Interview - Sreenu Vaitla

Monday, October 12, 2015 - 15:00

Sreenu Vaitla, one of the leading directors in Tollywood, is back with a new film, Bruce Lee starring Ram Charan as hero. After delivering string of hits, he had a setback with Aagadu. To prove his mettle, the director has changed his style of telling movie. "Story first, entertainment later," is the motto he had decided for this Bruce Lee. "From Dhee, I followed a certain template in screenplay and then everyone started following the same. So then people gave me a warning in the form of Aagadu," he said, talking more about Bruce Lee, his star Ram Charan and working with megastar Chiraneevi one more time. Excerpts from his interview...

Let’s start with Aagadu, what went wrong?

Filmmaking has two ways. One is weaving entertainment around a good story and the other weaving story around entertainment. I have done both genres. In the case of Aagadu, the film was devoid of family emotions and it’s my belief that family emotions are vital part of my stories. That is where I did go wrong in case of Aagadu.

Has this film’s failure affected you?

Yes, for three days. On the fourth day I started working on Bruce Lee. Lessons learnt from Aagadu were many, it helped me to be a better director in future.

Bruce Lee has a different entertainment style. Is it not a risky proposition?

From my films Anandam to Venky I have followed a type of entertainment. Again from Dhee to Aagadu it has been a different one. Bruce Lee follows a different type of entertainment. It will be a treat as in this film entertainment is flowing with the basic story.

Bruce Lee…what is it all about?

It’s a family entertainer. A son loves his family which is facing an extraordinary problem. Kriti Kharbanda’s character is vital in the film. How this son fights out and solves the issue is what Bruce Lee deals with.

Tell us about working with Ram Charan.

One word…Superb! Creative freedom is the most important for me. I have had it always in all my films, including Aagadu. But after it’s flop the pressure on me was more. But Charan and Chiru both gave me enough freedom while making this film. This trust on me has paid off well.

Ram Charan’s strengths…

He has got all good qualities from his dad. He is a warm guy who will never hurt anyone. Good maturity shows how well he has been brought up. Charan is a gifted dancer and very graceful too. I love his hairstyle and voice. I wanted him to have the hairstyle similar to that in his film Chirutha. He never over acts very balanced performance. Not many know his humour quotient. In Bruce Lee you will get to see his lovely comic timing.

How did you convince Chiranjeevi for cameo?

He agreed to it because he loved the story also there was a situational demand for a big actor do cameo in this film. What better choice than the megastar himself.

Nadiya has become synonymous for success. Chiru-Charan combo in Magadheera has done wonders. Are you banking on such sentiments?

No. Till Aagadu flopped I used to have such sentiments. Lessons have been learnt now. Nadiya and Chiru are in the film because of requirement not sentiments.

Bruce Lee was completed in quick fast. Five months is a short time for executing a film…

The film commenced its shoot in May, one and half song was shot in that month but the actual shoot stared on 7th June and we wrapped it up by 5th October. This is my fastest big film. We all have worked really hard and have not compromised on the quality. Major credit goes to the cinematographer Manoj Paramahamsa in this aspect.

Is there any drinking scenes on the lines of Aanandam in Bruce Lee?

Yes there is one, but do not expect high entertainment from it.

Looks like you have mellowed down after the recent controversies with Prakash Raj and Kona Venkat.

(laughs) Not like that. Regarding Prakash Raj controversy, we had differences about how to do a particular scene. He was right in his own way; I am right as the director and writer of the movie. As senior actor I respect him, I may also work with him in future. 
What differences you had seen in Chiranjeevi gaaru, from when you directed him in Andarivaadu to now?

I think I have enjoyed more now directing him than during Andarivaadu. He is looking like he was in the days of Gangleader. It was the same feeling everyone had on the sets. 
You give more importance to Brahmanandam in every film of yours. How would be his role in this movie?

Unlike in my past movies, he is not treated as bakra. His comedy is more refreshing. Totally different from my earlier films. 
Kona Venkat and Gopi Mohan are back on your team after the recent fallout. 

We had long association. We always work in tandem. Who writes what, who creates which scenes or dialogue, no outsider knows as we don't work with separate earmarked works. We all discuss at one place and write the script, screenplay and dialogues at one time. As Ram Charan said, no one is above the movie, so I am happy to working with them again.
Will you be working with them again?

Yes, certainly.

Next project?

Things have changed, first I would decide the hero of the film before having a story. Now I have two fresh story lines. Once I finish the script I will decide on the hero. I am hoping that these story lines will take me to next level.

Rumors say you are directing Akhil's second film?

As I said I haven't decided on any thing. I have two storylines right now, once I am fixed with one storyline, then I will think about hero.