Ramesh Varma has had no hits after Ride. He says that every director faces pressure after a hit and if a right decision is not taken then, there is a risk of slipping into oblivion. As the release of Rakshasudu with Bellamkonda Sai Sreenivas and Anupama Parameshwaran in lead roles draws close, he reminisces and resolves to do one film a year and not waste time henceforth. He says, “I wanted to go ahead with a concept story after Ride, I should have stuck to my decision but I went with a formula plot because big heroes wanted to work with me at that time. I was in a dilemma and made Veera with Ravi Teja and followed it up with Abbayitho Ammayi with Naga Shourya. Veera did collect money but Abbayi Tho Ammayi was a film meant for teens and I did it with a 24-year old hero. It was a casting mistake and nothing was wrong with the content. At the end of the day, all the factors should fall in place when you make a film.”
Despite years of lull, Ramesh still gets offers to direct. He hasn’t pulled out all good stories as yet and had recently turned producer with 7 that tanked at the box office. I agree the film 7 didn’t run despite putting in best efforts. When I gave the content, cinematographer Nizar Shafi said he wanted creative freedom and would like to make changes. As a director, I understood what he said and didn’t interfere. Maybe I would do the same if I were in his place. But the end result that I had on my mind and what he did were different.”
He nevertheless wants to take a break from production and maybe in future, if some story excites him, he will again bring in a director, he says.
There was a scramble to procure the remake rights of Tamil original Raatchasan, around 11 producers came forward to buy it. The content is very strong and a lot of people thought it will work well in Telugu, he reveals. Producer Koneru Satyanarayana concurred and asked for the rights to be brought.
Asked if most of the scenes were lifted from the original, he says, “In the Tamil original, the hero’s footage is around 90 per cent. When he is present in almost the entire film, how would it be possible to even think of lifting scenes? We have taken only four minutes that comes in the voice over. It is preposterous to think we were trying to save ₹ 20 -30 lakh on a film we spent so many crores on. It is a 2 hour-32 minute story and we shot two hours 28 minutes in a span of 90 days.”
About the hero, he says, “Many heroes called the producer for this film rights but I insisted on roping in Bellamkonda Sai Sreenivas. Not that the rest of the heroes aren’t suitable, I thought Sai would bring a fresh look.”
Ramesh Varma insists he didn’t change the content from the original. ““I didn’t want to change anything, not because I am scared of the critics or reviewers, but I was particular about not changing the script written by the Tamil director, I felt it was perfect. The remake rights are also being brought by the Chinese.”
Ramesh Varma says he doesn’t like thrillers but felt there was some magic in this story. Remaking a film is a tough job and only those who have succeeded in making it a hit will tell you the intricacies involved in doing it, he says, and cites the example of Oh! Baby and Arjun Reddy.
About the film crew, he shares, “Ghibran composed music for this film and he complimented us after seeing it. The pre-production took 15 days and I focused on the dialogue version. Devi Sri Prasad’s brother Sagar is being introduced as the dialogue writer.”
This film is about a man who, when entrusted with a job, will complete it in spite of the number of hurdles he faces. It has the tone of a thriller and the director feels it will satisfy every viewer who is looking for fresh storytelling. He voices his concern, “It is indeed a challenge for a filmmaker to keep the audience glued to the screen and not have him glance at his mobile now and then. At a time when a film’s life span is less than a week or restricted to three or four days, it becomes all the more difficult for a remake to attract the audiences because you would find them on some digital platform.”