakash doesn’t turn up till nine, I will seek an explanation from him. Why should the whole unit wait for him? Such differences will always have an impact on a bonding. ‘Chakram’ was the last film we did together, I guess. In between, we met but it was not the same camaraderie that we shared while working. I am glad things fell in place for him to be a part of ‘Govindudu Andarivadele.’
Kajal, the girl who shot to fame with your ‘Chandamama’ is a top heroine now. How has she grown as an actor?
During ‘Chadamama ‘she was a bundle of nerves as her first film ‘Lakshmi Kalyanam’ turned out to be a disappointment. Everything was new, big and intimidating to her and now she is at ease with her craft. She is discussing things, especially clothes. Without her help I wouldn’t have shot, “Raa raakumaaraa …” song, in Jordan the way it is now. She was of immense help.
You’ve turned very emotional at the teaser launch of the film. Is industry that critical on people who are not in form?
Industry is not critical, it is practical. It runs on money and whoever brings it, is required by it. It is the same reason why I’m not bothered about it. My emotional outburst had to do with certain people; the people who didn’t allow me to do the kind of cinema that I wanted to do. Even people who benefited from me maintained a distance.
Who are the people who avoided you?
I went to a hero and he made me wait for three hours at his office. He is not into the big league. He liked the story and said he’ll do it. I did wait for 15 days for his manager to get back to me, only to be told that the hero needed six months time to commence it as he has no dates. I told the manager, ‘Why this drama sir? I’ve been in the industry for long enough to know how it operates!’ However, immediately after ‘Govindudu Andarivadele’ announcement, he started sending feelers to me, stating how sorry he was to have missed out on the project.
You were once the face of Tollywood. Your fame seems to have diminished a bit…
I’ve never bothered about fame. If I cared about it, I wouldn’t have made a naxal drama like ‘Sindhuram’ straight away after the stupendous success of ‘Ninne Pelladatha’. For me fame is the ability to make the cinema that I believe in. I even made ‘Paisa’ and ‘Sasirekha Parinayam’ the way I wanted. If I’m forced to make the cinema that I don’t believe in, then I’ll think my fame is diminished. Moreover why would a mega star give his son to me if he felt I’m no longer the same Krishna Vamsi? And why would he want Ram Charan to be a part of my kind of cinema when he could have easily asked me to do a film on the lines of ‘Racha’, ‘Naayak’ and ‘Yevadu’?
I need to catch up with some sleep (smiles). I’ve been working round the clock for the past eight months and for a week I just want to chill doing nothing. I would only think about the next project after the rest.