'Vaarasudu' was released in Telugu on January 14. Its director, Vamshi Paidipally, says that the film is poised to become Thalapathy Vijay's biggest hit in the Telugu States, exceeding 'Master' soon.
In this interview, he talks about making the family entertainer, his experience of teaming up with Vijay, what he likes about Dil Raju, his vision as a director, and more.
'Vaarasudu' is titled 'Varisu' in Tamil.
I must say I have been through the biggest roller-coaster of my life. I am glad it has been great. My Tamil debut has become a big hit. In Telugu, the film is going to beat the collections of 'Master' in no time. To be honest, we didn't have enough time to do publicity in Telugu. We had to rush with the release for Sankranthi. Even in Tamil, we could do just one event.
Dil Raju garu is so happy about the result. As far as I am concerned, I have to gauge the audience's feedback only by looking at his reaction to the BO result. He is someone who wants to earn respect. More than money, it is respect that gives him kick.
Films like 'Baahubali', 'RRR', 'Pushpa' and 'KGF' proved that sensibilities might differ across languages but the emotions remain universal. 'Oopiri' was made in Tamil as well; every shot was filmed separately in Telugu and Tamil. On the other hand, 'Varisu' was shot only in Tamil and dubbed into Telugu. The experience of 'Oopiri' helped me a great deal.
Vijay sir is a huge star all over the country. I know his strengths and tailored the film to bring back his vintage image to the big screen. His films were remade in Telugu as 'Nuvvu Vasthavani' and 'Subhakankshalu' in the '90s. Later, he acquired a mass star image. I have mixed both his old and later-day images in making 'Vaarasudu'. The package is complete with songs and dances and fights.
Every day, I have been receiving calls from people saying that they are touched by the father-son sentiment in the film. My father, too, was greatly touched. He was overwhelmed and got emotional. He hugged me instinctively after the show.
You should be proud that a Telugu filmmaker went to Chennai and worked with the biggest star there. Films know no boundaries these days. Nothing was planned. When Dil Raju garu told me if we could pitch the storyline to Vijay sir, I was almost shocked.
Vijay sir doesn't take anything for granted. He does his homework for a week. He asks for the script a week before the scene would be shot.
The release date was entirely the producer's prerogative. It was his call. The Telugu audience are happy to watch Vijay sir's movie after having watched the movies of Chiranjeevi garu and Balakrishna garu. Dil Raju garu was utterly confident that 'Varisu' will get hit talk on January 11.
The word of mouth for 'Vaarasudu' is superb. Youngsters are recommending the film to their family members, including grandparents. Even in Hindi, our movie is growing day by day. In Tamil, our film is enjoying a repeat audience. It is going to set a benchmark.
There are no complaints about the length (170 minutes), especially in Tamil. Some scenes had to be chopped off. We had to make sacrifices. Length is irrelevant. A one-hour film might bore you if it is not engaging. Even a 3-hour film might not bore you if told in an interesting manner.
Thaman is the soul of 'Vaarasudu'. For a film like this, the BGM and songs have to be awesome. The Tamil audience are loving his work totally. The mother song, 'Ranjithame', and 'Thee Thalapathy' have worked big-time. Since the genre is family entertainer, I could offer variety in terms of conceptions.
Vivek is a well-known Tamil writer. He is also writing dialogues for RC15. He is a big fan of Vijay sir and knows the audience's pulse. His dialogues have helped a great deal.
Had the hero been someone else other than Vijay sir, many scenes would have been different. When I pitched 'Maharshi' to Mahesh Babu garu, I only narrated the essence. Once he gave the nod, I tailor-made the scenes to his image. The same happened in the case of 'Varisu'.
I was supposed to do a film with Mahesh Babu garu in 2020. For some reason, we couldn't go ahead. 'Varisu' was not pitched to him.
Mother and father are a constant factor in all my films. In 'Maharshi', the father was not money-minded. In 'Varisu', the father wants his sons to be in a competitive race. You can deny your siblings, but you can't run away from your parents. That's what I believe in and my films convey the same in different ways.
I and Vijay sir mutually admire each other. Even before 'Varisu' was released in theatres, he showed interest to work with me again. I began my career as a software engineer. Today, I made a super hit with the biggest star in a neighbouring State. I don't know how all this happened! People call me a taskmaster and all. I believe hard work is the only thing in my hands. We are as good as our last innings. You have to prove yourself every time. So, I will take up my next film as another challenge.
'Maharshi' winning a National Award didn't change me much. 'Oopiri' changed me the most in my career. Nobody had expected me to do such a film. The response was overwhelming. I believed that I had to change my path after its success. That's how 'Maharshi' happened. I have to really thank Mahesh garu for doing such a film with me. It had no template-driven action/screenplay. It was all about a character's journey and its realization. It had no intro fight and all. Human life is about self-realization. 'Maharshi' was about a character evolving into a hero. His father (Prakash Raj) wanted emotional attainment in life. His son goes through a similar trajectory in the course of the film. If the film went on to bag a National Award, that's what clicked for it. With 'Varisu', too, Vijay sir never wanted me to follow general rules. He let the script follow its organic course. These are the kind of films I am chasing these days.
I have grown up watching commercial films. I am here to do such films with big stars. I don't know what is going to happen next in my career. I am in talks for a project, whose details I will divulge later. It is surely going to be a nice one.
Every story chooses its path, its lead man. 'Munna' searched for Prabhas, 'Brindavanam' sought Tarak. And so on and so forth. I believe in making big-canvas movies that in turn need big stars. Every character in my movie has a justified reason to exist.
It's not like I don't want to try underdog stories. 'Oopiri' was about a slumdog and a millionaire coming together. I definitely want to try such films.