‘Sudigadu’ is a start-to-finish spoof on clichés that rule Telugu cinema, says Bheemaneni Srinivasa Rao

The Telugu film industry is not known to laugh at itself, or we believed so till now. As the first theatrical promo of Sudigadu was revealed, director Bheemaneni Srinivasa Rao waited in anticipation. The anticipation was to see how the industry would react to his labour of love, a full-length spoof of some of the all time hits of the southern industries. He clearly had the audience on his side as the promos clocked 2,78,000 views on You Tube (and still counting).

Rajamouli tweeted stating that he hasn’t stopped laughing after seeing the promos, Ravi Teja called Bheemaneni to share how much he enjoyed Naresh’s performance. “I am happy that the industry is reacting positively. I heard that NTR and Pawan Kalyan also enjoyed watching the promo. For years, we’ve been treating the audience to clichés in our films. Sudigadu spoofs these clichés and is not intended at hurting anyone on a personal level,” says Bheemaneni Srinivasa Rao, speaking to us at his office.

Nobody works so hard for a comedy film, says Bheemaneni. You know he isn’t exaggerating when he reveals the work that went into the different avatars of Allari Naresh — spoofing Kamal Haasan in Bharateeyudu, Pawan Kalyan in Gabbar Singh and Rajinikanth in Robot among others.

Bheemaneni bought the remake rights of Tamizh Padam, a brilliant spoof on Tamil cinema. “We took the idea, reworked the script and adapted it to Telugu cinema. We took a list of the biggest hits in the southern industries from 2000 to 2012 and short listed films that have an instant recall value. We chose scenes that could be spoofed and wove it into the story. We had to have a story to avoid the film looking like a bunch of comic sequences put together. Sudigadu is a very different film from Tamizh Padam. We have retained only 30 per cent of the original film,” says Bheemaneni.

The director is referred to as ‘remake specialist’ after he scored successive hits in the box office by remaking Tamil films, in mid and late 90s. His last big film Annavaram was in 2006. “I had to prove myself with Sudigadu. It took us six months to discuss how we could rework Tamizh Padam and a year and a half to finalise the script. I saw a number of spoof films to know how such concepts are dealt with,” says Bheemaneni.

The director hopes the film will connect with both old and younger movie goers. “Every five years signifies a change in generation as far as cinema is concerned, hence I wanted to spoof only films in the last decade. In spite of having a thriving industry for the last 82 years, we prefer glamour over grammar of cinema. We still have the herd mentality of aping a successful trend. Sudigadu makes fun of these aspects of Telugu cinema through the story of the hero, Naresh, as he transforms from zero to hero,” he points out.

The start to finish spoof, including songs, will release in eight countries. “Naresh’s films don’t have a large overseas market. Sudigadu is an exception. We will also be releasing in Chennai and Mumbai. The film has repeat value,” signs off Bheemaneni.