Less known facts behind the making of Prabhas blockbuster Varsham
Rain in Hyderbad visits like an unexpected guest, very uncertainly. Same thing happened that day, it rained. M.S. Raju met Suryanarayana Raju, Krishnam Raju’s brother and driving back on Banjara Hills road. He handovered the next movie responsibility of his son Prabhas, who was just introduced with ‘Eshwar’ & ‘Raghavendra’ to M.S. Raju. Such a freedom and trust would make a filmmaker like M.S. Raju real happy but also stressful.
‘Okkadu’ turned out as an All-time Super hit & industry awaits M.S. Raju’s next. He’s a doer, not a blabber. He was setting up everything to make a full-on action film with Prabhas. Veeru Potla, the assistant of Paruchuri Brothers narrated an action episode & M.S. Raju extremely liked it. They started developing a story like Ramayana around it. Rama bringing back seetha from Ravana turned the plot reference.
A beautiful lady surrounded by Good (Hero), Bad (Villain) & Ugly (Father) characters around her with even the Rain playing the key role. In thoughts of a never before backdrop for the story, they settled to historical places of Warangal.
Taking the lead characters Anil Kapoor, Madhuri & Anupam Kher from hindi film ‘Tezaab’ as reference, the script is ready. While the script is bounded, everyone’s looking for M.S.Raju’s choice of director for the same.
As ‘Bobby’ turned out a disaster, director Shoban was depressed. Right in that phase, M.S. Raju’s call lightened his hopes. Expecting to sign as a writer, he entered into Sumanth Arts office but was on cloudnine for being offered to be the director of their ongoing film with Prabhas.
Meanwhile, M.S. Raju has been ignoring the comments for his adamant choice to go with a flop director starring budding hero after a Superhit like ‘Okkadu’. Besides the script discussion, casting selection is commencing simultaneously.
Raghavendra Rao’s ‘ Gangotri’ starred a new female lead Aditi Agarwal, Heroine Aarthi Agarwal’s sister. She looked fine as a pair beside Prabhas but her dates weren’t free to cast and so they decided to look for some fresh face.
During the shoot of ‘Nani’ in Chennai, M.S. Raju went to meet mahesh on sets and while returning to the airport, he looked at a gorgeous lady in the poster near Gemini flyover. On his enquiry, M.S. Raju got to know that the lady is playing the lead in Tamil film ‘Saamy’ & Telugu film ‘Nee Manasu Naaku Telusu’. He roped in her into the film through producer A.M Ratnam. Thrilled by the story, she agreed to play Shailaja in the film.
Stout and Tall Gopichand has already impressed audience with his performance in ‘Jayam’ and ‘Nijam’ by then and so he seemed perfect opposite Prabhas as Bhadranna. Undoubtedly, Prakash Raj is the best option to play heroine’s father role.
Dialogue Writer Satyamurthy’s son Devisri Prasad is introduced as Music Director by M.S. Raju. Making the most of this golden chance, devi gave 100 options for one tune. M.S. Raju respects, devotes & worships the legendary Sirivennela Seetharama Shastry. He gave the script to him and told him “It’s your wish guriji, take as much you want from the script and just want good songs”. He laughed at his words and the album got huge response.
M.S. Raju thought ‘Varsham’ will be a good title for it but director V.N. Aditya has already regitsered that title for a Nagarjuna’s film. As soon as M.S. Raju asked for it, he gave it.
March 14th is a sentimental day for M.S. Raju. It’s his wife birthday and Okkadu’s first day of shoot, Varsham shoot commenced on the same day. While the first schedule work is on full pace, M.S. Raju was not satisfied with that work and so stopped the shoot for 2 months to make more corrections to the script.
Hero and Villain had a fight already and the scene demands another fight but there shouldn’t be one more. Instead there should be a heavy dialogue, writers Paruchuri Brothers are masters in it. “I’ll die 100 times for shailu, will you?”, thats’s a strong dialogue from hero to villain and the scene turned whistleworthy. M.S. Raju made many such corrections and as the script seemed perfect, the shoot started again.
A chartbuster song to be shot in railway station and M.S. thought an ace choreographer like Prabhudeva should choregraph it. Despite his busy schedule as artist, he joined the shoot on M.S. Raju’s call.
40 kms from Tirupathi, Vanapakam Railway Station. With Prabhas, Trisha, 100’s of Junior Artists and 60-70 models, ‘Ennallaki Gurtochana Vana’ song was shot for 1 week.
Poothalapattu Railway station, Old City Sultan Bazaar and Shankar Palli’s big set featured action episodes.
Heading to the 10 days schedule of Warangal, M.S. Raju was super confident that the flop centiment of movies shot in warangal will be erased with ‘Varsham’. Following the hit sentiment, they even shot few action episodes & a song in Araku Valley. The introduction risky scene must be shot in a quarry. While the team suggested to use the dupe, Prabhas volunteered to do it by himself. 140 wrking days shoot completed with 5 Crores budget.
M.S. Raju rarely spoke about ‘Varsham’ but he predicted that Prabhas will turn into a huge star after this film. His confidence won on 20014 sankrathi. With 120 prints in 200 theaters, Varsham turned out as a Super duper hit. Succesful second week run needed 80 more prints. Just like Khaidi to Chiranjeevi, this movie stood out as a turning point to prabhas with the super stardom.
Trisha got super craze in Telugu, Prakash Raj’s Kola Rangarao character got full marks, Gopichand as Bhadranna got superb response. DOP Gopal Reddy’s work impressed everyone on screens. Devi music created wonder. M.S. Raju has been entitled as the Daring, Dashing and Dynamic filmmaker.
Ever since, M.S. Raju looks at the rain with a gleam on his face, as it reminds him the ‘Varsham’ memories.
– PULAGAM CHINNARAYANA