Actor-producer-educationalist-philanthropist Vishnu Manchu has written an open letter to all the movie buffs. In his letter, multi-faceted Vishnu talked about film-making, new developments, director Ram Gopal Varma and a lot more in detail.
To All Movie Lovers
July 22, 14
No Longer Risky Business
Why I support RGV film making style
Now before anyone starts thinking this is going to be a buttering accolade for Mr.RGV (I would like to call him Ramu Garu), you are mistaken. I am here to present my case which I have been trying to prove for a long time and now this man has shocked every one with his ‘Ice Cream’. If you are not a movie buff, I don’t think this article will interest you even one bit. So stop reading right now if movies are not your passion. This article is going to be in two parts. One is Ramu garu’s argument about production costs in movie making and the other about the technology.
I met Ramu garu when he was interested in making a movie with me about 10 months back. I never expected to meet someone so passionate about Film making than this man. If I had not met him at that point in my life, I would have slowly given up my passion for making movies and would have lost faith in our Movie Making system. I was not in the country when the whole controversy of him being boycotted by the media and then again the reconciliation. I just cam back from New York yesterday. I made no sense to me; the whole controversy but again, anything RGV says is a sensation.
Let me explain about his argument that why ‘Ice Cream’ is a success. Commercially. He already explained that he made this movie in less than 3 lakhs and he has broken even with the very first show. Kudos. Let me take the case of two movies which my company 24 Frames Factory has made this year. ‘Pandavulu Pandavulu Thummeda’ (PPT) and ‘Rowdy’. Let’s assume PPT was made in a budget of 12 Rs and Rowdy in 3 Rs ; After the release, the total business of PPT is 14 Rs. and Rowdy is 8 Rs. Now, as for the production values, both are same and looked rich in quality. I would like to make Ten Rowdy movies a year and maybe one PPT a year if given a choice and if a director is willing. As a producer, I am more happy with Rowdy than PPT because of the low risk stakes. Movie making is a risky business. Period. There is no two ways about it. Just because you spend money, the movie will not be a block buster. Perfect example is my epic movie ‘Saleem’ which was the most expensive movie made in 2009 and the result everyone knows. And another example is ‘Dhenikaina Ready’; which was made on a normal budget and was one of the highest grossers of 2012.
‘Low budget’ movies and ‘No budget’ movies are not New in Hollywood. Lot of films are highly successful in Hollywood. ‘Blair Witch Project’ to the recent ‘Paranormal Activity’, they have been huge money spinners. I would term them No Budget movies. They went to collect hundred of millions of Dollars. Recently a Kannada Horror film which Ramu Garu and I saw ‘2+2=6’ was made on a budget less than 14 lakhs and it has collected close to 6 crores in Karnataka. It was made by a new comer and all new actors. Now, why did it work? Not because of the technology but because of the content. Boss, Content is King. No one can and should deny that. Even Telugu movies in the early 2000â€™s had a huge success ratio in the low budget movies but all but New Directors and New actors. . Now, when a huge director like RGV makes a ‘no budget film’, we have to appreciate the guts this man had to narrate a story without spending anything but still managed to show it with proper commercial values. If I give a new director one crore budget to do the same thing, he will not have given the same output. Who are the film makers do we know 50 years ago? and How many film makers of this generation will the movie lovers 50 years from now will know? Not people who give block busters alone but people whose films set you thinking or movies which have set a trend will be remembered and respected. Youare welcome to rip apart Ramu garu for poor content in his movies, I will join you; because i will not expect something less than an extraordinary movie from the director who made ‘Shiva’,’Rangeela’, ‘Satya’, ‘Company’, ‘Sarkar’ etc.
‘Ice Cream’ is any eye opener to all the budding directors and Producers mainly that movies can be made in hardly any budget. RGV broke the conventional barriers and has showed the way to many that if you have passion for movie making, there is a way now.
I never understood many Director of Photographers (DOP’s) or Cameramen of the recent past. My Father was lucky to have worked with geniuses. Today, They just want to use up all the available light and make everything look unnatural. I would understand if you need to light up everything if you are a conceptual director like Mr. Sanjay Leela Bansali or you are like Mr.Rajamouli making ‘Bahubali’. But why do we need so many lights and equipment for movie like ‘PPT’ or ‘Doosukeltha’ I don’t know. With out using half of the equipment in ‘PPT’; ‘Rowdy’ quality of film Making is far superior.
Many in our bunch of cameramen are afraid to experiment. And I hate people who are afraid to experiment. I bought RED camera in 2008 November as soon as it released in USA. I had asked the cameraman of ‘Saleem’ to use it for the movie. He refused saying that digital movie making is not good, its just a short term fad etc etc. I understood he was plain scared. After ‘Saleem’ my next movie was ‘Vasthadu Naa Raju’ (VNR) for which asked many cameramen to shoot with it. Many refused. No one supported me in shooting digital expect my Father who believed in me. As the shooting date was coming closer, I contacted my friends in Hollywood and flew in a Cameraman to shoot the movie. When the shoot started, one of the veteran Cameraman of our industry Mr.S.Gopal Reddy (He is incidentally the cameraman of ‘Shiva’) heard what i was doing and he called me and asked me why I didn’t approach him and He took over as the cameraman. Kudos to him for taking a brave lead into digital film making. At that time I had many people come to the shoot and watch how it was being shot. Once VNR released many from the Film Industry watched it for the technology rather the their love for my films :). Today in India 99% of the movies are made in digital.
I had shown a demo of a new rig a few months back to RGV asking him what he thinks of it as I wanted to get it. He was very impressed with it. He used it to make ‘Ice Cream’. It is called ‘MoVI M10’ by FreeFlySystem. He made it with a 5D and Black magic pocket camera and a Gopro. Anyone can buy these cameras off the shelf in any store. See, the amazing thing is that he didn’t use lights. Yet, the quality of the film is crystal clear. This is what we should understand. Some might think the content of ‘Ice Cream’ is screwed up. Forget that. But for many aspiring film makers or avid movie buffs, it is a revelation that movie can be made in such a cost. With the arrival of gimbal MoVI rig, lot of steadicam rigs, track and trolleys will become extinct. Everyone can make high quality shots with zero budgets. RGV revolutionized movie making styles with ‘Shiva’ and two decades later he has revolutionized how movies can be made. And the endorsement of Mr.Rajamouli, one of the most successful directors of Indian Cinema, to this method of film making is good enough.
Before signing off, I would say that, we all have to learn from Ramu garu, is the passion he has towards cinema and how he keeps reinventing himself and not being satisfied resting on his laurels. Also we all should remember technique will not make a blockbuster movie. Good Content and very good Story telling and proper budget will make a blockbuster. Without keeping mind the budget, no one can make a blockbuster.
I do get frustrated with Ramu garu many times because he refuses to make commercial “masala” films. I would have probably made him hear 20 scripts which he liked, but refused to do it because he believes he cannot make them as it is not his domain. Most of the film directors today have or are still copying his movie making style. We are doing a movie together now, I hope all of you will like it because of the content and not technology.
P.S: For more info on unconventional movie making, look up Robert Rodriguez (Despera-do), Quentin Tarantino (Kill Bill). Get inspired and make some great movies.