'Rowdy Boys' will be released in theatres on January 14. In this interview, producer Dil Raju talks about the debutant hero Ashish, working with Devi Sri Prasad, director Harsha Konuganti's treatment, and more. Ashish is Dil Raju's nephew.
My late wife (Anitha) used to tell me that Ashish should be made a hero. I told Ashish that mere interest in acting can't take him far. He needed to work hard. He used to be fatty and I asked him to do everything that takes to slim down. He slimmed down and I asked him to get trained. He showed great patience and proved that he has a passion for acting.
Ashish became confident after working as an AD for 'Kerintha'. It was in 2018 that he finally asked me to get a script ready for him.
Before the release of the trailer, 'Rowdy Boys' didn't have much momentum or buzz. But the trailer changed the game for us. Expectations from the movie and Ashish have gone up since then.
I started out slowly by teaming up with the likes of VV Vinayak and Allu Arjun in the early 2000s. An artist needs to be accepted by the audience. Only hard work and content can take an actor far. If I am a big producer today, it's because of content in my films. My first 9 films were with non-star heroes. 'Brindavanam' with Jr NTR was my first star-hero movie. I have used the same philosophy in the case of Ashish. Just because I am a big producer, I shouldn't get a big director on board to introduce Ashish. I don't want the budget to shoot up. I am a calculative producer.
Youths are the main target audience of 'Rowdy Boys'. Harsha, who has previously made 'Hushaaru', became my choice after I watched the movie. College campus stories have been missing for many years. Harsha narrated some incidents that he observed in real life. It convinced me that his narration won't bore the audience.
Ashish has given an all-round performance. The scale of the film kept on getting bigger and bigger. We couldn't do anything for six months during the lockdown. We worked on fine-tuning the output.
Ashish should offer something unique if the audience have to remember him. New actors keep coming up every year. Individual uniqueness and script selection alone will make him successful. I will help him out with the latter.
Families have always liked my films. At the same time, there are audiences who feel that my films have always been family-oriented. 'Rowdy Boys' is a youthful entertainer. This one has got a lip-lock scene, which is the first time that you have seen in my movie. I don't want the audience to feel uncomfortable when they come to the theatre with their family. That's why we showed the bit in the trailer itself. At the same time, there should be no vulgarity. The story is about how Ashish's character comes of age. That's why the story needed romantic scenes. It was a hard decision. I had to change my philosophy for this film. Sandeep Reddy Vanga wanted to show me 'Arjun Reddy' but some people told him that I might not show interest in a movie with kissing scenes. I have to change with the times. 'Rowdy Boys' is a step in that direction.
Usually, a Sankranthi release would have been a great thing for us. But the situation is not normal this time. I urge the audience to watch our movie wearing a mask. I hope the festival becomes an advantage for us.
Harshith and my daughter have been involved in production works. They are handling two projects and they will be announced soon. Our banner will try new genres as per the changing tastes of the audience. I have been a producer for 20 years. In these two decades, the audiences' tastes have undergone a shift.
There are nine songs in 'Rowdy Boys' and DSP has done an extraordinary job. I have been associated with him for two decades. The listeners are increasingly lapping up the songs. The audience will enjoy the songs even more on the big screen. After 'RRR' and 'Radhe Shyam' were postponed, we had to complete RR in just 10 days. That's why the songs have been released in quick succession. The climax song will work like anything with the audience.
'Rowdy Boys' is a musical treat. None of the songs is forced. The build-up for the songs, the action blocks.. everything is a package. The last segment of the film will feature back-to-back songs. But none of them is forced.
Chiranjeevi garu today met with CM Jaganmohan Reddy garu. I am optimistic. A solution will be arrived at. That's why I recently urged people in the industry not to comment individually.
Sukumar Writings and I will be producing Ashish's next film. Kaasi, who has worked under Sukumar in the past, will be directing it. I liked the story. The project is locked and the title is 'Selfish'. It will be Ashish's second movie. It will be a youthful film and it's our prime collaboration after 'Arya'. We are very confident. Nothing has been finalized as yet when it comes to other cast and crew.
'F3' is in the final stages. Ram Charan's and Shankar's movie is going on. It might be released for next Sankranthi. A few small projects are going to be launched.