100 days Success- Q & A with Raj Kandukuri

100 days Success- Q & A with Raj Kandukuri

Posted by P. Charitha on September 30th 2016

With Pelli Choopulu, the new-age urbane Telugu movie still running successfully in theaters & heading towards the 100-day mark, Startup2day caught up with its producer-Raj Kandukuri, who shared his insights about short films as a startup, making it to the big screen and lots more. 

Startup2day.in: Hello Raj garu, congratulations & how are you enjoying the success of Pelli Choopulu? 
Raj Kandukuri: Thank You! Yes I am enjoying the success at the same time there is a small fear inside me as the expectations are much higher for the upcoming movies & I can’t disappoint the audience. As a filmmaker I am enjoying the success with a bit of fear and caution, keeping in the future films in mind. I feel more responsible and obviously concerned about the next project to become a hit as well.
Startup2day.in: Your film has created a record of sorts especially in the small film category. What do you think is the formula for a successful film to be a hit apart from the adage of Content being the King?
Raj Kandukuri: The reason for the success of Pelli Choopulu is certainly the content, but as you asked what else could be the reason for its success? In this case I strongly feel the characters are not cinematic and somewhere you would have come across these people in your everyday life. The hero, heroine, their parents and the hero’s friends, are all somebody you feel that you know and identify with and you connect with the situations. It’s more like real life. If the reel characters are close to the real life people you encounter, the audience will definitely appreciate these kind of movies and eventually contribute to the success of the movie. 
Startup2day.in: As a seasoned producer considering that this is your 11th film since 2007, what is it that made you give the final nod for producing Pelli Choopulu, was it the debutant director Tharun Bhaskar’s story ? Or what was it that appealed to you? 
Raj Kandukuri:Why did I agree for doing Pelli Choopulu  with Tharun Bhasker? For the first reason, is that when he narrated the story it touched my heart 90%! There was no formula where you had the typical fights, songs and a dance sequence in Switzerland etc. When I heard him out it felt nice & I connected to each scene. 
The hero-heroine getting stuck in the room, the parents’ anxiety about what was happening inside, his friends & the subtle comedy, their careers & aspirations, the whole story had a new freshness to it. The 2-hour narration at a go attracted me and I felt would also attract the audience & keep them engrossed & Tharun Bhasker did justice to the film. 
Startup2day.in: You have already been recognized as a mentor for short film makers and are known to encourage them to come out with new films on the big screen too. What are your feelings about the current crop of wannabe directors & filmmakers?
Raj Kandukuri: I want to encourage short film makers. With limited resources they are putting in their hard earned money, effort & time in making a short film of 10-20mts duration. In that limited span of time they showcase their talents they have and genuinely put in their efforts to make a film in a small budget. What I see in most of them is that have a hunger and zeal to prove themselves. I respect them greatly for this .They work hard for 2-3 years writing stories and making films. They come to me as Raj Kandukuri- a producer with lot of hopes and & they believe that I am a person who can support them in their aspirations & I will definitely encourage them. 
When I see that genuinity, passion & sincerity in them & their story and if it is viable, we can add in a few commercial elements to it and make a film that is good, then I will certainly produce it.
Startup2day.in:For every debutant movie maker his/her movie is like a start-up venture,  and am sure you have many aspirants coming to you  for advice… so how do you guide them when they come to you, please share your inputs .

Raj Kandukuri: Lots of people are coming to me for advice, they ask me what sort of film we should invest in and what kind of care should we take while making a film. There is one thing I would like to say is that ‘Content is definitely King”, but marketing is equally important & the next big thing to do. When you make a good film you also have to promote it & ensure that it reaches the audience. You need to evaluate & see whether you have that reach.
There are many people making great movies, but the most critical aspect is the release of the film. There are several factors - right content, the time of the release, whether you have the capacity to release it and if you can’t, have a tie up with the right people who can help you release it. Convince them so that the film gets the right release. Just because you have the money don’t jump into the movie business. You need to evaluate your capabilities before you make a movie. Out of concern I would sincerely advise anyone, if you have the talent & potential then only get into filmmaking. It also requires a lot of patience and endurance till you make it to the big screen.

Startup2day.in:At the end of the day for any film to make it to the theater you need the support of the big wigs, as in your case with Mr Suresh Babu  and also Mr Allu Arvind who is now encouraging small film makers of different genres …so do you think that small film makers have no choice but to approach them?
Raj Kandukuri:In a way you are right, but we can’t blame the big wigs alone . They are also in need for good films, theater owners are also looking for good films too.
Just like how a movie maker needs a theater to screen his/her movie, vis- a vis a theater owner would also want to feature a good movie with great content-its mutual. These two aspects come into sync when a reputed distribution house comes into picture, like how Suresh Babu came forward & said, “Yes Raj we will distribute your movie”. He had the confidence& obviously the other theater owners’ confidence doubles, especially when a reputed distributer comes forward to promote the movie. When you come with a good & clear content they are always there to support you, but all this is possible when you create an awareness & brand for yourself & your work. 

Startup2day.in: Lastly would you think that having a recognized forum for filmmakers to showcase their stories to producers is the need of the hour if the TFI ( Telugu Film Industry) has to sustain itself in the future?
Raj Kandukuri: Yes we need a recognized forum/platform, but even if you have platform, the right people who come to choose your film should be there, right? We already have platforms like FaceBook, YouTube, there are many big companies to support you & help you showcase your talent .Companies like IDream are coming forward & ready to co-brand with filmmakers and support them. But for this you need to initially invest in some money to promote your film. Suppose you invest in a budget of Rs 1 lakh or more, you can put up a show at Prasad Labs, invite the industry people .That itself becomes a forum, there is no need to have another platform or forum to showcase your movie.
After which you can use the Social Media Channels to promote your film. It’s sufficient to gather momentum for your film. Here several people will come & watch & if they like your film they will share it and spread the work automatically. Your film will be recognised & success will follow suit. 
Thank You & I wish Start2day all the best & I support your endeavor in encouraging new talent & bringing them together under one platform. 
All the best from Raj Kandukuri ! 


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