'Waltair Veerayya' will be released in theatres on January 13. In this interview, director Bobby Kolli says that he spent two sleepless nights before Chiranjeevi was to watch the movie recently. "After the screening was over, he appreciated me whole-heartedly. He hugged me and kissed me. It was a surreal moment. He told me the movie will surely become a blockbuster," Bobby says.
Catch the director talk about working with his favourite star Megastar, Mass Maharaja Ravi Teja, what to expect from 'Waltair' and more.
The producers of both 'Waltair' and 'Veera Simha Reddy' are the same. So, there is no much pressure on me. Incidentally, the director of 'VSR', Gopichand Malineni, is like my brother under whom I worked in the past. I wish him all the best.
In 2003, I had a fanboy moment when I got to pose with Chiranjeevi garu. It has been my big dream to wield the megaphone for his movie. Twenty years later, my dream film is finally hitting the cinemas. Like Chiranjeevi garu and Ravi Teja, I too come with no film background. 'Waltair' has been designed keeping the mass pulse in mind.
'Acharya' may have flopped but it doesn't define Chiranjeevi garu's career. He comes with a massive experience of doing 153 movies. Hit or flop, he is equanimous. Same goes with Mass Maharaja. They are dedicated actors who believe that the fate of a movie depends entirely on the audience.
This movie has been made not just for fans but for the general audience as well. We are aware of the rising standards in the OTT era. This is not a fanboy's film. It's a director's film that is story-based. Once Ravi Teja's character enters the screen, the graph will rise like anything.
The character Veerayya is fluid. It gave me the opportunity to organically make Chiranjeevi garu look like a Mutha Mestri, a Gang Leader, etc. Nothing is forced. When you watch the trailer later today, you will understand the universe of the film better.
Chiranjeevi garu's comic timing is impeccable. He can deliver a sky-high performance if you write the right comedy scenes.
Every scene is entertaining without an exception. The combo scenes between the two heroes will be youthful and magical. This is a festival movie with colourful entertainment and beautiful, emotional moments.
One of the scenes of 'Venky Mama' was shot in the Yaganti temple. An NRI who wrote a book met with me. Veerayya is the name of a character in that book. Since I stumbled across the name in a temple, I felt sentimental. That's why I used the name as the title for this movie. I had two other titles in my mind, but Chiranjeevi garu preferred 'Veerayya'. A few days before the title was to be announced, I stumbled across a video clip in which the Megastar was heard talking about an anecdote from his life. Even that anecdote involved a person named Veerayya.
Ravi Teja's is not a cameo. I can say that this film wouldn't have existed without his character. Casting him was my choice. Once I pitched the idea to Chiranjeevi garu, he was excited. They are not seen as rivals by audiences. They have common fans. Megastar is proud of Mass Maharaja's hits like 'Dhamaka'.
'Poonakalu Loading' was conceived with the aim of setting a trend. We wanted other filmmakers to use the word 'Loading' more and more.
Devi Sri Prasad gave three hit albums to Chiru garu. When I suggested his name, both the hero and the producers played ball. The audio has to work first. The teaser/trailer come later in terms of chronology. We have succeeded with the songs of 'Waltair'. The 'Sridevi-Chiranjeevi' song has a melody and mass element in it.
Production designer AS Prakash is highly experienced. When I narrated the story, he started developing the world of 'Waltair' had to be. The Jalaripeta setting, the fishermen's world... he knew that they had to be fresh. My inputs were limited, but his output is extraordinary.
I had this dream of teaming up with Mythri Movie Makers since they had made super-hits like 'Srimanthudu'. When producer Naveen Yerneni garu's offer came my way, I was elated. Chiranjeevi garu too was waiting to work with the banner after Ram Charan garu's 'Rangasthalam'.
Both Chiru garu and Ravi Teja garu have a high degree of popularity in the Hindi market. 'Waltair' is going to have a simultaneous release in Hindi.
'Sardar Gabbar Singh' didn't work as expected. Jr NTR garu gave me an opportunity to direct him despite that. It's an unforgettable experience. Tarak garu's fans, to this day, ask me to write another powerful character like Ravana for him. I believe that film made me a star director. Megastar's fans, too, shower the same amount of love on me.
Before I wield the megaphone, the writer in me has to be satisfied. After all, I started out as a writer. While doing 'Waltair', I constantly thought about how to do things better. Even now, I am working on the DI to see if some improvements can be effected.
As of now, I have no plans to write a sequel to 'Waltair'. But after the release, I might think about it. Tarak garu's fans want a sequel to 'Jai Lava Kusa'. Depending on how well 'Waltair' is owned by Mega fans, I will think!