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During our telephonic conversation on that evening,
I explained K.S.Rama Rao,the Chairman of the Telugu Film Producers Council those days,in detail about everything that I had done to reach and impress the King Khan Sharukh Khan..I had also told him about how positive Sharukh was to my proposal..
Finally,I told Rama Rao how Suresh Babu on his own came forward to purchase the Hindi film rights of Chandra Mukhi and how he later left for Colombo without even informing me..After carefully listening to everything that I have said,Rama Rao said,
“That’s okay Aditya..Such things do happen in film industry..Forget about Suresh Babu..Let us plan how to take things forward,hereafter..You have a good proposal on hand so why to worry about the producer.. If that’s okay with you we shall meet at 8 in the morning tomorrow,at my residence,and discuss in detail” ..
I said,”okay” and he disconnected the call..The next morning,at exactly 8 am,I was in the meeting room of Rama Rao’s residence in Jubilee Hills,Hyderabad..He entered the room after about fifteen minutes of my waiting..
After the initial formalities of greeting each other were over,the first thing he asked me was,”Aditya,you know me through Guru earlier too,then why is that you have not offered me this proposal first and why is that you have approached Suresh Babu instead..??..Please don’t mind..Just curious to know..”
I said,”No sir,I haven’t approached anyone..Suresh Babu,knows about my meeting with Sharukh and on that same night he called me and said “Aditya,don’t commit to anyone..We shall do the film”..How can I say no to someone of Suresh Babu’s stature when he calls me on his own and says so..”
Convinced with my answer,Rama Rao said,”Right..Right..How can anyone in your place say no to a man of Suresh Babu’s stature in the film industry..I fully understand your position..Now let us come to our point..”..
Later,we discussed in detail about the Hindi Chandramukhi proposal and in the end I firmly told Rama Rao”Honestly sir..Am looking for a producer with whom I,as a director,would feel comfortable working.. The idea of remaking Chandramukhi in Hindi is entirely mine,after which I have sent an sms to Sharukh to which he positively responded..
My only condition to any producer would be that,I will be directing this film in Hindi and the producer should give me a free hand to deal with the subject and the shooting of the film the way I want to..If that is okay with you we shall move forward and I shall call Chennai and tell Appachchan that you will be the producer of my Hindi Chandramukhi..”
With a broad smile Rama Rao hurriedly said,”Of course Aditya..Even I want to work with young and new directors who can deliver something really new and do not have any air around them..I have many bitter experiences working with many senior directors..After my recent bad experience with Raja Mouli,I have decided never to work with established directors..”
There was nothing for me to suspect in the words of that fatherly figure,Rama Rao,so I finally said,”Okay sir..You are a senior producer and I have great respect for you..It would certainly be an honor for me to direct my first film under an established banner like Creative Commercials to watch whose films I stood in long lines during my college days..Am like your son,sir,and am sure you will be taking good care of me ..”
“Certainly Aditya..You are like my son..Just give me two days time..I will make arrangements for money and call you..We shall then go to Chennai and sign the agreement with Appachchan..”,Rama Rao assured me..I trusted..And there our meeting concluded..
After that assurance from K.S.Rama Rao
I felt immensely happy and immediately called Sridhar in Chennai and told him,
“Sridhar garu..Finally,here is the most important update from me..You must be knowing K.S.Rama Rao of Creative Commercials..He will be my producer for the Hindi Chandramukhi movie..You may now give confirmation to your boss Appachchan about this..We both shall come to Chennai on an auspicious day next week; pay you money and sign the agreement..”
Sridhar too felt immensely happy not because the rights of his film are being sold but because something good is happening to his friend Aditya,whom he hadn’t even seen anytime in his life,before..PERIOD
Finally,at about 9 pm on 3rd August,2005,K.S.Rama Rao called me and said,”Aditya,am now ready to go ahead with your proposal..We shall go to Chennai the day after tomorrow and first pay fifty lakhs and sign the agreement..After about a week I shall pay the balance money..Talk to Appachchan immediately and inform me if this is okay with him..I will be waiting for your call..”
I quickly called Sridhar and informed him the same..He in turn contacted his boss and called me back in about five minutes and said,”,Aditya garu..My boss said okay to your proposal..You are most welcome to Chennai the day after tomorrow for signing the agreement..We shall meet at around 5.30 in the evening in our office that day..”
I have then immediately called Rama Rao and informed him the same..He said,”Fine Aditya..I shall take a Demand Draft for fifty lakhs tomorrow..I will book tickets for both of us in the afternoon flight for day after tomorrow..”..
I said “fine sir” and he disconnected the call..Well…Do I need to write about how I celebrated that night with my family..???
Finally and finally indeed
After spending many sleepless nights and after going through many traumatic moments,for three weeks, to acquire the Hindi remake rights of Chandramukhi from the Malayalam film producer Appachchan,I have finally landed in Chennai airport,along with K.S.Rama Rao, at about 4.30 pm on the 5th of August, 2005 to sign the agreement with Appachchan..
From the airport,both myself and K.S. Rama Rao headed straight to Appachchan’s Swarga Chitra office in Chennai..I was very happy meeting a simple looking bespectacled Sridhar,who without even knowing who am did the biggest favor of my life to me..I hugged him the moment I saw him..
For a few minutes,he explained his boss in their native Malayalam language how we both interacted with each other constantly about the rights of the film..After a little more of casual discussion,we finally sat on business…
After a little more discussion,it has been decided by all the four of us that Appachchan would transfer the rights of his Malayalam film,”Manichitrathazhu” to K.S.Rama Rao’s Creative Commercials to remake it in Hindi language on a total payment of rupees sixty nine lakhs and fifty thousands..
It has also been decided by everyone there that I would be directing that film in Hindi..Later,K.S.Rama Rao and Appachchan signed the agreement and I had also signed on the documents as the witness to the agreement..
After that,we exchanged a few pleasantries and while we were leaving his office,Sridhar handed over the DVD of Chandramukhi to me to be sent to Sharukh in Mumbai..Earlier,a week ago,I told Sridhar about Sharukh’s request for the DVD..
Immediately,after coming out of Swarga Chitra’s office,I have called Ghantasala Ratnakumar first,Hyder next and Mahesh Mistry in the last and informed them all about the great news of our signing of the agreement with Appachchan..They were immeasurably happy..
On that night,a fully happy K.S.Rama Rao,hosted a special dinner for me in Chennai’s one of the costliest restaurants..He invited a small time artiste by name,Bharath,to the dinner that night..Bharath acted as a hero in two Telugu movies,Tapassu and Boy Friend..The later was produced by Rama Rao himself which had Pooja Bhat in it as heroine..
Rama Rao told Bharath about the reason behind our sudden visit to Chennai and then introduced me to him as the director of Hindi Chandramukhi..I could clearly notice a great jealousy in the eyes of Bharath while he was shaking…
Of course,that was a beginning and after that I have come across many eyes,filled with jealousy,looking at me..
Before going to bed on that night in Chennai,
K.S.Rama Rao dropped the first bombshell of his wicked thoughts on my head to which I still regret not saying a strict “no”..But I didn’t and thus that became the first step I have put in the downward direction that finally led to my complete collapse..This was how Rama Rao began the conversation..
“Aditya..A big thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity..It has been a longtime since I made a film in Hindi and in fact after Criminal I haven’t made any..Even in that film,am cheated very badly by a criminal called Mukesh Bhat…
Now,through you I got one more opportunity to prove myself to my detractors both in Telugu and Hindi film industry..At a time when no big hero or director is coming forward to work with me,you offered me such a wonderful project..In the last so many films that I have made,I have lost crores of rupees..
I don’t have any big money left with me now,however,I can clear the pending money to Appachchan and pay you for your advances,Mumabi travel and hotel expenses..I will certainly take good care of you and I shall offer fifty lakhs as remuneration to you for this film..
Additionally,I shall also pay you one lakh every month for your monthly family expenses as long as you are working on this film until it’s completion..But I have a request Aditya..
I can somehow manage all the initial expenditure but I don’t have money for the production of the whole film..You must bring in some major corporate house now for the joint production of this film..Otherwise it would be very difficult for me to move forward..”
To say the least,I was shocked..The man lying down on the other bed in my posh hotel room was telling me something that he should have told much in advance before leaving for Chennai or much before even coming forward to buy the rights of the film..
But what can the poor I do if someone so big suddenly lands me in such a precarious situation..However, I quickly composed myself and told him,”Ok sir..That should not be a problem with the amount of strong contacts I have in Mumbai..”
Slowly designing the marketing strategy in my mind,what I thought at that moment was “getting a joint producer for such a hot project should not be a problem..The only thing I should now do is to make it all the more hotter in the Bollywood market..Then corporate houses will come running..”
Unfortunately,what I couldn’t think and foresee that moment was,”if I fail to bring someone as a joint producer,then Rama Rao will be having a strong reason against me to sell the rights of the film to some other producer,at a premier rate,and make huge profits without even shooting a frame in the film..”..
As I was so thinking,Rama Rao dropped the next bombshell on my head..He said,”Aditya..There’s one most important thing I want to tell you..Sharukh Khan is a star and there’s no doubt about it..He may do our film but may take a long time to give us his decision..
Instead of waiting for him,why don’t you approach Amitabh Bachchan..I heard through my sources in Chennai that he too is interested in playing Rajanikanth’s role in Hindi and I too have a dream of making a film with him in my life,before I die..
I don’t think,Aditya,I will be getting a better opportunity than this to do a film with such a legend..You are young and will be getting many better opportunities in future to direct Sharukh Khan but I may not get a chance again to work with Amitabh..Please understand and try to reach him at the earliest..”..Rama Rao was literally begging me..
I should have said “no not possible” but couldn’t say that in view of his age and in view of the respect I have for him..Silently nodding my head,I said,”Okay sir..Will try my best..”..That senseless decision of mine,that moment,had costed me my fortune,my career and my everything.later..
After spending one more day in Chennai in meeting some of Rama Rao’s friends and after attracting a few more eyes of jealousy,I have landed in Hyderabad on Sunday the 7th of August,2005..The first thing I did after reaching home was to courier the DVD to Sharukh..
The next morning,
Both Rama Rao and myself met again in his house and chalked out the future plan of action..At the time of leaving his house,he gave me a check for two lakh rupees as token advance and also gave me cash for expenses in Mumbai..
Two days after that,I landed in Mumbai carrying with me many dreams and aspirations about my future there in Bollywood..Myself,Hyder and Mahesh Mistry met in Best Western Emerald hotel in Juhu,where I stayed..
I have told them about an amazing marketing strategy that I had in mind regarding the marketing of our film..Both of them have immensely liked it and had also unequivocally approved it..
However,I wasn’t aware that moment,that my new strategy would be creating an altogether new trend in Bollywood thereafter in acquiring the Hindi remake rights of South Indian films..I explained my friends in detail about my strategy..
As per my strategy,
I would be first releasing news to the Bollywood media and tell all the readers about how Chandramukhi was breaking the collection records and creating a new record not only in the South Indian film industry but also in the Indian film industry..
However,my agenda was to reach not the readers but the corporate film production houses in Mumbai and in turn lure them to me to come forward for a joint production with K.S.Rama Rao..That’s not all..
With that strategy,my idea was also to target Sharukh Khan and Amitabh as well and make them realize how big a film Chandramukhi is..My idea was to push Sharukh to act faster by making him realize that he was offered a sensational film by Narrenaditya..
At the same time,I also wanted the legendary Amitabh Bachchan too to realize that it would a tempting offer to him just in case I approach him later in future for the role of Rajanikanth in the film..That was a sort of reverse engineering strategy I have adopted for the first time in Bollywood..
Normally,any producer or director in my place would have hired a PR agency; host a grand press meet in the seven star hotel of Marriott in Juhu and then tell the media in the same mechanical and boring tone and faking smiles,that,
“We have acquired the Hindi remake rights of the sensational Rajanikanth film.Chandramukhi,and are in negotiations with some top heroes of Bollywood to play the lead role in it..We shall come back with more hot news shortly..Stay tuned.”
I didn’t want to adopt that old strategies at all..I was also not interested in posing to the flashy cameras in a star hotel..Instead I was interested in working out something that would create an unprecedented buzz in the Bollywood film and trade circles and in turn create a great demand for my film..
As part of my strategy,I have immediately hired,with the help of my dear friend Hyder,a top rated film PR agency in Mumbai,on the very same day..I said okay to the rate they demanded and also paid them a token advance of fifty thousand rupees..
Later,as part of my strategy I told them,”Bhai saab..Firstly a news item should come in all the leading newspapers of Mumbai that Chandramukhi is the biggest blockbuster ever made in the history of Indian film industry and is breaking all the collection records today..
After two days,release another news saying that literally every production house in Bollywood is trying to capture it’s Hindi remake rights,,Then,after two more days,release another breaking news that a leading production house of Hyderabad,the Creative Commercials belonging to K.S.Rama Rao,had grabbed the remake rights for a whopping sum of rupees one core..”
After I said that,not only the PR man but even Hyder and Mahesh Mistry were shocked with the figure of one crore that I had quoted..Because such large amount of money was never paid in the history of Indian film industry to acquire the remake rights of a regional language film..
(One crore may be a small figure in today’s hundred crores box office collection scenario but that was certainly a huge amount in 2005)
Later,when implemented,my strategy worked out to perfection and as a result,the whole of Bollywood was abuzz with the news that the Tamil film Chandramukhi was creating waves in the South Indian film industry..Many eyebrows were raised and many corporate board room meetings were convened..
Unfortunately,what those big heads of Bollywood were not aware that moment was,”the remake rights of the film have already changed hands and we are unnecessarily wasting our precious time on these silly meetings..”
And unfortunately,at the same time,what the small head of poor Narrenaditya could not think was,”I had lit a very large fire which I will not only be unable to put off later but to which I would also be succumbing in future..”
Please Click Here to read “Why Did Lord Venkateswara Prevent Me From Directing That Sharukh Khan Film – Part Five”
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