Bharat Ane Nenu’s hero resembles no real politician, says Koratala Siva
Koratala Siva, the man who has helmed Bharat Ane Nenu, talks about writing a story with the chief minister of a state as its main lead and how Mahesh Babu had apprehensions about playing one such a character.Updated: Apr 19, 2018 11:37 IST
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Director Koratala Siva rose to fame with the runaway success of Prabhas’ Mirchi. He followed it up with even bigger blockbusters such as Srimanthudu and Janatha Garage, earning the reputation of being a filmmaker who doesn’t make any wrong moves.
As he gears up for the release of Bharat Ane Nenu, a political drama featuring Mahesh Babu as a chief minister of a state, Siva spoke at length about the film, working with Mahesh Babu for the second time and being responsible within the commercial space. Excerpts from the interview:
You’re a director with impressive track record of three blockbusters to your credit. With Bharat Ane Nenu just hours away from release, what’s on your mind at the moment?
I treat every film like my first film. There’s always pressure before a release. It’s like taking exams in school year after year. If you’ve successfully completed one exam, then you feel the tension in the next exam. The pressure is even more when it comes to cinema because of the high stakes. One wrong move and everything goes kaput. I still get nervous before a release, simply because this is one profession where despite your efforts, the result doesn’t always work in your favour. If audiences don’t like what you’ve made, despite the money and time that’s gone into making the film, it doesn’t make much of a difference.
Today, cinema has become an easy target for fringe groups. Given that Bharat Ane Nenu is a political drama, how careful were you in the writing process and the making of the film?
There’d be no room for controversies. The film is made in a fictional atmosphere with fictional characters. We took a lot of care and put in a great amount of effort in writing to ensure that the character in the film resembles no politician in real life. We also didn’t want to be satirical or deliberately take potshots at anyone. Nevertheless, it’s still an intense political film with the necessary commercial ingredients. I’m sure audiences will get to experience real political atmosphere in the film and get drawn into its world.
Having delivered three back-to-back blockbusters, how has your writing changed over the years? There must be pressure on you from producers and actors who’d want to work with you. Do you write keeping an actor in mind?
All stories are born as an idea, and in that stage you don’t have anyone in mind. An idea should first interest and excite me and only then will I sit and develop it. When I find an idea worth working on, I’d want to travel with it for a while, just to see if it can still excite me. It’s only after I’m convinced with that idea will I approach any actor and take it forward if he likes it. Once an actor comes on board, you make changes to the story by keeping in mind his image and stardom.
At the film’s audio launch, Mahesh Babu said he had qualms about playing a chief minister of a state onscreen. How did you manage to convince him?
More than fear, I think, he found the idea of seeing himself as a chief minister quite strange. He’s someone who doesn’t keep track of politics or is ever interested in knowing what’s happening. But he took it up because he saw the character as a challenge. I convinced him that every scene will be exciting because he’d be playing a role he hasn’t played before. As we started working, he really enjoyed the process because he found every scene to be new.
A chief minister’s role is of a different stature vis-à-vis any other role. Each role has its set of limitations. How did you address the commercial angle from the perspective of the chief minister’s character?
Being a chief minister automatically makes the character powerful. You don’t have to try and make it even more powerful. We had to take some liberties because it’s a commercial film and we’re catering to the masses. But we’ve backed it with logic and never went overboard with respect to the treatment.
At the audio launch, NTR Junior (Taraka) called you a responsible filmmaker. Your films have touched upon issues that are proof of his words. Do you believe filmmakers need to be socially responsible?
Let us understand that cinema is a medium of entertainment. Audiences pay money to get entertained and I don’t think any filmmaker would want to see it any other way. The issues I’ve addressed in my films have been done from a very commercial perspective. I don’t have to necessarily do it every single time. Also, do you believe audiences don’t know already what we try and showcase on screen? As a filmmaker, one needs to be responsible of the money that’s put into making the film.
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First Published: Apr 19, 2018 11:28 IST