Unlike other directors, Sekhar Kammula is definitely more of a dreamer. He prefers the lawn in the great outdoors to the closed a/c rooms and empty chairs. As he settled comfortably cross-legged for a chit chat, he laughed off a volley of questions. Ahead of the release of his latest film, 'Life is Beautiful', he seemed to be in an introspective mood.
“All that I have ever wanted to do was make movies. I worked very hard as an engineer, but never got good grades. At the film school, however, I was a four-pointer and topper. I never had to work hard, because I loved it,” he recalled with a sense of vindication.
He sure loves his job even today.
Known for his soft and happy entertainers, Kammula confessed his partiality or rather, preference for these themes.
“When I was writing this movie (Life is Beautiful), I was in a state of mind, where I wanted everybody to be happy. It’s about bringing back that unity among people living together, feeling a rare kind of happiness and helping one another,” he said, reminding one of the ‘kindred spirits’ of the famous Anne of 'Green Gables'.
‘Alternative cinema will rule’
Kammula genuinely believes that good, sensible and alternative movies will rule the box office.
“It is very difficult to make simple films, as you are unsure of the how the audience will perceive it. Directors in Tollywood are now constantly experimenting with new subjects, like Eega and even an average audience will prefer them,” he pointed out.
As a successful director, what does he think of the so-called success formula?
“I guess there are two reasons: My movies are based on middle-class families and youngsters, which makes it easy for people to relate to the subject. Secondly, these days the whole meaning of love has changed for youngsters. With crimes like rape, kidnap on the rise, I guess my movies bring in a sense of relief and make it a pleasant watch for them,” he opined.
‘I am very selfish about my film’
Kammula casts youngsters in the lead in his films, be it 'Anand', 'Happy Days' or 'Life is Beautiful'. Some, particularly in the film industry, have often criticised him for the same claiming he can’t work with stars. Understandably, he refutes such talk.
“I am very selfish when it comes to my film. If the script demands a star, I won’t think twice to approach him. I will beg, borrow or steal to convince them to be a part of my movie,” he asserted and explained that when it comes to movies such as 'Happy Days' or 'Life is Beautiful', there’s just no scope for a star. The one movie that he did with a star was 'Leader', though, at the time, Rana wasn’t a star.
“I did take Rana in 'Leader' because it was his debut. He was tall, looked like a star, which fit my bill. We spent the same amount of money on 'Life is Beautiful', as one would on any star-studded movie,” he said.
He doesn’t accept that 'Leader' was a failure.
“It’s a misrepresentation. 'Leader' did get good numbers at the box-office. I was in fact happy with it, but it wasn’t as big a hit as the others,” he conceded.
So, will he pen down another one on a social cause? “I will definitely work on another one. I don’t want to make films to prove a point. I keep myself updated on the developments across the country. I don’t believe in making movies on a problem or around it. If I think there is solution to the problem, that is when I go about making a film,” he said.
‘Commercial movies in my style’
Though soft movies are his forte, he is game for the commercial types too. But he hastened to add that it will be minted in his style. “I love watching such films and I believe making a movie without a villain is quite difficult. My hero won’t hit the villain physically, he will defeat him mentally,” he quipped.
The comfort level in such movies doesn’t deter the director.
“Well, I am growing old with every movie and I think every writer goes through different states of mind, which will lead him through a journey. I don’t believe in making movies with a vengeance. Half the censorship of my new script starts off at my home,” he said.
And, why does he take a huge break between every movie? “I am not proud of delaying my movies. I agree that the process can speed up and I can make a couple of them in the same time. It somehow takes this long for me, as I am particular about my shots,” he replied in an apologetic tone.
Surprise in store?
That he is planning to remake in Hindi is known. Now, he reveals that he might just remake Leader as well. The director also wished that he could direct Nagarjuna. “If there is some nice, romantic script, a little better than 'Geetanjali', why not!,” he laughed.
He had launched Rana and now with talk of Nagarjuna’s son Akhil too getting ready to take the plunge, will he direct him too? “I guess his launch will be really grand. Akhil is a great cricketer and if something works, it will work great,” he said without revealing much.