Rama Raju: It's a pure love story!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 18:30

Rama Raju, the director of the critically-acclaimed 'Mallela Theeram Lo Sirimalle Puvvu',is back with 'Oka Manasu'. Starring Naga Shourya and Niharika Konidela in lead roles, the film hits the screens on June 24. In this chit chat, the director talks about why he took a year's gap before making this film, zeroing in on Niharika, and more.  

You took a long gap after your debut film 'Mallela Theeram Lo'. Why so?

For a year, I felt that I better leave the film industry forever. I have always believed that cinema is an art form, but the industry is too commercial. It took me a lot of time to understand this.  

'Oka Manasu' has been described as a pure love story!

No matter how many films we watch, it is love stories which stay with us. We remember them for many, many years. This story excited me. I felt that it will excite the audience, too, when they are told this one. I have grown up watching love stories. There was a time when money used to wield heavy influence on man. Now, it's politics.  

Was Niharika the first choice?

I had first narrated the story to Samantha. She liked it and said OK, but she couldn't allocate call sheets. Then, I went to Regina, who too gave the nod but was too busy to do our film. At that point of time, Madhura Sridhar garu suggested Niharika. When I googled about her, I found my Sandhya (character's name) in her.

Were you scared to direct a Mega actress?

At first, I was skeptical about whether there will be objections. Since I felt that she is the most apt for the role of Sandhya, I went ahead. She liked the character so much that she wouldn't respond when I called her Niha; she would respond only when I called her by her character's name.

Is 'Oka Manasu' an offbeat film?

It's a pure love story. But it's not a run-of-the-mill movie. There are others to make such movies. I am not needed to make regular commercial movies. It has been long since a pure love story has come out. Made faithfully, the Telugu audience will definitely love a good film.  

What is a commercial movie in your estimation?

A film made on a huge budget is not necessarily a commercial one. Any movie made even on a small budget and that fetches profits is a real commercial film.

What is your upcoming film?

My next film will be with the same production house.