The lucky set

Jagapathi Babu flanked by Rakshitha and Navneeth.

Jagapathi Babu flanked by Rakshitha and Navneeth.  

THE FAMILIAR "upper middle class house" settings in the Ramanaidu Studios at Nanakramguda is busy with the shooting of , Roja Enterprises' "Jagapathi." From the big hit "Pelli Sandadi" to the recent box office hit, "Sankranthi" many successful films were shot in the set. At the entrance, producer M. Ramalinga Raju, who was having a chat with cinematographer, V. Jayaram, welcomed us with a smile. He is co-producing the film with V. Sathyanarayana Raju.

In the veranda one of the film's leading lady Rakshitha (Navaneeth Kaur plays the other heroine) is having her breakfast. She has slimmed down considerably and looks good in a designer white and green salwar suit. The evergreen screen mother, Sudha and starlet Sirisha (remember her performance as the physically challenged girl in "Mass") too nibble into their breakfast boxes. Inside the house, in the drawing room, director, Jonnalagadda Srinivasa Rao, is making the necessary arrangements for the next shot along with his assistants. Jayaram and his crew join them. In the hall there is an old radio set and antique teakwood dressing table along with a modern sofa set placed in the middle.

It is time for action. Srinivas Rao calls for the artistes. Sudha sits in a sofa and Sirisha is on to her left in another sofa. Suddenly Rakshitha barges in and sits next to Sudha, holds her hand tightly. A perplexed Sudha asks her, "Are you going to break my hand or what?' Unmindful of her comment, Rakshitha notes her pulse rate asks her to stretch her tongue and looks into her eyes like a doctor.

As the shot is being taken, we move out towards producer V. Sathyanarayana Raju. A gentle and friendly smile never fades from his face. A prominent exporter of fish he is now fishing in the "filmy waters."

"I am an avid movie buff since childhood and it's been my ambition to make a film. Veteran producer M. Arjuna Raju (he presents the film) is related to us. I felt it safe to enter films under his guidance and partnership. Of course, I liked the subject that has the potential to turn into a big hit," he says.

Raju suggests that the fight sequence involving Jagapathi Babu, the villains - Pradeep Rawat, Salim Beg and their gang shot at the nearby Mt. Abu composed by fights director Vijay, was worth watching as it was one of the major highs in the movie.

As we were talking, Arjuna Raju alights from his car. After customary greetings he moves towards the action zone to look at the progress. He looks every inch a disciplinarian. But once the ice is broken, the warmth beneath his stern exterior is evident. "This is our first film with Jagapathi Babu," says the veteran who had made films with almost every top hero of the day in his chequered two- and half - decade career.

"I was an ardent admirer of his father V.B. Rajendra Prasad and yearned to watch his films when I was young," reminisces Raju.

"If I looked up at Prasad for his aesthetics in executing the subject and keeping the unit members happy , I followed Ramanaidu on focussing upon the commercial aspects and organising skills," recalls the veteran.

He feels that Jagapathi Babu is most suited for the title role. "The characterisation is on the lines of his earlier action films like, "Gayam" and "Anthapuram." It is a mass oriented role set in an urban area and deals with different problems . The role brings out various facets of the actor's hitherto untapped potential.

"We found the subject good and hope the audience too would feel the same and accept the film," avers Arjuna Raju. The shoot that commenced on February 11, is scheduled till April 15.


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