Sithara Entertainments producer Suryadevara Naga Vamsi's taste for quality cinema across eclectic genres has consistently reflected in films he has made. Besides associating with major stars, filmmakers and writers in the tinsel town, he has introduced several pathbreaking talents to Telugu cinema over the years as well. The next major release in the leading production house is DJ Tillu, starring Siddhu Jonnalagadda, Neha Shetty, that hits theatres on February 12.
Here are the excerpts from S Naga Vamsi’s interaction with media.
Reason for making DJ Tillu:
During the lockdown in the first wave of the pandemic, I happened to like Krishna and his Leela and asked if Siddhu (Jonnalagadda) had an interesting idea/script. He was already shooting for another romantic comedy Maa Vintha Gaadha Vinuma then and I suggested if we could do something beyond the rom-com genre. He came up with a crime comedy, the script evolved and underwent changes. DJ Tillu is a space we haven't explored as a banner before. We have made mostly family dramas, romances and wanted to do something out of the box within the commercial space.
Venturing beyond family dramas and moving onto youth-centric films:
Our initial plan wasn't to make a youth-centric movie. DJ Tillu was a result of a lot of discussions, developments over two years. When we made a light-hearted romance like Rang De that had good mouth-talk, it still evoked a moderate response because family crowds weren't ready to hit theatres yet.
We realised it was a safer bet to make mass movies or youth-centric flicks for the coming year or two and draw crowds. This was proven with all the recent releases. We heard a lot of interesting stories during the lockdown and will be releasing a lot of small-budget films in the coming months. New-age directors are doing a good job in presenting scripts well.
On collaborating with Siddhu Jonnalagadda:
We were rolling in laughter right when Siddhu Jonnalagadda narrated the script and were sure that the laughs would only multiply when audiences watch it on the big screen. I don't express my emotions directly always, so Siddhu may have felt that I didn't react during the narration. Siddhu is a terrific narrator. He along with Adivi Sesh, Naveen Polishetty are very promising actor-writers to watch out for.
On the vibe of the film:
DJ Tillu is a story that revolves around a modern-day woman and represents the sensibilities of this generation without being judgemental. Tillu is an innocent boy and the girl takes huge advantage of it. The fun element in the film is about the interesting equation they share. DJ Tillu isn't an adult comedy, the content is slightly on the bolder side though. Intimate scenes between the couple in the trailer are only a reflection of reality and not meant to sensationalise anything.
The evolution of the film and how it got bigger, better with time:
With the initial version of the script, we gave a free hand for the team to make the film. After watching the rushes, I and Trivikram sir suggested a few changes and reshot some scenes. For any film in our banner, we get Trivikram garu to listen to the script first but don't interfere with the director's vision during the making. Only when we feel that something is amiss in the rushes or think that it needs a few tweaks, do we approach him for suggestions.
We had to tweak the script to suit the demands of commercial film audiences. However different the concept, it's important to make it palatable to all viewers and make them invest in the story for a couple of hours. All these have ensured that DJ Tillu had a terrific output. The tone of both halves of the film will be different and as a producer, I'm fully satisfied. It has shaped up much better than I expected.
On the impact DJ Tillu will create:
The entire film will give you the same high you experienced after listening to the dialogues and watching the trailer of DJ Tillu. As a character, DJ Tillu has a lot of potential and we're intentionally leaving a few open ends and are ending the film at a point where we could build a sequel. We're quite confident of its success.
The music of DJ Tillu:
The credit behind extracting good music from Ram Miriyala also goes to Siddhu. With Pataas Pilla, we didn't want to go with a regular voice and given I'm good friends with composer Anirudh Ravichander, I convinced him to croon for it. Thaman's background score is a major bonus. What you've seen in the trailer is only the tip of the iceberg.
The business prospects of DJ Tillu, release timing:
The pre-release response has been terrific and several shows are housefull in Telugu states already. It's to the credit of Siddhu that, despite being a young actor, he could convince audiences to watch it in the theatres. We're set to open big. There's a lot of buzz about the film in the market. We didn't want to clash with Ravi Teja's mass film like Khiladi on its opening day and opted for a Saturday release. Moreover, the Valentines Day season will also work in our favour. If all goes well, Bheemla Nayak may release on February 25, so we wanted at least two weeks of gap between both films from our banner.