Lakshmi Bhoopal has made a name for himself in the Telugu film industry as the dialogue writer of such films as ‘Chandamama’, ‘Ala Modalaindi’, ‘Mahatma’, ‘Terror’, ‘Nene Raju Nene Mantri’ and ‘Kalyana Vaibhogame’. ‘Oh Baby’, starring Samantha Akkineni, is his most recent success. This is also the year when Lakshmi Bhoopal has completed 15 years of being in the industry. Marking the special occasion, the talented writer has given an interview to the media.
You usually stay away from the media. What is the reason behind this special interview?
After the release of ‘Oh Baby’, the audience, as well as critics, are talking not just about Samantha’s performance and Nandini Reddy’s direction but also about my dialogues. No less a person than ‘Sirivennela’ Sitharamasastry garu recently called me up and spoke with me for 30 minutes. Producer KS Rama Rao garu gave special appreciation. I am getting so many calls from the people in the industry as well as from the audience. I want to say thanks to everyone through this interview.
In what way is the success of ‘Oh Baby’ special to you?
It has been 15 years since I entered the film industry. I have worked on 50-60 movies. ‘Oh Baby’ has given me the utmost satisfaction. I am very happy that the dialogues have been talked about as praiseworthy. At a personal level, I have totally loved the movie. My father passed away when I was a child. I was brought up by my mother and grandmother. That’s why the story of ‘Oh Baby’ was so very much relatable to me. I have put the words of my mother and grandmother into Baby’s mouth in this film. I have heard the line ‘Mogallandariki mogudila bathika’ spoken by Lakshmi garu’s character from my grandmother some 150 times. That’s why I am dedicating this success to the two women in my life – my mother and grandmother.
What did your mother say after watching the movie?
I was by her side as she watched ‘Oh Baby’. She kept on looking at me during some of the scenes. For example, she liked the scene where Lakshmi garu’s character talks about the taste of the fish ‘pulusu’ just by smelling it. There are many such scenes that my mother totally loved.
The film has got a number of strong lines as well. How are the men receiving them?
I wrote this line keeping in view the increasing number of sexual abuses in our society: ‘Molathaduki, mokaliki madhya kovvu perigipoyi kottukuntunnaru’. This is said about Naga Shaurya’s character by Samantha’s character. But it actually reflects the state of so many males in our society. We read about the unspeakable horrors against even infants. The original version of the dialogue was even more potent but I toned it down keeping in view the Censor Board-driven sensibilities.
You have been working at a stretch with the likes of Krishna Vamsi, Nandini Reddy and Satish Kasetty. Isn’t it?
I have done three films with each of them. I have worked with so many others. Teja garu’s ‘Nene Raju Nene Mantri’ earned praises for me.
Why haven’t you done star movie’s heroes despite being a senior writer?
I did get a few opportunities. But somehow they didn’t go through. I wrote for Ravi Teja’s ‘Baladoor’. Maybe, I am not suited to write rhyming dialogues and punch lines. I too want to write for the movies of the likes of Prabhas, Mahesh Babu, NTR, Allu Arjun and Ram Charan. I can write dialogues that suit their superstardom. Writing for movies like Chiranjeevi garu’s ‘Donga Mogudu’ will be special. I am waiting for such offers. I may not have worked on star heroes’ movies but I have had the opportunity to do movies for star production houses like Suresh Productions, Vyjayanthi Movies, and Usha Kiran Movies. My first movie ‘Soggadu’ was bankrolled by Suresh Productions.
When a film flops, to what extent is the writer blamed?
Many films that I have worked on did flop but I never flopped as a writer. Had I failed, I wouldn’t be getting so many offers. Every time a film of mine fails, I hike my remuneration by Rs 1 lakh and work with a vengeance.
How is the remuneration of writers these days?
It’s good. Hats off to Trivikram Srinivas garu. He has set a parameter for writers. He proved that a writer is qualified to be paid this and this much.
Many writers have turned directors. What about you?
Some writers are turning directors out of frustration. They are angry that many directors fail to give proper shape to their writing. I don’t want to become a director out of anger or exasperation. I will wield the megaphone only the day when I feel that only I can do justice to a story.
Do you have any such stories with you?
I have 24 stories with me at present. I have set aside 6 of them for myself. I have readied a story for Satish Kasetty. I am in talks for 2-3 films.