Chandoo Mondeti's forthcoming Telugu romantic-drama Premam recovered its investment on the day it was launched. The director says working on the project made him a responsible filmmaker and helped him understand the commerce of cinema.
"On the day the film was launched, a few distributors had come forward to buy the film. We recovered our investment on that day. These things helped me understand the commerce of cinema," Chandoo said.
Premam, eponymous remake of the Malayalam blockbuster, is slated for release on Friday.
Asked whether he was under tremendous pressure while working on the remake of a celebrated film, he said:"Honestly, there was absolutely no pressure, thanks to the faith my producer and Chaitu (Naga Chaitanya) had in me. I feel this project made me a responsible filmmaker."
Starring Naga Chaitanya, Shruti Haasan, Anupama Parameswaran and Madonna Sebastian, the film is produced by S Naga Vamsi.
Recalling how the project materialised, Chandoo said,"Chaitu and I were supposed to team up for a thriller. It was around the same time I watched Premam and I fell in love with the film. I shared my excitement with Chaitu and within a week's time, he was flooded with offers to star in the film's remake."
Before they knew it, the remake was green-lit with Naga Chaitanya and Shruti Haasan in the lead.
While Chaitanya reprises Nivin Pauly's role from the original, Shruti will be seen in the role of a teacher, originally played by Sai Pallavi.
Shruti's inclusion in the project, especially in the role of Sai Pallavi, drew a lot of flak. A large section of the audience felt she wouldn't be able to do justice to the role.
Chandoo thinks otherwise.
"When you watch the film, you will understand why we cast her. She has amazing screen presence. Out of the three heroines we were certain we needed a star heroine (Shruti Haasan) to draw the crowds" he said, admitting Shruti, who is very popular among Telugu audiences, was roped in for"commercial reasons," he said.
"People need to understand that the original Premam was made with zero expectations, and on a tight budget. Given their budget, they could take the risk and it paid off. We were making the film with a star and people had come forward to bet big," he explained.
Premam, from the day it was launched, was under constant scrutiny. Most people felt the film would not live up to the expectations of the original.
"Comparisons were bound to be there. We knew we might not be able to satisfy 10-15 percent of the audience who might have already watched the original. However, we were confident the film would appeal to the remaining section of the audience," he said.
After the film's first song Evare was released, the internet was inundated with nasty memes and trollers didn't spare Shruti Haasan.
"The trolls got us really worried. I wondered if such diverse reactions will affect the film's opening and I called up my producer to discuss the same. To our surprise, it was after the release of the song, exhibitors started buying the film from the distributors. Everybody within the industry loved the song," he said.
Chandoo, who thoroughly enjoyed working with Naga Chaitanya, says he would love to collaborate with him again.