Interview: Koratala Siva about Janatha Garage

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 - 23:00

Koratala Siva, who is on the verge of delivering a hat-trick, takes a range of questions. Saying that he wanted to make a boring character into a hero, Siva talks about working with Mohanlal and NTR, what he thinks about his comedy, why the film with Ram Charan didn't work, and more.

What is the inspiration behind 'Janatha Garage'?

There is no inspiration or such thing. For many years, I had a story line: It's about someone who loves land crossing paths with someone who protects people. I built 'Janatha Garage' on it. Environmentalists/activists are usually seen as boring people. No matter how much we disregard them, they do their work. They are unsung heroes. I wanted to write a hero who we deem to be a boring person.

But isn't it true that environmental activists are anti-developmental at times?

How are they against development? Is it wrong to exhort people to protect environment? All that they are saying is, if you are destroying greenery, try to recompense for it by afforesting in some other place.

Nithya Menen says Anand (NTR) is a boring person. Is she going to marry him in the end? Is she related to Mohanlal in the movie?

You have to watch it on the big screen. Both Nithya Menen and Samantha are important female leads. Neither Nithya nor Samantha is related to Mohanlal's character.

Why was Tamannah replaced with Kajal Aggarwal for item song?

Actually, we had not decided on Tamannah in the first place. Her name was proposed among our team members. The producers suggested that we better go for Kajal as she hasn't done item numbers unlike Tamannah.

For the third time, you have chosen Devi Sri Prasad. Why do you want to repeat him?

He is the most apt for 'Janatha Garage'. For example, I wanted a hymn-like song for a hero-oriented song situation. He knows how to handle such situations. DSP came up with 'Pranamam Pranamam...'.

In 'Janatha Garage', there seems to be a family?

Yes, it has a family story. The family sentiment, if anything, is greater in this film when compared with my previous ones.

Was Mohanlal the first choice?

Even when I wrote the script, I imagined him for that character. When I narrated the story to NTR, it was Mohanlal garu's name that I used. So, we approached him after everything was finalized. He said he will do because he liked the intensity and the story.

What was his approach to the role?

I and other actors were nervous because such a superstar was a part of the film. But when he came to the sets, he said that he didn't know anything. We were all at ease. I think it is his way of putting people at ease. He told me, 'If I enacted this role as I want to, people will see Mohanlal, not the character. If I go by my take, people would have ended up seeing the same Mohanlal in 300 movies'.

It's said that you are weak at handling comedy. Don't you think it's your weakness?

Comedy scenes pull the audience out of the story. It's very difficult to bring audience to the theatre. Why should I pull them out when they are involved? I think emotions matter. Do we go to watch movies like 'Baahubali' expecting comedy? Whether it is comedy or any other 'rasa', emotions matter. There are comedies which can make you cry.

Was NTR always your first choice for 'Janatha Garage'? Wasn't it Ram Charan who was in your mind?

The story I had narrated to Ram Charan is not this. We couldn't go about the project because we felt we were compromising. I went to him and told him that we better call off the project and re-unite sometime in future as I thought he too was saying OK to my story half-heartedly.

As for 'Janatha Garage', the first hero to be given the narration was NTR. He was doing 'Rabhasa' at that time. But I couldn't make with him then as I had commitment with UTV. I started working on 'Srimanthudu'. After NTR was roped in, changes to characterization had to be made to suit his body language. That's what happens every time.

Directors like Rajamouli have gone on to make films in different genres. Do you have such plans?

I am just two-films old. I will do the kind of films I can as and when the time comes. I don't think about all that.

Why did you have to trim the film by 8 minutes in the last minute?

Who said that? If there are rumours, it's not my problem. In fact, we are going to add 10 more minutes after first week.

Some are commenting that there is lot of buzz around the movie because of you more than NTR. What's your comment?

Any project receives buzz because of combination. If it were a small hero, 'Janatha Garage' wouldn't have got this big a buzz.

Finally, is NTR invoking his 'vamsham' in any punch line?

If there is lineage in the story, the hero's character will talk about that. It's about the demands of the script.