Suresh Babu is a proud man for obvious reasons. In his career as a producer, he has never produced a film like Eega. Saying that this is the greatest Telugu film since Shankarabharanam, Suresh talks about what made him repose utter faith in the story, the experience of working with Rajamouli, the future of Eega, and more.
The best film:
After watching the first copy of Eega, I hugged Rajamouli and said to him, "I am very proud for making this fantastic film." It was the first time ever that I hugged a director in my career. This film has been universally appreciated. Chiranjeevi has called it Tollywood's pride. Mahesh Babu has called it the Number One film. Venky told me that Eega is the best film that we have produced.
I had full faith:
We began with the aim of making a small film. Rajamouli told us that it would take something like Rs. 1.5-3-5 cr. After a month's time, and the involvement of some students of our film school, we knew that it would do well to be made without compromises. I witnessed what all it took Rajamouli to make Eega. The fly could not be made to look natural, nor it should look artificial. It was the result of labour for 7-8 months. Despite all the delay, I never had any doubts about the film. I was always confident that nobody could stop the idea. If it had to see delays, which was inevitable, I said, so be it. I had, by God's grace, full faith in the story.
Rajamouli's passion gave me joy:
I have never seen a director who works with single-minded focus and concentration as Rajamouli. He worked 24/7 on the project. It was this extreme involvement of his that gave me joy. I was so thoroughly inspired by his passion that I was ready to let go of some crores if the film failed! Watching him, I never felt the need to insist on the timely completion. Even if it had to get delayed by another four months, I was willing to let it be made at the necessary pace. I was never particular about Sankranthi or summer release.
Eega has perfect formula:
However, as I said, I never had any doubts. I knew that the story was both Chandamama-like and had the perfect formula - that of revenge and the cause of love. It could not go wrong. It had both small (simplicity) and big moments (ingenuity/extraordinariness). It had moments of brilliance layered into the script. We erected the set and shot the film there, at our own pace, whenever we needed. There was no hurry.
Future of creature films in India:
Moreover, creature films, be it Jurassic Park or Jaws, have always worked in India. I am sure that such kind of films are going to be made in our country. We will have adventure films with animals created with CG in future.
No superstar syndrome:
I never suggested a star's name. Nani or even a new face was OK for me. I had Sonu Sood's name for the villain's role, but when Sai suggested Sudeep's name, I said, "He is a fantastic actor, let's go for him."
Greatest since Shankarabharanam:
Eega is undoubtedly the greatest Telugu film since Shankarabharanam, which was the last great Telugu film. Like that film, Eega has been accepted throughout the country. Eega has become popular as a Telugu film, not as a remade film. Robot had everything going for it - Rajinikanth, Aishwarya Rai, etc. Robot was a grand film. Eega's grandeur lies in the brilliance of its idea.
Next release in other languages:
The next release will be in Hindi. The product is ready. As for the 3D version, we are working out the strategy. Till today I am getting calls from Mumbai. There is pressure to release the film in Marathi, Bhojpuri, and other languages. We are planning to release the film in Chinese, Mexican, Spanish, etc.
Eega is of international standard:
Had Eega not been released in Telugu and Tamil in the overseas, it might have been released as a proper English release. Like the Chinese film, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, it would have travelled to the US to collect something like USD 100 M. Such is the standard of Eega.
Eega has in it to find a claim for itself internationally. Rs. 30 cr is big for us. But for others, making a film of this kind at a cost of USD 5 Million is a big thing. Put two American actors in the place of Sudeep and Nani, Eega would be an international, mainstream, film.
Eega is collecting big:
The film is collecting big sums. To the question whether it is going to surpass all the films in terms of collections, I would not like to comment. Talk of figures will only lead to controversy. We will know the figures only after the film has completed its full run. I would only say that Eega is the most talked-about and most inventive film that has been made in a long time.
Even mass audience are wowed:
We definitely expected profits. We always knew that this will work easily with the general audience. However, I was sceptical about whether the mass audience will like it or not. We bravely went for a big release in C centres also, like a Mahesh or Pawan film. But the response has been humongous. It has been outstanding.
Will win National awards:
I am sure that Eega has in it to win the National Award in many departments. If it does not happen, Telugu cinema will have been rendered injustice.