I belongs to Kovvur (near Rajahmundry). I was born in Rayachur (Karnataka) and I belong to a farming family. I studied in Kovvur till 4th class and then shifted to Eluru. I studied till 1st year of Intermediate over there and took break for two years. Then I finished 2nd year of intermediate in Kovvur and then I decided to put a stop to my formal education.
I am a film freak since I was a kid. I got addicted to watching films. I never planned or dreamt of becoming a film director. Since I dropped out from education and my family is into films (father Vijayendra Prasad is story writer and cousin Keeravani is a music director), I decided to enter film industry. I started my career as an assistant to the editor Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao (he is the editor for all my films). Then I worked at AVM recording theater for few days. Then I assisted my father Vijayendra Prasad for six years.
I used to give narration to film directors on behalf of my father. When I see the output after the film's release, I used to feel bad that none of those films were shaped up the way I imagined. That is when I decided that I could become a director and deliver the output the way I imagined. I also realized that there is no individuality for me if I work as an assistant to my father.
Long back, my father directed a film called Ardhangi, which went on to become a disaster. We went into debt trap as we were also involved in the production of that film. It took years for us to pick up and put the pieces together.
I packed my stuff and moved to Hyderabad from Chennai. At that time, Gangaraju was planning to direct his second film (which eventually never took off) after Little Soldiers. It was with Gangaraju I learnt about the practical aspect of filmmaking. I also realized that nobody helps anybody here and we gotta work hard to survive and succeed.
During that time, K Raghavendra Rao was appointed as the Electronic Media Adviser to the State Government. Myself and Chandu (Chandra Sekhar Yeleti of Aithe and AOR) approached Raghavendra Rao with concepts for TV spots. We were given TV ad spots to direct certain social message oriented commercials. I made my first earning through that. It was the most memorable moment of my life. Later on I did ads for Telugu Desam Party too.
Later on, I directed Santhi Nivasam TV Serial which was produced by K Raghavendra Rao. I worked like a maniac for one and half years. That period is the most arduous period in my life as I used to work for 17 hours a day. During that period I hardly watched 10 films. Even K Raghavendra Rao used to call me 'Rakshasudu' for the kind of rigorous work I put in. Inspite of all my hard work, K Raghavendra Rao used to give 5th priority to me among his protégés. Vara (director of Naa Alludu) was given first preference for all K Raghavendra Rao's works though I worked harder than all others.
Myself and Vara were selected to direct Student No.1 jointly. At that time Vara was directing two prime TV serials. And the producer thought that there could be confusion in direction if two guys direct it. Hence, Vara dropped out and I was confirmed. That is how Student No.1 happened. There are 1000's of director wannabes who tap the doors of production houses everyday for a chance. I had every good thing happen to me just like that without even asking for it. I worked on Student No.1 right from the script level and delivered it.After Student No.1 success, I was supposed to direct fantasy flick with Surya Prakash (son of K Raghavendra Rao) as hero. But his first film Neetho was a flop and budget for fantasy film is quite high. That is when they decided that it was economically not feasible and the project was shelved.
Though Student No.1 was a hit, the people in business circle attributed the majority part of the success to darsakatva paryavekshana of K Raghavendra Rao. I did not realize it as all the people who met me said that I did well as director. VMC banner was making a film with NTR. Initially they shot some part of the film titled 'Kurrodu' and shelved it. Then they roped in Uday Shankar and shelved that one too. That is when I narrated Simhadri subject to NTR and he immediately accepted it. Actually that subject was supposed to be made in the combination of B Gopal and Bala Krishna. It was dropped in the last minute. Simhadri became a huge success. With the success of Simhadri, people started attributing the credit for the success of Student No.1 to me. It was like tasting two successes with one film.
I got plenty of offers after the success of Simhadri. But I deliberately made a decision not to make an emotionally charged mass film like Simhadri immediately. I don't want to get branded as mass director. I am the kind of guy who enjoys different genre films like Gharana Mogudu, God Father and Annamayya with the same fervor. Hence I did Sye, which is radically different compared to Simhadri.
What are your favorite Hollywood films?
I like 100's of Hollywood flicks. My most favorite film is 'Brave Heart'. My top five favorite films are - Brave Heart, The Last of the
Mohicans, Good Bad and Ugly, Terminator 2 and Indiana Jones series. I like action/adventure genre films the most.
Why do show so much of violence in your films?
I personally like violence. I feel that violence in a film is right if we substantiate the anger that causes the violence. Let me give you an example. If you are riding a bike and a car crosses you in a dangerous manner. When you ask that driver, he trashes your question in ridiculous manner. Then you get angry and want to kick that driver. In a similar way, if violence comes out of that kind of anger in films, it is very much justified.