Home / Interviews / Exclusive: Interview With “Ladies & Gentlemen” Director PB Manjunath

Exclusive: Interview With “Ladies & Gentlemen” Director PB Manjunath

You are a writer too, did u influence/add to the film script?
Yes. The original story was basically centric towards crime and thriller. I added the human feel and emotions to the scenes. We had arguments however we’ve come together to make this script wholesome aligning to all our sensibilities and without losing on the core of the original script.

Tell us about this now popular song “Social Media Andi Babu”
We released a promotional song “Social Media andi babu”, which is an instant Hit. It is amazingly conceived by our Music Director Raghu Kunche. I gave him the context and he came up with this brilliant idea of using the traditional BURRA KATHA style to convey the essence of the film. You would love it. We are very confident with that the song will be a huge hit and will have a great reach.

MadhuraSreedhar casting Nikita for the second time? Tell us about your cast?
We’ve actually auditioned for actors.
It all started with Mahath. During the shooting of Back bench student, I and Mahath became close friends. When he came to know that I was directing a film, he was keen to work with me and Madhura Sreedhar Reddy. Incidentally it so happened that we had Chaitanya Krishna who acted in Sreedhar Reddy’s first film Snehageetam, Nikita Narayan who worked in his second film Its my love story and Mahath from his third film Back bench student on board. We got in Sesh Adivi and Kamal kamaraju and it begin to feel like a real multi starrer film.

All of them I must say are a bunch of dedicated, extremely talented actors. Director Actors that people talk about. I am extremely happy to have this team of cast and crew. Each one – a gem of a kind.

Your Views on today’s Tollywood cinema
Am happy about today’s scene in Tollywood cinema. The kind of new directors, new plots that we are getting to see. IQ of audience is increasing each day. The exposure to foreign films and sensible cinema.

I am pleasantly stunned by Sudheer’s Swamy Ra Ra, the way the story is told. You can expect a wonderful film from D.K.Bose. I wished Chandamama Kathalu stayed 2 more weeks on theatres. It is important that audience need and get to see good cinema. I personally liked it.

Even if you make a routine commercial cinema, I believe that it should appeal to the new trend, the new age audience, youth’s sensibilities. That’s what I think Swamy Ra Ra did.

What is your genre?
I want to make films that will glorify and portray human emotions and sensibilities. Hmm… I would like to make action thrillers. I already have a script ready and am talking to some big heroes. Let’s see.

Every other week, month we get to see a low budget, meaningful cinema from Tamilnadu that is quite local. Why is it that we don’t make such movies here? Even today, Tamilnadu has not lost its culture. People there have their connections with their native life style even now. They say that they are fanatic about their language and all but I think that’s how they have retained their flavour of life. And that is what you get to see in their films, small or big. You would notice even today that Carnatic music concerts are attended by people their paying for the entry tickets.

Why is it that we don’t make such attempt?
Hmmm… We get to see such films in Tollywood but very rarely. Why is Uyyala Jampala a hit? Only, because it carried that native flavour and freshness in it. Our big producers and actors do not venture into such genre because we are afraid that the movie would fail and not make money. All of us want to be in that safe zone. I cannot hold fault at anyone but again am quite optimistic that there will be more such films that would be made.

Is it difficult to make more films in that 2 and 3CR budgets, like say Lunch box, UyyalaJampala?
There is a concern about the commercial viability. One failure decides the future of many people. With piracy and a print available online on the same day, there is so much risk and fear involved. There needs to be a brand value or a backing that will help these small budget films reach out to the audience. Be it Farhan Akhthar or Anurag Kashyap, they are all a kind of brands that vouch for a certain kind of cinema and so are the expectations and acceptance.

How do you plan to reach out to your audience?
We are trying different ways, novel ideas to make the film reach the audience. Besides the promotional song, some interesting programs on media and audience. We need to keep innovating.

Considering worst case scenarios, is there a way to survive by selling satellite rights?
No. I think its near impossible. The scene has changed. I was told that several channels have hundreds of films lying with them. Films made out of 10 and 20lacs.
There needs to be honesty in films. Making films needs honesty, with utmost dedication and commitment. I’ve not compromised on this in movie. I depicted what I thought was honest, however hard hitting it is. This is entirely my personal opinion.

What do you think of these run of the mill stories that are made in Tollywood? Why do we repeat the same plot again and again?
I differ here. In all, they say there are 12 kinds of stories. The same have been told time and again in different ways. The problem lies in repeating the same kind of narration and not in the storyline. When RGV directed it, it is Shiva. Another director would tell the same story in his narrative.

Should movies have a social responsibility?
This is a matter of an individual’s perception while making a film. You can get away justifying that I depict what is happening in the society. But I feel you needn’t show on screen all that is happening around. I think when it is shown on screen it gets a larger audience and spread faster and may be validated. I can’t show vulgarity, dual meaning dialogues, heroine and hero calling each other derogatorily. I want to maintain that fine line between Sex and Romance in my films.

Finally for me, it boils down to finding the difference between living and existing.

Do you watch short films? What are the prospects for these short film makers to make it big?
I used to watch a lot. I don’t get time as much. I get to see some wonderful work.
Interesting… In a recent conversation with a friend, I’ve asked if he could recommend some aspirant writers for the next project. He sent a couple of guys and they were both the regular, conventional filmi kind. I asked my friend to send some fresh graduates, not into any job and aspiring to get into films. I strongly believe that this is the kind of people who are extremely creative, passionate and can bring in a fresh thought.

What do you suggest these aspiring film makers?
I don’t think I have reached that place to make a suggestion. I strongly think if you have the talent you have an opportunity. It took 5 years for me to get an entry and 10 years to settle. It has become fairly easy now. Take for instance Sudheer or Dasaradh, their entire team is young and fresh. With social media it is easy to get in touch with people you would like to work. You do a good job and put it up there and opportunities will find you.

You read a lot of literature. Have you thought of adapting any stories?
I have a story in mind. I wouldn’t tell you though. Chuckles.

So, getting a good producer is the only hurdle?
Of-course yes.

On the other hand, why is it that we don’t get to see some good talent, actors in the supporting roles, the kind of next tier characters who carry the plot. Why is it that we are stuck with the same formula of a glorified hero, a couple of side kicks and a loud bunch of comedians?
Hmmm… Difficult to say… We have these sets of audience who wish to see their hero in a particular way. The hero’s entry fights etc., etc., So, the heroes cater to that. I don’t find fault with anyone. It’s just that things need to change.
Change will happen, slowly and I see things happening.

Do you have any specific heroes that you would like to work with?
Laughs… Everyone wants to work with the big league heroes. I wrote some scripts that I would like Allu Arjun, Mahesh babu to work with. I am sure these characters that I wrote will show a different dimension. And I would be happy if I get a chance to work with them.

Last question, tell us who is your best critic?
Madhura Sreedhar. He holds the gun at a point range. The hardest and the best critic for me. It’s a kind of torture. I like that. We are emotionally connected and he never treated me like an associate director.
We have difference of opinions and every time he always told me what works and how things work.
I had a lot of attitude and aggression. He really toned me down. He influenced my thought process, my lifestyle. He is like family.

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Krishna Mohan Gorle heads global sales for an IT Company. Besides pursuing several creative interests like photography, movies, music and books, Krishna Mohan Gorle volunteers for NGO’s working on social causes”