Leading film producer TG Vishwa Prasad is making new strides in the Telugu movie-making landscape. Handling commercial films with diverse storylines is his forte. Starting with Goodachari, his homegrown film banner People Media Factory has achieved a reasonably good success rate with a bunch of feel-good movies as well as commercial potboilers. The biggest among them was 'Karthikeya 2' and 'Dhamaka' which entered the league of Rs 100-crore club.
In a media interaction on Tuesday, TG Vishwa Prasad divulged his interests, set goals, and the reason behind putting a hefty price for theatrical rights of 'Adipurush' in Telugu States and more.
*You bagged the theatrical rights of 'Adipurush' in Telugu States. While you are already set to produce a film with Prabhas, what's the reason behind purchasing a film which was made by other makers?*
Well, it's simple, it's a business strategy. Adipurush's teaser is so visually gripping that we felt that it would certainly become big at the box office. Adipurush made all the buzz that it required in the public. As you all know and it's already in the market that I've purchased Prabhas' film for a fancy prince.
*Have you purchased Adipurush's rights based on its merits or did you just go with the wave of Prabhas' popularity?*
Basically, T Series is bankrolling the Prabhas film at a pan-India level. So for every language, there will be a different producer who buys the film and releases it in his respective region. In the same manner, I have purchased Adipurush's rights in the Telugu States. Even in future, we have a sort of understanding with the T-Series that we may purchase their upcoming films and release them in the Telugu States.And Sandeep Reddy's directorial 'Spirit' too will be released in Telugu. The association with star Prabhas is always primary. And coming to his movie Adipurush, it has a good buzz in the market. At the same time, Spirit too has equally garnered good buzz. We made the moves only after thoroughly understanding the market dynamics.
*In the recent event held at Tirupati, Prabhas mentioned that he forged a family bonding with you. How did you feel listening to him?*
Definitely, one has to build a good relationship with everyone in the movie industry. And we're lucky to have a close association with Prabhas. The decision to purchase the film Adipurush was my idea. It didn't come from Prabhas initially. After a few consultations with him, I felt it was a good bet to go and purchase the rights, thus we eventually closed the deal.
*How satisfactory is your journey so far in Tollywood? How do you take successes and defeats?*
I've spoken about this previously. We had started the film production business as a factory model. Luckily, we have achieved a good success rate. But reaping fruits in the entertainment industry is a long journey to tread for anyone. We're prepared to take both success and failures in the same breath. Success shouldn't make you laidback at the same time failure shouldn't let you down, you need to learn from the mistakes and move on.
*What's the success mantra for the films that came from your banner?*
Fundamentally, in any business model, you need to set a few goals. We need to set the right expectations. Disappointment would come if you set deep expectations. The first process is called discovery. A lot of time we spend on discovering things and doing the right research. Luckily, there is no situation arose where we felt disappointed. Definitely, you feel bad when something goes wrong. When you feel it is a learning curve, it certainly turns into a positive thing.
*Last time when you spoke in an interview, you said that your aim was to make 100 films as quickly as possible. Do you think one might falter while going at this pace of reaching the goal? How do you set things right when creative aspects take a backseat?*
Faster 100 films is a goal which was set recently. We will soon announce our 25th movie Bro. It took almost five-plus years for us to make 25 movies since our inception. Sometime by next year, we might reach the landmark of finishing 50 movies. Of 50 films, 25 movies have already been completed. Four to five films have been completed. Some 15 scripts are ready to go on floors. We're confident that very soon we will get another eight to 10 films to reach our fastest 50 milestone.
*As a film producer, how do you manage a film project when you run out of time and at the same time it shouldn't affect the creative process of the film?*
As you go on producing a number of movies in the movie industry, you will be knowing that the creative aspects of the film are not a challenge. The only confrontation that you face is releasing your films in theatres. Just one or two films in a month. You can't release too many. While you do big-budget films, you need to maintain some gaps. We might expect some challenges in releasing the films in theatres but never in producing feel-good films. Creativity is taken care of by team members. So we have learnt a lot in the last two years as a person and as a team.
*The success rate keeps varying when you single-handedly produce a movie and when you collaborate with other banners. Isn't that so?*
Yes, it differs, but there is no relation between failures and collaboration. We collaborated majorly with three companies. The first one was with Blue Planet. Kalyan Ram's MLA was a moderate hit in theatres and 'Silly Fellows' was a commercial failure. Later, we joined hands with Suresh Productions for 'Venky Mama' and 'Oh! Baby'. Both were commercially good hits. And later we collaborated with Abhishek Agarwal. The large chunk of investment say 98 percent was ours. Keeping the luck factor aside, collaborations have zero impact on success and failure.
*There is a clear spike in Telugu cinema's market value. Do you think more and more films keep coming because of the non-theatrical business? Do you agree with the popular norm that a film has more chances to get picked on OTT if it was produced under an established film production company?*
Yes, that's the reason why I said I could reach the landmark of faster 100 films within no time. If I go by the standard theatrical release, I can't even make 20 films in one year. I can firmly tell you that keeping the films that are meant for OTT space, more and more scripts are being pitched, thus going on floors.
*Heroes' remuneration came into the picture recently. Some actors quote the pay based on their non-theatrical films. How is it viable for a film producer like you?*
More than leverage, availability is the key. Take any producer - there is no situation in the industry where a producer can say no to a project because a hero is demanding more remuneration. The projects I have taken up because I know that they are commercially viable.
*Adipurush openings have started across the country but not in Telugu States, why the delay happened? What's the permission you sought from the State governments as far as ticket fares are concerned?*
Because of the ticket prices, the openings in Telugu have been delayed. The openings will start on Wednesday in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. We got permission to hike the ticket for another Rs 50 for single screens in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. We're still thinking about whether to go with the hike of Rs 50 or Rs 25, mostly we may consider a Rs 25 hike. No change in the multiplexes. We're waiting for the government's GO.
*Several publicity stunts are being made as far as Adipurush is concerned. We've seen that a seat is allotted to Lord Hanuman. Heroes purchase tickets and distribute them to fans. Is this part of publicity?*
The seat allotted to Lord Hanuman - is based on faith and the story that's got inspired by Ramayana. But other instances like heroes purchasing tickets and distributing them to fans can be seen as a voluntary move.
Ahead of the Adipurush's release in the USA, an event is being arranged in Seattle. "I am leaving for the US tomorrow to oversee the arrangements. There are no paid premiers planned this time. The mood of the public and the response will be conveyed to me by my team. So I need not worry about it," Vishwa Prasad said confidently.
Under People Media Factory, producer Vishwa Prasad set a goal to make a pan-world film soon. "In another two to three years, I would probably go and produce Hollywood films. That's our aim."
Upon questioning about giving preference to fresh blood of filmmakers, "Presently, we're working with new directors, new in the sense, they may not be new to the industry, but new to direction. Eight to nine people are in the pipeline ready with their scripts," he added.