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'Meter' is an entertainer with a lot of commercial potential: Producer Cherry (Chiranjeevi)


Producer Cherry (Chiranjeevi) says that he is expecting 'Meter' to become a BO hit. After the sleeper hit 'Mathu Vadalara', Clap Entertainment is making a comeback with an out-and-out commercial entertainer this time. 'Meter' is going to be released in theatres on April 7. In this interview, Cherry says that the Kiran Abbavaram-starrer has been made without compromising on the budget. He adds that 'Meter' is not a regular commercial outing.

I have been in the film industry for 31 years. 'Money', 'Gulabi' and 'Rangeela' are some of the early films I was associated with. I have been the CEO of Mythri Movie Makers. I look after a lot of aspects at the banner.

My previous productions, namely, Gopichand's 'Okkadunnadu', 'Mathu Vadalara' (its budget was Rs 2.5 Cr), and 'Happy Birthday' (its budget was Rs 8.5 Cr) were experimental in nature. For the first time, we have done a film with commercial elements.

Comedy, love, fights, songs are associated with commercial cinema. At the end of the it, it is the story that towers above them all. 'Meter' has got a cop story that taps into its emotional beats. Director Ramesh has previously worked under Gopichand Malineni and Bobby Kolli. He knows the commercial beats.

The story would have suited an established actor, but since the director is a newcomer, no star hero would have been ready. We approached Kiran Abbavaram after watching 'SR Kalyanamandapam'.

Director Ramesh is influenced by the filmography of the likes of Anil Ravipudi. That's why people are mentioning 'Pataas' in the context of 'Meter'.

Kiran has got a lot of ease. He can pull off any kind of role so well. 'Meter' has him in a youngish role that has him in a carefree demeanour. The mannerisms, style of the character perfectly suited him. We are quite confident now that the output is greatly gratifying.

Experimental films, their reach is minimal. Their BO potential is less. Films like 'Meter', if they come to enjoy positive word of mouth, get the maximum reach. The distributors of our movies have a strong grounding in the industry. There are so many screens in the Telugu States that three releases can be accommodated easily. So, we don't fear competition from 'Ravanasura' (Ravi Teja's film). In any case, 'Meter' is going to have a compact release, not a massive release.

The industry has gone through a lot of technological innovation. So much of VFX, the use of new equipment such as techno crane have been deployed. These advancements are constantly evolving and growing. The audience's expectations have been on the rise. Filmmakers want to try out new innovations to stay ahead of the curve. Telugu cinema, as we all know, is making a mark internationally.

The quantum of theatre-going audience has definitely come down post Covid-19 due to the rise in F&B costs. The price of snacks has risen. That said, 'Waltair Veerayya' and 'Veera Simha Reddy' were big hits. So, there is a loyal set of audience who want to watch movies in theatres. Star hero is the biggest puller, followed by star director. If the 'word of mouth' is positive, collections don't drop after the first weekend. The cinema-going culture has become weekend-centric in domestic circuit, much like in in the US.

Any producer makes a film for the theatrical release. The OTT and satellite aspects of business become secondary.

As a producer, I don't want to limit myself to experimental movies. I want to try commercial movies. I will be doing a film with 'Mathu Vadalara' director Riteish Rana next. It's a different kind of movie. The casting is not yet finalized. A mid-range hero will headline it. I am also teaming up with a debut director for a comedy entertainer.

Almost all established heroes and directors have their hands full currently. They are too busy to give any new commitment for the next 2-3 years. This is the time for producers to encourage new directors and actors.

Publicity costs are determined by the size of the film's budget. A small film might take up to Rs 1 Cr. I can hold a pre-release event at a star hotel or at Shilpakala Vedika. The latter would cost much higher.

Updated on April 4, 2023