Don't call me an NRI: Sekhar Kammula
who dares to dream and dreams to launch a thousand dreams.
"Software engineer and Howard graduate turned director wins National Award"



Click-> Sekhar Kammula


Hyderabad, December 4, 2004

Click-> Ananad

Even big stars fight shy of releasing their films along with a Chiranjeevi-starrer, not young Sekhar Kammula who took on the mighty with his realistic love story "Anand" being released on the same day as "Shankardada M.B.B.S."

Click-> "Shankardada M.B.B.S."

And Sekhar came out with flying colours with his film finding acceptance along with the Telugu remake of the Hindu hit "Munnabhai M.B.B.S."

"I knew that it would either be a huge hit or a huge flop", says Sekhar who bagged the National Award for his English film "Dollar Dreams". He was hailed as a trailblazer since he set a new trend of multiplex movies in Telugu.

Unlike the rest in his profession, the big find of this season feels that this is a time of reckoning for Telugu filmdom. He thinks Telugu cinema can sink further if it keeps repeating itself.

Sekhar spoke to IANS about "Anand", the future of Telugu cinema and his own plans.

Q: Did you expect "Anand" to become such a smashing hit?

A: Though I was confident about my concept, I was prepared for the worst. I thought that it would either be a huge hit or a complete washout. Luckily, the audience loved it.

Most of the buyers liked the film and said so, but no one was willing to invest in it since it didn't fit into their formulas. It was difficult to change their mindset. So I released it on my own. I also believed that a realistic film could succeed among routine potboilers since we have just handful of genuine hits this year. Besides, good performances, an interesting plot, good comedy and lilting music also made it a winner.

Q: Do you feel that this is a time of reckoning for Telugu filmdom?

A: Yes, definitely, because the audience has been rejecting routine potboilers described as 'formula films'. All of us should introspect and change our views. We cannot carry on with our pre-conceived notions, but should attempt something realistic and fresh.

Even buyers have to encourage novel concepts since they have burnt their fingers by investing in big movies. If a small-budget movie flops, buyers would not end up on the road and, if it succeeds, then it can bring double investment.

Q: Do you think "Anand" can set a trend for multiplex Telugu films?

A: I hope so because many aspiring makers can now try out something different from the routine with a bit of confidence. The audience has given a clear verdict for sensible films. Let us all resolve to cater to them.

I tried to set this trend with my maiden film "Dollar Dreams", but it couldn't happen. I am happy to achieve this with a Telugu film.

Q: Normally non-resident Indians (NRIs) are known for making crossover English films but you intend to settle down as a Telugu filmmaker?

A: I dislike being called a NRI since my heart lies in India. I do have regard for the US for giving me status and money but I also feel that most NRIs yearn to return to their roots.

With "Anand", I have proved my taste for classical music. Even the plot is truly Indian. My next film will definitely be in Telugu but with a different concept and a new team since I dislike repeating myself.

I have been browsing through a few ideas but nothing has been finalised. I don't intend to cash in on the opportunity at the moment by hastily announcing a film. I would prefer to announce one when I have a concrete script in my hand.