Samantha okayed ‘Yashoda’ in just 45 mins of narration – Producer Sivalenka Krishna Prasad
Starring Samantha in the titular role, Yashoda is directed by Hari and Harish under Senior producer Sivalenka Krishna Prasad’s Sridevi Movies banner. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Unni Mukundan, Rao Ramesh, Murali Sharma and Sampath Raj are also playing pivotal roles in the film.
Producer Sivalenka Krishna Prasad had 40 years experience in industry. He released 45+ films that include straight telugu and dubbing movies. He made cult classic movies like ‘Aditya 369’. As of now, he’s coming up with an exciting film ready for Pan-Indian release in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada simultaneously on November 11th.
Speaking on the occasion, producer Sivalenka Krishna Prasad reveals interesting insights about the movie with media. Here they are…
Yashoda is Samantha’s first Pan-Indian film, how did it begin?
‘Yashoda is the direct film I produced after ‘Sammohanam’. I feel my uncle SP Balasubrahmanyam’s blessings are with me in this. He left us on September 25th, 2020. I went to Chennai and stayed there for few days in support for SP Charan. I heard the story from Hari, Harish on the word from my executive producer Senthil. I was excited for its unique point. Back then, some Coimbatore producer was in line for them. I just gave my inputs after hearing it.
How did this Tamil producer’s project land in your hands?
As I reached Hyderabad, our executive producer called me to say that the tamil producer backed off on this project for the moment, Are you interested? I heard the story once again in october and asked them to develop as much as script demands. Looking at the scale of content in concept they reworked on the story for 7-8 months and it shaped very well. ‘Pushpa’ & ‘KGF’ dubbing was in process back then. After discussing a little, we decided to release it on a Pan-Indian scale.
Did you approach Samantha after the Script was ready?
Yes. We felt Samantha is the perfect person to essay the role of Yashoda at a Pan-Indian level. She garnered national wide craze with Family Man 2 and we were doubtful if she would hear the story or not? Her manager Mahendra has confirmed she’s open for the narration. She heard the story on September 8th last year and okayed it immediately. She even agreed to the multilingual release. We signed in in Varalaxmi Sarathkumar to play a crucial role and roped in other eminent actors based on the script.
How was it working with Samantha and the journey throughout Yashoda?
She travelled with Yashoda right from the moment she okayed the story. As ‘Shaakuntalam’ wrapped up, she shifted entire focus on this project and eyed on every detail during the shoot.
There’s a lot of buzz going on about Samantha’s health. Didn’t her absence matter during the release?
We got to know about Samantha’s health after completion of the film during her dubbing. She dubbed for herself in Telugu and by the time she was dubbing for Tamil, her energy levels were low. I suggested that we can make it with any other dubbing artist. She said that everyone in Tamil knew her voice and she completed it in doctor’s supervision. Hats off to her dedication. We got to know about her illness completely just few days before she posted it on social media. Chinmayi dubbed for her voice in Hindi.
What’s Yashoda story? Is it about making Surrogacy a business?
No, it isn’t like that. We’re unfolding a crime flourishing in the backdrop of Surrogacy.
You’ve made experimental films earlier with heroes but you’re doing it with a female-oriented film for first time, why risk?
It’s not any risk or experiment. I’ve made Yashoda out of excitement. ‘Make Aditya 369 and industry will remember you for 30 years” Balu uncle said. I was excited by the Time travel concept. I felt the same way after listening to Yashoda.
Didn’t you feel risk to go Pan-Indian level with a lady oriented movie?
I’m confident that audience will watch the movie if content is good. First time, I’m in a comfortable state before release and surely will be comfortable post the release too.
You had to build BIG sets for Yashoda, why?
Nowadays, hospitals are no less than a five star hotel in terms of the architecture and infrastructure. We had to shoot in such place that too in thr middle of Corona 3rd wave. If we decided to shoot it in the hospital, we could’ve had many issues. Thus, we opted to build a set and shot 55 days in it. Art Director Ashok has made extraordinary sets.
How are the dialogues in this movie would be?
Directors Hari, Harish are from Tamil and so not much familiar with Telugu. So, we introduced Sr. Journalists Pulagam Chinnarayana, Dr. Challa Bhagyalakshmi to them. I’m acquainted with Chinnarayana since 15 years, he wrote many acclaimed books on movies. They both wrote impressive lines that perfectly suited the narrative. Even the directors loved their work.
What was censor dept. reaction after watching thr movie?
They were excited. Hindi censor board head said that ‘Only you south people can think like this’ after watching it. Others even called me to share how much they liked it.
We heard that you’re distributing it on your own? Is that true?
It’s True. Suniel Narang garu is supporting me in AP & Telangana. UFO & Disney are supporting in North and Karnataka area. Surya’s company is supporting in Tamil & Malayalam. We believe in the film.
How was the first copy? Did Hari, Harish make the film like they narrated?
As we bring the story on to the screen we compromise on few things. We think that the audience will expect a song or something at a point but that’s not it. They expect a good cinema. Our directors Hari, Harish made it as per the story.
We’ve heard that producers are being treated as financiers and are not involved in filmmaking in any ways. What’s your take on it?
Time changes everything, that’s the trend. Producer had to stay in fear since 5-6 months. Because, after corona everyone’s watching cinemas of all languages. They’re watching the world cinema with subtitles. Thus, the routine content is being trolled too much instantly and affecting the next show collections too. Now, the producers focus is only on the good content.
‘Yashoda’ budget has turned out massive. Did anyone else stood by you in production?
Chinta Gopalakrishna Reddy garu is co-producing it and supported me alot.
Nowadays, producer’s kids are entering industry, what about yours?
My son is doing software job in America. He won’t enter into cinema industry. But he’s very fond of cinemas. He busy tickets in black by paying 100’s of dollars for it. He used to watch benefit shows here early in the morning, spending 1000’s of rupees. I said, no matter how much you spend watching it, don’t ever nter into movies. I had experienced many ups and downs and so decided to do so.
What’s your daughter Vidya doing?
My daughter Vidya is doing the digital work. She’s working in Spotify now. She helped me in ‘Sammohanam’ and ‘Gentleman’ films. She helped me in Yashoda too. I only said NO to my son. I said ‘As you wish’ to my daughter. ‘I know the limits Dad’ she said. I wanted to make good films with what I have and retire with that satisfaction.
You have produced films for Nandamuri Balakrishna garu previously. Any planning of another project with him?
I always had a sweet relationship with Balakrishna and I met him recently. He asked about the genre of Yashoda and I said it’s a new concept. He said it would be grand in my production. We still have discussion about cinema. I wanna make a film with him if someone comes up with a story that matches his image and my interests.