Interview with Ravi Babu


What is the film Party all about?
Party is basically designed as fun film targeted at young people, young families and everybody else in general audiences who want to watch a film and have good time. Like the name conjure 'party' is about letting loose, letting your hair down, just unwind and have few laughs. Movie is about a group of ordinary people caught up in some extraordinary situations and how they wiggle out of the situations. This film is set up in a party kind of ambiance. Party generates lots of entertainment, laughter and fun.

How different is Party from your earlier films Allari, Ammailu Abbailu and Soggadu?
Every film I have done so far belong to different genre. Allari was targeted at below 20 year olds and it was more of an adolescent love story. Ammailu Abbailu deals more with the physical insecurities of people and it was a satire on urban professional life. Soggadu is a love story set up in inner city background. Soggadu tries to capture sincere angle in otherwise not-so-sincere boy. What level he raises to when he is confronted with an extraordinary situation in his life.

When it comes to Party, it is in the genre by itself. Party is an urban and suave comedy. It is a comedy film right from the word go. This film is loaded with gags from the first scene to the last scene. This film is being made with the single objective of making audience laugh. Leave your thinking cap behind and have fun.

What difference do you seen in audience thinking when you made Allari and now?
When I made Allari film they accepted few things. With the encouragement I got, I took more liberty to make Ammailu Abbailu. Then I noticed that people were changing but not as fast as I was making films. With that lesson, we made Soggadu. We did few mistakes in Soggadu. We learned from it. Every film is a learning experience. You just try not to make mistakes you made earlier. In the process you end up making new mistakes.

As for as the audiences are concerned, they have evolved pretty much over a period last 3-4 years. They are accepting different films. The films made on small budgets for niche market ended up making profits. There are certain good films, which could not make money because of over budget. Economic scenario was not planned well. But audiences have been very encouraging for new filmmakers and new scripts. Since overseas market has opened up, these kinds of films would do well in overseas these days.

As filmmakers it is our responsibility to do new kinds of films and give new experiences to the audiences. At the same time reciprocity is expected from the movie lovers.

What is the budget of this film?
This film is targeted at 18-35 age group audiences. I am limiting this film only to the 50 lakhs of people who visits multiplexes. I am limiting my budget as per the expectations on how much these kinds of audiences generate. I made an estimation of budget by looking at the history of collections in A centers for these kinds of films.

What is the reason for picking Allari Naresh and Shashank?
For all my films, I first write the script and then decide who are going to be in it than the other way round. It is historically proven that you can’t write scripts by keeping actors in mind. Most of those films failed. After writing the script, I chose Allari Naresh, Shashank and Brahmanandam for these three main leads as the script demanded it.

What about the music?
I have not by force cut into a song in the standard narrative format. I placed the songs in such a way that they do not interfere with the narrative of the film. At the same time I placed them in such a way that the audience does not miss the music in the film. Songs would not disturb the mood of the film. I feel that songs (especially the bad ones) take away the momentum of the film. This film has 4 main songs and two additional bit songs. It also has special themes.

What are the locations?
I shot the entire film in Hyderabad. Since a large part of this film is set against software background, we decided to have Hyderabad backdrop.

So far you have been doing all limited budget films with relatively new comers. Don’t you plan to direct big stars?
As I told you earlier the script comes first. If I think a big star is necessary to cast in my script, I would definitely go and approach them. So far I have not written a script that suit’s a big star. Budget is always dictated by the star in the film. Since I make films with all new comers, my films have limited budgets.

You are saying that Party has the backdrop of Party with a crime angle in it? Two films with similar themes (AOR and Danger) were released in 2005. How different Party is going to be?
Absolutely no connection. Party word is used in a very metaphorical way in this film to suggest fun and entertainment. At the same time a party is also happening in the film. I have seen the films you mentioned which were made by my friends. There is no parallels between these films. In those films party is set up in the beginning to kick start the film. Party is culmination of this film.

In Allari and Ammailu Abbailu there was adolescent comedy which kept the family audiences away. What about Party?
We have put the humor which is necessary for this kind of script. Party is going to be a clean comedy.

If you analyze yourself what are your strengths/weakness as a filmmaker?
Let me tell you my weakness first. My weakness is not still being able to understand the script completely. I think it’s a standard weakness for many of the filmmakers. If we knew how to make a perfect script we all would generate hits nonstop. I am still 4 films old. I have a long way to go to understand what the perfect script is. With every film I am trying to identify my weaknesses and then try to overcome. Ironically many people say that my first script (Allari) is my best script. Then it must have been a fluke and I happened to hit the right script by chance. But that’s not true. I have always done what is right for that particular film. Anybody can fail at creative aspect. But I would feel vulnerable if I fail in execution aspect. I am good at execution and fail in creative aspects, at times.

My strength lies in executing the story idea. Trying to put your idea into celluloid form and trying to present that with the best possible aesthetics (choice of camera angles and choice of art direction - colors, locations and costumes). I can present the script idea perfectly the way I have imagined in my mind.

You seem to have certain kind of theme in terms of visuals. How do you do it?
It is called visual design. As per the demand of the script, I chose a visual design to go with it. Allari had funky look. Ammailu Abbailu had a plastic and unrealistic look. Soggadu had a realistic look and dark colors that depict the destitute on the street. Party will have corporate look. After the script is completed, my second task is to get the look of the film right. If the look is right, then it is easy for us to involve the audiences into our story.

By targeting niche market, are you not going to lose a large pie?
The mistake most of us do in Telugu films is that we do want to make films for everybody. That means we target the most uneducated man in remote part of the state to the super sophisticated multiplex kind of crowd. You are trying to please a large crossection of the audience which means you have to put elements for everybody. But putting elements for everybody, subconsciously, we are making same films again and again. You are giving violence, music, comedy and it becomes a standard package of a so-called commercial cinema loaded with formula which we think would be liked by everybody. But look at the success rate of our films. It is hardly 5%, which means that our formula is not working. The time has come where you need to make films only for certain kind of people. Then only you can make different kinds of scripts and different kinds of movies. All these different sets of audiences has different kinds of tastes. Some times the music work in certain films and some other times the energy of an actor. But ultimately it is the script that gives us a guaranteed result. I am not going to please every one. I will only target multiplex crowds with Party. If those people see my film and like it I am happy.

Except Ammailu Abbailu, all others films were produced by you (Allari Ravi was also a partner in Soggadu film). What is the reason?
Even when I was making ad films I was the producer and the director. I think that trend continued with me into the film industry. I don’t see any specific reason why I should not produce most of my films.

What do you think is the reason for slump in Telugu film industry?
Just like in any other industry, Telugu film industry too go through the phases of boom and bust. If you take year 2002, we had a boom where most of the Telugu films were successful and film industry of other languages was in slump. That trend has just reversed. It’s a passing phase.

Is education important to the filmmakers?
Yes. If you are not educated, you should not be directing films. Period! As a director you should be competent enough to manage all 24 departments.


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