I don't read reviews: Teja

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - 15:15

Come August 11th, Teja's most important release since his best days, 'Nene Raju Nene Mantri', will hit the screens.  In this interview, while sounding optimistic about the film's result, Teja says why it's not a political thriller, what makes Suresh Babu the 'perfect producer', and more.

And that's how the project came through:

I had a certain storyline in mind, but it didn't come through when I narrated it to an actor.  I later happened to narrate the same to Suresh Babu.  It's at this stage that the story underwent evolution.  When Rana gave the nod, I sought one month's time to fine-tune the story to suit him.  

I failed with respect to stories:

When I failed, I failed because of the story of a film.  Direction is not tough for me.  I do it as if it were swimming or cycling.  But if the story fails, it can drag a film down. 

Jogendra & his journey:

Many are assuming that 'NRNM' is a political thriller.  Forget making one, I wouldn't watch a film of such a genre.  Only the canvas of the movie is political.  'Pathala Bhairavi' and 'Premikudu' had some similarities, but the canvas was entirely different.  

Coming to the film, Jogendra is a non-greedy money-lender.  He is a mixture of positive and negative aspects.  The film shows both of them.  He does certain activities which are good to the society.  He also does certain things which are bad to the country.  The story pans out in a span of five years.  

Full-to commercial film:

'NRNM' is commercial, although the way the characters have been written smells of art house cinema.  

I would juxtapose its commerciality with that of  'Nuvvu Nenu' and 'Jayam', and never with 'Chitram' and 'Nijam', which were in a different zone.  

Smart characters:

Many are asking me about Catherine's character.  All I will tell for now is that the film is a series of incidents involving 7-8 smart people.  They are selfish and intelligent.  

Intelligent characters are more likely to be loved by the audience than an intelligent story.  There is no suspense in the film.  There are no twists and turns at all.  

I dared to do it:

Not that there are no such characters in real life.  Only that filmmakers don't show them on the screen.  I showed the reality of teenage girls getting impregnated in the film 'Chitram'.  Such things happen in our society.

Intelligent actor that is Rana:

Rana is your thinking actor who molds himself thoroughly well before shooting for the scene.  That's a kind of homework.  

There are stars who are very casual even when they are being explained a scene.  Rana is not like that at all.  He is an intelligent actor.  He will become a top league actor after this film. Kajal too was in a very conscious mood.  If I asked her to behave in such and such way in a scene, she would tell me, 'Radha is not like that otherwise', etc.  

Strong women, strong films:

I have made films which give a lot of significance to women characters.  'Chitram', 'Nuvvu Nenu', 'Jayam' and 'Nijam' are a case in point.  Same holds true for 'NRNM'.  

Suresh Babu, the perfect producer:

Suresh Babu won't tell you how a scene should be like.  He will only say it if a film doesn't work.  Initially, I would get angry and remain in the mood for 30 minutes.  Later on, it would dawn upon me that he has a point.  I would re-shoot a scene and Suresh Babu would just say, 'Good one'.  He is the perfect producer.  

No superstitions for me:

This Friday is said to be auspicious.  All the three films are releasing at the most auspicious muhurtham.  If muhurthams really work, all the three should make monies.  But only one of the three films will make it.  Or may be only two of them will.  

People ask me about believing or disbelieving in God.  The God I know of is very strict, his heart doesn't melt because I make him some offerings, etc.  He is there to punish me very harshly if I commit a sin.  

Reviews don't make sense:

Except for some really good reviews, I don't read them.  The writers do their job, I do mine.  How can these people analyze, make notes while watching the movie?  Are they people with IQ level of more than 200?  These multi-taskers should launch companies like Apple.  

Film people change colours:

I would rather trust politicians than take the words of film people at face value.  Politicians shift to other parties only once every five years, but film people change parties every Friday.  

That's life for me:

Ordinarily, I forget that I am a filmmaker.  When driving on a road, if I feel like working the sugarcane machine, I will do it.  People tell me I shouldn't do it as I am a filmmaker.  What is the point in getting success if you don't do what you want?  If you ask me to sweep this floor, I will do it if the need be.  We are not even breathing properly as we are always in a hurry.  Life for me is living in the moment.  

- Interview by L Venugopal