SKN, the journalist-turned-producer, is on a roll. After creating a mark for himself with 'Taxiwala' in 2018, he has embarked on a series of movies and web series. In this interview, SKN talks about his upcoming projects, the outlook for the film industry, why the exhibition sector needs government support and more.
The interview was begun by remembering legendary PRO and producer BA Raju, who passed away in May due to cardiac arrest.
It has been an exciting journey for me as a journalist, then a PRO and now a producer. My career began as a journalist at TV9. I then got associated with Ram Charan garu and Allu Arjun garu. After 'Ee Rojullo' and movies by Maruthi garu, my journey into production began. I debuted as a producer with 'Taxiwala', starring Vijay Deverakonda as the lead man. I was a co-producer of 'Prati Roju Pandage'.
I am currently producing a movie with Maruthi garu, who will announce its details soon. UV Creations is also its producer. I am going to make three movies in association with Sai Rajesh (writer, director, producer). I am also going to make two movies with writer-director Sandeep Raj of 'Colour Photo' fame. The cast and crew of these movies will be announced soon.
A web series named 'Three Roses', a big-budget one, for Aha is on. Maruthi garu is its showrunner. A web series with ZEE5 has been finalized. A web series with an international platform has been finalized.
I and Maruthi garu have launched a banner together to encourage new talents in the web world. Mass Movie Makers is its name. My journey with Maruthi garu will be a continuous one.
Director Rahul Sankrityan, after 'Shyam Singha Roy', will associate with me. I have a film lined up with Vi Anand, the director. 'Palasa 1978' fame Karuna Kumar has a film with me.
My aim was to do three movies in 2020. Due to the pandemic, the backlog has piled up. When you partner with others, synergy means that 1+1 adds up to 3. I, Bunny Vasu and Vamsi of UV Creations have known each other for many years. We are friends and are in sync with each other always. Allu Aravind garu gives us valuable insights from time to time.
OTT can't beat the cinema experience. There is no matching the experience of a theatre, where we can watch a movie with hundreds of others. Some films have to be watched only in a theatre. But some films have no option but to choose the OTT route during the pandemic. A star vehicle can't be premiered directly on OTT. The theatre segment has to survive to keep the star system going.
Tollywood is the only industry that has given the maximum number of hits this year, after last year's months-long lockdown. Even Bollywood, with so many stars, couldn't secure big numbers at the box office. 'Vakeel Saab' became a huge opener despite the pandemic. 'Solo Brathuke So Better' received industry-wide support when it released in December 2020. 'Jaathi Ratnalu' and 'Zombie Reddy' made monies during the pandemic.
The vaccination process is going on successfully. Vaccine can prevent deaths and hospitalization. The fear factor is coming down, which will eventually help the cinema industry, hotels, restaurants. Theatres are ensuring that sanitization, etc. I am hoping that 100% occupancy will be back from August.
Multiplexes are built on prime areas in metros. Ticket rates can't be brought down owing to a lot of costs. If real estate rates come down, operational costs will come down. A lot of rates have gone up but ticket rates are not going up. The entertainment, hotel, and tourism sectors have been affected the most due to the pandemic. The government has to lend support to these sectors in a big way. Otherwise, a lot of exhibitors will face an existential crisis.