'Mem Famous' is hitting the cinemas on May 26. Sumanth Prabhas, its male lead and director, elaborates on his background and the film in this detailed interview.
In this interview, the actor-director says that unveiling a rocking teaser was the first step to announce that 'Mem Famous' would be a bang for the buck. "The various promotional videos we have done with different celebs announcing the release date have clocked millions of views. We are super-confident. The first time I signed on the dotted line, I was tensed because someone was investing crores of rupees on my movie," Sumanth Prabhas says.
Anurag Reddy and Sharath Chandra of Chai Bisket Films have produced the movie in association with Lahari Films' Chandru Manoharan. Mani Aegurla and Mourya Chowdary are the film's other lead actors.
I come from a humble background. There are no white-collar employees in our family. My father is into real estate. He studied 7th Class. My father wanted me to become a cop. I had no problem with his dream. I am tall anyways (laughs). My father wanted to see me getting greeted with respect by everyone.
Sumanth Reddy is my academic name. I added 'Prabhas' because I am a fan of the actor.
When I was in college, I decided to do a short film just to become well-known in the college. I did a web series named 'Pilla Pillagadu' after a new company contacted me. I never intended to become a film actor at that time. I was 18 or 19 then. Even in the pre-Jio era, it garnered millions and millions of views. Its content got us in the good books of Chai Bisket, who encouraged us to expand our horizons with proper content. I was in third year of Engineering at that time. While Chai Bisket wanted me to do a web series, I proffered to do a feature film. As a fresher with zero experience in films, it took daring to tell them that I want to direct a film.
I gave a non-stop 5-hour narration to the producers when I first got the opportunity to narrate 'Mem Famous'. After listening to it, they assured that they would be producing the movie. Since the producers are also young, we never had creative differences.
I was not supposed to be the male lead. We couldn't find a suitable face who could play the character. When I asked the producers if I could headline the film myself, they were surprised. After all, I hadn't even been on a film set before. They eventually agreed and gave me a team of assistant directors and technicians.
Sync sound technique was a challenge. Since it is a village-based film, I wanted the sound to be as realistic as possible. 'Mem Famous' is introducing 30-40 new technicians, artists.
As a director, I was always clear-minded right from Day One. I wanted none of us to be apprehensive on set. That's why the entire 2.5-hour film was shot on a mobile phone in our production office. That way, we started the actual shoot with full awareness of what we wanted to do.
The title reflects the energy of the primary characters. They want to be in focus. That's their ideology. 'Focus' wouln't have been a good title. So, I opted for a title with the word 'Famous' in it.
The producers could concentrate on content after they were assured that there was no headache on the cost front. The film was shot in a village with newcomers. That's why, the producers didn't have to bother much about locations and remunerations. All the newcomers have done a brilliant job.
The CBFC wanted to implement two cuts and give us a clean 'U' certificate. They gave us the option to take 'UA' but retain in the film what they wanted to cut. We opted for 'UA' as we didn't want any cuts.
I will plan the scale of my second film depending on how much 'Mem Famous' makes at the box office.
Directing is what gives me the maximum kick. I like to interact with people and create new content. I acted in 'Mem Famous' mainly because we couldn't find a suitable actor.