Filmmaker Praveen Sattaru, currently awaiting the release of Telugu anthology film Chandamama Kathalu, left high-paying job in the US and returned to India to chase his filmmaking dream. He says that the film industry is not a place to get rich because most people face losses in this business.
In 2011, he made his Telugu directorial debut with Life
Before Wedding (LBW). A year later, he made Telugu
romantic-drama Routine Love Story. Both the films failed
to rake in the moolah. "It's a myth that people get rich in film
industry, because it's not a place to make money. Ninety-nine
percent of people lose money in cinema. Who says it's easy to make
money here? I want to ask them what the success mantra is?" Praveen
"I was making more money in the US than I have been in the last
four years. I'm not here to make money and if I wanted to make
money, I wouldn't have returned to India," he said. When quizzed
about what he learned from his failures, the director said, "I have
realised if you're making a simple love story, people would come
and watch it only if there's a star in it. This was my biggest
Praveen's third directorial Chandamama Kathalu, due for
an April 25 release, is touted to be Telugu cinema's first
anthology film. He wants to give audience a "captivating
experience" through the film. "My debut film was semi-anthology and
it was received well. Based on the response to that film, I decided
to make 'Chandamama Kathalu'. I wanted to give the audience a
higher experience than my previous films," he said.
Continue to read Praveen Sattaru's interview in the
Praveen On Kick Factor
"I wanted to captivate the audience the way recent films 'Pizza' and 'Journey' managed to do. These films were small but they had
something even the big films couldn't offer. I realised these films
had a kick factor that appealed to everybody," he added.
CK Features Eight Stories
Chandamama Kathalu, which features eight stories, has
an ensemble cast. Naresh, Aamani, Lakshmi Manchu, Krishnudu,
Chaitanya Krishna and Richa Panai among others feature in it.
Praveen says the biggest challenge was the screenplay. "There are
eight stories in the film. By the time you finish all the stories,
and come back to the first one, the audience should not forget what
had happened. Therefore, screenplay was extremely difficult," said
Finalising Cast For CK Was Challenge
Another challenge was finalising the cast for Chandamama
Kathalu "When you're making a hero and heroine based film, you
have to cast actors because you know they'll be there for the full
length of the film. But when you're making a film with eight
stories, screen presence for actors is limited and, therefore, many
were not interested," he said. "Those who have worked in the film
trusted the project because they realised that the length of the
character was not a concern," he added.
Uniqueness In CK
Telugu filmdom has never experienced an anthology film and
Praveen admits that it's a "big risk", but it's "the only way I can
make my presence felt". He said, "With so many filmmakers and
actors, it's chaotic outside. In that chaos, how do you make your
presence felt? By coming up with something so unique that when it
clicks, it becomes my biggest reward."
Getting Cinema Theatres Is Biggest Challenge
Praveen, who has produced all his films so far, says taking a
film to cinemas is "challenging" but he doesn't blame anyone for
that. "It's wrong to blame industry bigwigs for lack of theatres
because they don't control them. At the end of the day, a theatre
owner should have reasons to release your film. Let's not forget
that each week so many films are releasing, so what different does
your film has to offer?"
Praveen On Promotion
"If you promote your film smartly and make everybody realise the
one differentiating factor your film possesses, then you will find
screens," said Praveen.