Director Sukumar is on cloud nine as his latest film Nannaku Prematho is going strong in its second week. “Initially, we got mixed reactions, but I am happy about how the film is doing. I am getting good reports from everywhere and the collections are amazing,” says Sukumar about the film.
Talking about the subject of the film, he says that the story, though inspired by his father, was in no way related to him. “I had initially planned a love story with Jr NTR. But when my father passed away, I told him I couldn’t direct a love story at that time and would come up with a father-son related emotional subject later,” he reveals.
Sukumar was quite attached to his father. “My father never scolded us. He made sure that we — myself, my four brothers and two sisters — grew up independently. He struggled a lot, yet he never put pressure on us.”
He however feels that he didn’t give back much to his father. “I wanted to show him the world. After my first film Arya, my second film Jagadam didn’t do well, but when 100% Love became a hit, I wanted to take him abroad, but he fell ill. I couldn’t do much for him,” Sukumar says.
Before entering Tollywood, Sukumar was a lecturer at Aditya College, where he used to teach Maths and Physics. And his childhood dream was to become a scientist. “I thought filmmaking was an easy job, so I chose it,” he says. He assisted Mohan and V.V. Vinayak for a few films.
“The initial days were a struggle. After working as an assistant director, I returned to my lecturer job to earn money and then went back to movies.”
Sukumar is still in touch with his old students. “Some of my students are IAS and IPS officers; they all call me often,” says Sukumar. He also owes much to the literary figures who shaped his life. He reads Chalam books and is a big fan of Yandamuri Veerendranath and Yaddanapudi Sulochana Rani. “Each of the romantic scenes in my films is an inspiration from either Yandamuri or Yaddanapudi,” he reveals.
After Nannaku Prematho was released, the first call he got was from V.V. Vinayak. “He told me that the film will get mixed reviews, but there was no need to worry, because it would definitely be successful. And just like he predicted, the film is now a big hit. ”The maker of romantic movies also has a love story of his own to share.
“Yes, mine is a love marriage,” he reveals. “Hamsini (wife) and I first met in 2004 at Sudarshan theatre during the release of my first film Arya. She asked me for an autograph and I gave her my phone number,” he says. Hamsini, who was not a Telugu movie buff, had come to the theatre with her friends. “When she knew that I was the director, her first question to me was that since all work was done by technicians, what did the director do. It hurt me a lot and I explained a director’s job and how difficult his work is,” he says. Gradually, they fell in love. Hamsini’s parents were not happy to have a groom from the film industry. They got married in 2009 in the presence of his family and her sister. They later went to her parents for blessings and they accepted them.
The couple now is blessed with two kids — a boy and a girl. However, they never discuss movies at their home and Hamsini never appreciates Sukumar’s work.
“She is angry that I don’t spend much time with family as I am always away on shoots. But I know she liked Nannaku Prematho very much and has been secretly telling her friends about my movie,” he smiles....