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Puri Jagannadh about his entry to Telugu Cinema

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“ I’m from a village called Bapiraju kotthapalli near Narsipatnam of Vizag district.My father served as a Munsif there.He constructed a theatre in my own place called Jagannatha touring talkies after my name.Pertaining to my education ,I failed in B.Sc.But I cherished reading books on varied aspects.My dad had good collection of books.In my 8th and 9th classes itself,I read books above that standard and capacity.Whichever movie comes to the touring talkies,it atleast remains for 3 weeks.I enjoyed watching the same movie incessantly for 3 weeks.That was my favourite past time.It never bored me.This paved the way for my interest in direction.I directed a small play in my village.It gained everybody’s praise.My academics were bad and my family encouraged me to step in to this industry after they acknowledged my talent in directing that small play.Till then,I din’t had the slightest intent. Where to go…..to Hyderabad… or to Madras?I was perplexed as I heard of Telugu industry moving to Hyderabad.Finally I decided to join in Madhu Film institute in Hyderabad.”………….. That’s how the Director Puri made his initiation. Lets see the hurdles that he underwent later..

What was your next step?
Making visits to the locations and gazing at the shootings standing amidst the crowd. But haven’t joined as Assistant director under anybody.In that circumstances ,my friend offered me to direct one episode in Doordarshan.It was successful.I directed many programmes later in DD. Later I worked under the directors Krishna vamsi and Ram Gopal Verma as Assistant director.

What made you to work under director Ram Gopal Verma ?
The movie “ Shiva”which he directed bubbled my interest to work under him. But when I met him,I was told of no vacancies in his staff. Later,a remake of “Shiva” was done in hindi. I met him when I went to see the shooting.He gave me a chance to act in that movie as one among the 10 persons [holding sticks and rods]following Nagarjuna. After acting so, I met Krishna Vamsi amd he recommended me to Ram Gopal Verma to take me as Assistant director.Simultaneously, I directed programmes in TV. I worked for 2 years under him for 4,5 movies….money money, Rangeela, Nayak etc

Tell us about your first movie ?
The first movie which I directed is ‘Badri’in which Pavan Kalyan, Amesha patel and Renu desai acted. Along with working under director Verma,I also made my own scripts ready which I used to put before some producers.In that manner,Kalyan heard the story and he accepted to do. Thatshow my first movie was advented.

Pavan kalyan gave good hits by then with ‘Tholi prema’ and ‘Thammudu’.How did you get the chance,you being a new director?
“Tholi prema’was under production when he heard the story of ‘Badri’. At the same time, he heard the story of ‘Thammudu’. He promised to do ‘Badri’after ‘Thammudu’. I waited for one year. Meanwhile,the whole timetable from first to last shot was sketched. The story,dialoque,screenplay……everything was worked out intricately. Thatswhy, it became a hit. Considering the heroines,I went to Bombay as my Asst.director has seen one heroine. She’s Amesha patel. At the same time,one beautiful girl came to work as Asst.director under me. I told her that she can be a heroine than an Asst.director. She accepted and she’s Renu desai.

What were your feelings on ‘Badri’ becoming your first success in your career?
It was a thrilling experience. Hit hero,Big banner,Mr.Trivikram as producer and with big budget,immense freedom from the beginning till the end……this was really a rare opportunity. Director ram Gopal Verma got such an opportunity first with ‘Shiva’. Later in this 10 yrs, I got it. Director Sobhan got this opportunity too with ‘Bachi’ movie. He was my colleague. In usual,everyone works under small banners as a start and later with big heroes and under big banners.

Heard,lot of hassles working with big heroes?
Hero range is there. I haven’t countered any problem with Kalyan anytime. He doesn’t show feelings of small and big. He’s very modest and flexible. Kalyan doesn’t easily like people. People whom he likes,he never leaves. He works with them happily. Because of that freedom, I could project my points on the screen and ‘Badri’became a good hit.

What was your family members response to your first success?
It was a 12 years struggle.Everybody felt happy. My father was more happy as he encouraged me a lot.

Did you play this movie in your ‘Jagannadha touring talkies’?
Oh no!!!That touring talkies is not existing now. Should construct it again when the time complies.

What kind of struggle did you experience in that 12 years?
“Struggle”means….its not my sole experience in this industry. Everybody who approaches this industry with faith undergo it. I was totally clueless when I came to Hyderabad. Completely ignorant of Hyderabad city and its roads. What kind of struggle one faces?!It can be financial with no food to eat and no money to pay in the mess!!!All these problems are common to all. All these shouldn’t hamper one’s hope. We see many passengers in the railway station. Trains come and go. They reach their destiny when their train comes. Our train[which takes us to our destiny]too comes. But we should be in the station when it comes. In this 10 years,many people who came at the same time went back to their homes.That shouldn’t dampen our spirits and lose our confidence.Then only,one can achieve success in career or in life.

What was your experience in your next movie ‘Bachi’?
It was a flop. But was a big hit in Bangalore. A small gap came later for 3,4 months. At the same time,Kannada Rajkumar on seeing ‘Badri’made a call to me. He wants to introduce his elder son as hero. He has chosen me as director for that movie. To be frank,I don’t know Kannada but I made an effort to get the dialogues translated and the movie ‘Yuva raja’was taken. It became a hit. ‘Itlu Sravani Subramanyam’in telugu also became a hit then.

Have taken Ravi teja as hero in ‘Itlu…….’?
I know Raviteja for 10 years. He used to stand behind the crowd and watch shooting .I got to know him so.Later ,he joined as an Asst.director and with ‘Sindhuram’,he got an opportunity to act. He really did well. Later ‘Nee kosam’and some more performances…..when I saw them, I felt I should take a movie with ravi.Outside, he’s just the same as how he acts on the screen. He’s very free and he talks in his own style. He’s ignorant of imitating others. He’s very active and has that zeal to do something. I made many heroes to har this story. None has reacted properly. It was not the story that made them to hesitate but my earlier movie which was a flop. But when Ravi heard the story,his response was good.

Do you select a story for each movie you direct?
I prepare the story, dialogues and screenplay for almost all the movies I direct. No restrictions as such to avoid stories from other writers. Own story can help us to project our own style and even the loopholes can be easily identified.

This movie gave a good break to Raviteja,know?!
Infact, I told the story of ‘Idiot’to Ravi in the beginning, we all liked it. Due to lack of financial support, we decided to do ‘Itlu….’first and after we get some pennies from the movie can invest in ‘Idiot’. ‘Itlu….’became a hit and when we want to start the ‘Idiot’,at that time, Mr.Rajkumar wants to introduce his third son in to movies..The movie which I directed for his elder son became a hit and so he wants me to direct for his third son also. I wished to finish off ‘Idiot’ first and later if Mr.raj kumar likes the story can do a remake in Kannada with his son. Raj kumar liked the story but as his son was getting introduced in to movies, he wants it to be taken in Kannada first and later in Telugu.I told this to Ravi and he agreed. When kannada’s ‘Appu’was under production,I started ‘Idiot’here. Both were successful.

Are you competing with the directors raising up now?
I don’t feel I’m competing with anyone. If there is such thing, I should compete with audience,how to win their hearts and how to deceive them. But what do we gain by competing with other directors. Everybody has their own botherations.

The movies which you direct look realistic?!
I watch more English movies. Whatever we learn,that is from hollywood only know!There can be little drama in any movie. Movies with natural feelings is not the present trend. ‘Misamma’movie has no dialogues much. How many such movies S.V.Ranga rao and savithri had done in those days!!!But with the advent of Eastman color movies,more drama has also been shown. Later now Maniratnam’s, Bapu’s, Balachandar’s mavies are liked. Their movies are closer to the real life. A commercial and a realistic movie is liked by the audience now. Even if the movie is too realistic,the audience dislikes.

Whichever movie you direct ,you give a different title?!
‘Different title’means, I select a title suitable to the story. And it should be unique. We kept a title, ‘Amma,nanna,o Tamil ammai’ to the movie which I'm are directing now. What that title sounds weird!!! Atleast people talk about it for sometime that it is not good or so. ‘Idiot’ became a hit and everybody exclaimed it is good. But if it was flop,people would have commented how I’ve taken such a movie and what an idiot I became.

Why you want to take a movie in your own banner?
To be laborious is hard after learning pleasures. We hesitate to eat mess food after tasting the home food. This is also same. We can take a movie in our way if we work on our own banner. Started a own banner to reduce the expenditure, people can think. When a director takes a movie on his own, he always spends 10 rupees more and not less. But can’t have the freedom with all the producers. If we take a movie in our own banner,can direct according to our interests. No need to answer anybody.

‘Idiot’-First movie in your banner bacame a hit,know?!
First movie becoming a hit means more weight on our head. Succesive movies should be made more hit. Should enhance the craze or should maintain the level.

Raviteja’s 2 movies ‘Idiot’, ‘Avunu vallidharu ishtapaddaru’were released with some gap. Both became big hits. Have you seen the movie ‘AVI’?
In fact,these 2 movies have to be released with 2 months gap. My copy got ready on the scheduled date. But their movie was delayed. So I postponed my movie for 2 weeks. Can’t release the 2 movies at the same time, know?!It became a big hit. I haven’t seen that movie.

Your new commitments?
At present,working on ‘Amma,nanna,o Tamil ammai’in my own banner. Will be working with Nagarjuna in February and later directing a movie with NTR.

Your movies are realistic. Does this concept work with big heroes?
Any cinema has little drama. Even that drama should be shown in realistic manner. A movie with Nagarjuna means,his star image should be taken in to consideration. He’s playing decent roles in recent. But Nagarjuna is going to be seen in a different role in my movie. This is a love story and he doesn’t look decent in this movie. Naturality is there and it clicks too.

More Bombay heroines are seen in your movies?!
Go to any cinema office and glance at the photographs there. It is hard to see even 10 photos of telugu girls. They don’t come out. I like to encourage them and bring them on to screen. In that way for ‘Itlu…’I wished to take one telugu girl and so I went to St.Ann’s college. sat on a rock for 3 days and I asked 2,3 beautiful girls to act. They din’t show interest.One girl even had a doubt whether I’m a director or not. Next day, I found one more girl. She was interested but she asked whether we could convince her parents. What’s the need for me to convince them?! But when I go to choose Bombay girls in the morning, I can return by the evening.In that time,can see hundreds of girls. They struggle day and night,skipping their food,meeting producers and directors,photo sessions….longs for an opportunity. Art is personal interest. They should have innate interest, should struggle, meet producers….It is such a process but without any interest, what is the necessity for me to inject interest in them. I always encourages a person who struggles. So I prefer more Bombay girls. If telugu girls have that interest and are beautiful and talented,I would certainly give an opportunity.

NTR’s movie that you are going to direct is a mass movie or a class movie?
NTR is a mass hero, know!So ,a mass movie mixed with entertainment. From distributors to the qudience, they have different expectationson different heroes. Movie which we direct should stand to that.

What kind of movies do you like the most?
In that list, I have some flop movies too.I like movies with more entertainment. If a movie can make us raise a small thought,I certainly like it. Even if it’s a flop movie.

You show less sentiment in your movies?!
udience come to a movie with 34 problems in their heads. That movie should relax them and entertain them. I don’t like magnifying a sentiment and showing it. Thinking of women was different in those days. A tragedy scene fetches bucketful of water. But now women are more matured. Not even a single drop of tear comes out of the eye.

Your hobbies?
Books, movies, philosophy, jokes…my favourites. I like gathering new electronic equipment and computers and utilising them.

‘Amma Nanna O Tamil Ammai’…tell us something about the movie?!
Amma…jayasudha, Nanna…Prakash raj, Tamil ammai…Aasin. The story revolves round this three characters. Hero is raviteja. Planning to release this movie in April.

What qualities do you like in others?
Even if the person is a thief,he should have dignity in character. Should have some basic ideals. Even if he decieves me tomorrow,I won’t regret. He should know to tackle different people.

Do you have time to spare with your family?
I got married in 96. I do feel like spending time with them. But lack of time and I often go late at night.

What is your opinion on Ragalahari?
Ragalahari is the only one telugu cinema website I know. It is maintained well. The features are good. I visit this website atleast once in a day.

Updated on July 18, 2005