Satish Kasetty is all set for his move Terror that’s releasing this Friday, the 26th. He is a national award winner for the film HOPE that starred Movie moghul Rama Naidu. He also directed Kalavaramaye Madhilo in 2009. Mr. Kasetty was also in the National Awards selection jury. In a conversation with Chitramala journalist Rag Mayur, Satish talks about his film and much more.
First of all, Congratulations on completing your third movie. Your previous movie ‘Kalavara Maaya Madhilo’ was in 2010. Why did it take such a long gap?
After releasing KVM, a couple of producers approached me to make a film, and I dint have a script in hand. To write a script is not easy, I take a very long time. I am not one of those (blessed) writers and directors who write a script in a week, in a month.
As I started writing the script, I went into a writing mode. Wrote one, two, three, four.. this took a couple of years. I enjoyed that period of writing; it was a phase I enjoyed. Thanks to that period, now I have 6 scripts ready in hand if any producer approaches me.
For another two years I was doing some reading, TV, and teaching also.
Tell us about your background.
I have talked enough about this. I have nothing else to say.
When a large part of the Telugu Film Industry is occupied by legacies than talent, caste than creativity, commerce than content, how does it feel to be a director who has always believed purely in the script?
Wow!! This is a very complex yet an easy thing to understand.
First- legacies than talent.
This is purely a producer’s choice, no one can dictate to him. He is investing the money, he wants returns on his money, and if he thinks, by casting so-and-so’s son he will get publicity, and audiences, then he will do so.
It goes the other way too, a father thinks he has worked hard for so long created a standing in the industry and a fan base, since that is an asset he created, he would like his son to inherit it. I don’t see anything wrong in it.
Now it is for the audiences to accept or reject the actor based on his performance, which they rarely do, so why complain.
Second – caste than creativity. Unfortunately that is everywhere in the society. I am not at all worried about it. I am worried about a different kind of caste discrimination here. There are two caste’s prevailing here, one the award film makers and two the others.
It is a sin to get an award in this industry. They will brand him as an untouchable, they will not even look at what script he has in hand, they will not touch him.
It is not that the industry doesn’t like awards, they do, but they want the awards to come to big hero’s films, for the so-called commercial film.
I was a jury member for the National awards recently, and no Telugu film got an award that year. I got so many calls after the announcement of the awards, asking me why we dint get an award for such and such film. Mind you all the films they were talking about were commercial cinema. Such is the hypocrisy of this industry.
So what’s Terror all about?
When a system fails, we have to correct it. There is a talk going on since long about police reforms and giving autonomy to police, separating the politicians hold on the police. . In that context this script is written.
Every time there is a terror attack anywhere in the country, a week latter there is news about the IB giving information to the state. Which means we have information of a terror attack most of the times, and a lot of times the state acts and averts such attacks. Some happen. This film is about, what happens if a politician misuses the information and lets the terror attack happen.
In such I am telling a story of a corrupt police officers story.
Hope and Kalavara Maaye were movies that did not have action in it. Terror looks like a hardcore action subject. What difference did you find in directing Terror when compared to the previous films?
I don’t design a script, I write them with my heart in it. When I know the story I have written, when I feel the emotion of the script, it is easy to direct it.
Each genre of film has its grammar, and it is about knowing it. So to your question, I was never thinking of my previous films while directing Terror. Looking back it is was a very satisfying experience.
The first and most obvious thing most of the viewers while watching Terror do is compare it with Srikanth’s role and performance in Khadgam. Does that bother you? What’s your take on this?
Yes, everyone will talk and compare this role with role of Khadgam. Interestingly Srikanth is also conscious of it. When I narrated the script to him, his first reaction was, this is the best script I heard in a long time, after Khadgam I have not heard a role like this.. Yes, I am ready for the verdict. If you ask me, Srikanth has beaten Khadgam role. This is a more sustained performance by him one of his best.
The movie also seems to have a bunch of newcomers. How was the experience directing them?
It was great working with this new bunch of actors. There is some serious talent available here. At least 5 to 6 of them will get chances.
What are the challenges you usually face when you have a script ready but finding a producer for it?
Sorry, I don’t take it as a challenge or problem, it is a process.
To me it is very simple, I have a script and I want a producer to invest money on it. Now it is up to him to decide whether he want to invest or not. That’s it.
So I will knock of the next door and the next door, till I find one. That is the least I can do for the huge amount the producer is going to invest by trusting me.
What keeps you constantly motivated?
New ideas, new questions, keep me going. There are so many things happening around you, and they motivate me. The anger at the things going wrong around me motivates me to write scripts, and making them.
Any comments on the current trends of Telugu cinema?
Ache din are in sight..
Well, the last and obvious question, what is your next project?
A love story or a psychological thriller… I guess.