'Rama Banam' is up for release in theatres on May 5. Gopichand, describing it as a complete family entertainer, says that director Sriwass' idea to make an actioner was brushed aside by him. He preferred a family-friendly film. The actor-director duo latched on to an idea pitched by story-writer Bhupathi Raju.
"At the end of the day, it is the story that is the hero," Gopichand iterates, saying that brotherly sentiment is an absorbing hook of 'Rama Banam'.
Sibling sentiment has been a constant. We were emotionally attached to our family members 1,000 years ago. We are the same to this day. The audience member has to be emotionally involved in the content of a film. Time-tested formulas never go out of fashion. The audience's tastes haven't undergone a change. If some family dramas have flopped, it is because the treatment in those films was not involving. 'Rama Banam' attempts to be a different film.
The family audience usually flock to theatres only if the talk is positive. That's why family entertainers tend to have a slow start at the box office.
It's the pre-release material that forms the basis for a viewing decision to be made by the audience. Glimpse videos, the teaser, and the trailer do the job. If they are good, the audience will not wait for an OTT release.
With Jagapathi Babu (Gopichand's onscreen brother in the film), it doesn't feel like I am acting with an artist. He is like a brother. He is a very intense actor. Had he done a diverse range of movies, he would have gone places!
In the film, my and Jagapathi's characters chart different paths. There is an ideological difference between them. It's not easy to convey a message through a commercial film. 'Rama Banam' achieves that with ease. While the message is not out of the blue, it is thought-provoking and prods us to wake up before it is too late.
'Rama Banam' has nothing to do with 'Lakshyam'. It was Nandamuri Balakrishna garu who suggested the title 'Rama Banam' when we told him the flavour of the title we expected. 'Loukyam' was an entertainer. Don't expect that sort of entertainment from 'Rama Banam'.
Khushbu Sundaru garu is a jovial person. It was a blast working with her. Her performance triggered natural reactions from me in front of the camera.
'Seetimaarr' was not a super-duper hit. But it was commercially okayish. It could have done better, though. Given the circumstances, it did fairly well. I am not viewed as someone who does crappy films. If a film fails, it is not just the lead man who gets affected. Many others, especially stakeholders, get terribly impacted. I am conscious of it when I make choices.
'Okkadunnaddu' (the 2007 Chandrasekhar Yeleti directorial) would work even today if the backdrop is not Mumbai but some more engaging backdrop and the father-son emotion is changed to the lover emotion. People would watch a 'Sahasam' 2' today.
I have done more than a dozen movies with first-time directors in my career. I am open to working with creative debutants. I always listen to stories from untested talents.
Sreenu Vaitla garu is yet to write a script for me. Talks are on. People ask me if I am ready to play a negative role. I am totally up for it. It's the negative roles I played early on that gave a fillip to my career.
While I want to do a revolutionary movie that matches my father's style, nothing has progressed on that front. A nascent idea is in the ideation stage. I will also revive Ee Tharam cinema banner. I will do a film if something exciting comes up.