Hyderabad: Run Raja Run, which released last week, has become one of Tollywood’s surprise hits already. The gamble that producers Vamsi and Pramod took in entrusting the Rs 4-crore project in the hands of a 24-year-old has paid off. And while debutant director Sujeeth is aware of the film’s success, he hasn’t been able to enjoy it... he is grappling with “headaches and a lot of sleeplessness.”
“I am attending calls all the time... from friends, well-wishers, my producers, and and giving interviews. I haven’t even watched my own first (Tollywood) film in theatres in full; 20 minutes may be. I am hopping from one hall to another to see the audience’s reaction and then squeezing time to finalise publicity tours. And, at night, when my team sits together to unwind, I ask my producers to just let me go home and sleep,” says the native of Anantapur, who has been brought up in Hyderabad.
He, however, is getting a lot of help from his family. “My dad (Gopinath) is going to theatres and checking with people — ‘Did you like the film? My son has made it’ (laughs). And, my brother Vineeth, who is in the US, is showing the film to his friends. He is my biggest critic but I have never seen him so excited.”
Sujeeth was 23 when he started shooting Run Raja Run last year. He says that the plot of this love story formed in his head in four days flat. “It’s a childhood thing — cooking up stories, making them up. I have done it to skip tuitions, mom’s work and what not... And, I wouldn’t give typical ‘fever’ excuses. They were different and Hollywood types. Once I made up a story that my tuition teacher was just entering the class and her feet got stuck in a hole that no one had ever noticed. It was small and hidden, waiting for my teacher. The good thing is that people always fell for my stories. That’s what I am good at — telling stories. I have read more storybooks than school books in my life,” says the diploma holder in direction from L.V. Prasad Film & TV Academy, Chennai.
But he was not a kid walking around the sets in shorts and tees. Yes, directing seniors like Kota Srinivasa Rao and comedian Ali was tricky and so was asserting the fact on Day 1 that he indeed was the director. “But my producers made it clear to every one: whatever I said, they would have to listen. Quite naturally, I am the baap of the story. It’s my story. So, I had the authority in this department,” says Sujeeth, who had made 38 short films before entering Tollywood.
The director, however, will have to wait for some time before he can catch up on sleep and go on a holiday as he has got a few Tollywood offers to decide on.