The young and talented director Praveen Sattaru, who made movies with fresh concepts like LBW and Routine Love Story had a chat with Chitramala about his upcoming anthology ‘Chandamama Kathalu’.
The movie’s trailers have been getting a unanimous positive response raising the expectations. Here is the exclusive interview:
Rag Mayur: What was the inception of the idea of this 8-story film?
Praven Sattaru: I would call it 8 sub-plots instead of 8 stories. I wanted to tell a story and later came the sub-plots. How these sub-plots inter cut, and how do they culminate is the key.
Rag Mayur: Tollywood is not so familiar with anthologies. So far the success rate for the very few anthologies that came is not so encouraging. What is the strength of your anthology?
Praveen Sattaru: Good question! Anthology is very popular in World cinema. There are two sides of an anthology. The first forty minutes is the biggest disadvantage for an anthology as it takes that much time to introduce the characters, only after which the movie takes off. However, the advantage is the last forty minutes is full of how each sub-plot concludes. And this last forty minutes is what I am banking on. Also, there is so much detailing in our movie that even a second watch will seem like first time. Every time you watch, you will see a new layer.
Rag Mayur: With 8 threads, there are so many characters. If we look at the casting of Chandamama Kathalu, there are veteran actors, and those who emerged few years back and some debutantes too. What was in your mind when you did the casting?
Praveen Sattaru: Right from my first film, my casting is based on my story and its characters. There are certain characters which I was very sure at the writing stage itself. For example, Lakshmi Manchu was the only person in my mind when I was writing the supermodel role. Firstly, she is the gutsiest woman. Secondly, the audience will believe in that character only when Lakshmi Manchu plays it. She plays an ex-supermodel who hits a rock-bottom in her career as well as in her personal life. Whether she will rise up from the ashes or will she succumb to it is to be watched out for. She has to drink, smoke and use foul language too. No leading female actor would do a character like that. Before I met her, I was mentally prepared that she would suggest many script changes but we haven’t even changed a single dialogue!
Even the role played by Krishnudu was pretty much fixed in my mind. He plays a 29-year old techie who is worried about dying virgin.
Rag Mayur: There are not many movies which had the leading lady as a model. And mostly it was restricted to glamor. For the first time, we would be seeing the emotional turmoil of a model.
Praveen Sattaru: I agree and added to that, this is the first anthology which doesn’t fall in the commercial zone of Telugu films. Lakshmi Manchu will look ultra glamorous in this film. The character she plays is in the cross-roads of her life. She is in a denial mode, and unable to accept that career is over. Everyone goes through this phase, where your glory time comes to an end after a series of successful.
I have always believed that there should be an emotional connect. A movie becomes a hit only when the characters linger in the viewer’s mind after 12 hours of watching the movie. The emotional connect is what I am banking on!
Rag Mayur: We last saw Naresh and Amani in Jamba Lakidi Pamba. Both of them are wonderful performers. So how was it working with them?
Praveen Sattaru: I didn’t know that they haven’t done any movie together after Jamba Lakidi Pamba. They were really excited about the script. Their story is a taboo in our society. I can guarantee that guys will not like it. Audience above the age of 40 will love it. Every woman can connect to this particular story. It’s a story about lost love. I am sure there will be lot of discussions about this story.
Rag Mayur: There is a special song for Krishnudu. Looks like you have completely understood the fears and frustration of the software engineer and translated into the silver screen.
Praveen Sattaru: Yes, it’s a funny song with lyrics penned by Krishna Chinni. The words are very realistic.
Rag Mayur: Your earlier films fall into the multiplex-only category, or in an urban setting. However some plots in Chandamama Kathalu seem to be very non-urban too.
Praveen Sattaru: Exactly and to not get confined to urban stuff, I came up with multiple plots.
Rag Mayur: The title song is very soothing. What instructions have you given to Micey J Meyer when it came to composing music for Chandamama Kathalu?
Praveen Sattaru: Cinematographer, Editor and Music Director are three key people in taking the movie to a next level. If they are in sync with the director, things will automatically fall in place. I was in sync with Mickey since Routine Love Story days. He believes in me. I don’t see any need for him to work with me after having worked on big ticket films like ‘Seethamma Vaakitlo Sirimalle Chettu’. He wanted to travel with me. I thanked him for having so much confidence in him. Songs of ‘Chandamama Kathalu‘ go hand in hand with the visuals.
Rag Mayur: I will not ask you which of the 8 stories is your most favorite as all of them are your babies, but you can at least tell which of them is closest to your heart.
Praveen Sattaru: (Smiles) Why is everyone asking me this particular question?. All are close to my heart. When you are watching the movie, you won’t even realize that they there 8 different stories in them.
Rag Mayur: And I thought the writer story is your closest?
Praveen Sattaru: Ok I will give away something exclusive just for Chitramala viewers. All the other 7 stories are his imagination! J In fact, we gave away all the plot details in the trailer. It’s better to keep the audience prepared. However, you will still find something new while watching it.
Rag Mayur: The theatrical trailer ends with a note – “Entha Goppa Kadha aina puttedi Vaastavam ninche”. So were all the stories were seen or experienced by you?
Praveen Sattaru: Yes. Every story is inspired by whatever I saw in life. For instance, the beggar subplot is inspired by an old man I saw at Khairtabad Traffic signal. He begs only in the night, as he is very careful about the dust and the sun rays in the day. He has a three-storied building in the lane beside.
Rag Mayur: What are your next projects?
Praveen Sattaru: I have ten scripts ready. I am particular excited about one script. Its story begins in Manhattan and ends up in a tiny village.
Rag Mayur: What is your take on small budget films and their future?
Praveen Sattaru: Audience is lazy to come to the theatres unless it has stars. The content should be very interesting in these small budget films to get them to the halls. Also, as long as stars do content-less movies, the small budget films will perish (smiles).
Praveen Sattaru’s message to Chitramala viewers:
“Do watch Chandamama Kathalu. I am sure you won’t be disappointed. It’s a fresh movie. But again, fresh doesn’t necessarily mean you have to encourage it. It has to be encouraged only if it’s good. So if you like it, please do recommend it to others that it’s good. At the same time, if you dislike it don’t hesitate to tell that it’s bad because I don’t want to waste your money.”
Here is the video interview of the same: