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Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi In An Interview With Subhash K Jha,better known as Krish,

Subhash K . Jha

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 finally Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi opens up on all the  speculation and controversies  regarding his feud with Kangana Ranaut and his ouster  from  Manikarnika , the  Rani Laxmibai epic saga which seems to have been more exciting behind the scenes than  on  screen.

A  lot  of speculation about  how much of Manikarnika have you directed?

You mean what  you see  on  screen? I saw  the  film. I’d say more than 70 percent  is mine.I remained quiet until the  release  . I had to remain quiet  for the sake of  the film and  for the entire team which  worked so  hard on  on the film. But now if I don’t speak about what Kangana  did  to the  film I’d be doing a disservice to all our hard work .Many people  advised me  to  talk  after the film was taken  away from me.I’d   say what I directed  was  pure gold. Kangana turned  it into silver.

Why did  you  leave the film when  it was on the verge of  completion?

You know, every time I am asked this, my  heart sinks  to the ground. Let me say this outright. I did not leave  the film incomplete. I left it when it was  almost complete.I shot Manikarnik  for 109 days whereas  I completed  NTR biopic in half that time. Then we  did the dubbing post-production, everything  for Manikarnika. Only then did I move to  my other commitment(the NTR  biopic). For me the film was complete. Everyone had dubbed except Kangana.

Then what  happened?

Once I  finished she promised  to do some patchwork completely under  my guidance. She promised she’d shoot for 4-5 days extra and  send me all details of the shooting. No such thing happened. And  she says  she  had to re-shoot  many portions because  my cinematographer Gnana Shekhar had not  done  a good job. What nonsense is she talking?! Every actor every  technicians  gave their life and breath to their film.

This film seems  to have taken from you  more than  it has given?

 At the  end of  the day it is my baby. I have seen the  film. And I am relieved that  the  grandeur  vision and scale that I imagined  for  the  film remains  intact.The climax in Jaipur(doubling up for Gwalior) was  shot entirely by  me. I charged  half  of the fee that  I get for my Telugu  films as I wanted to  be  a part part  of this historical attempt to bring Rani Laxmibai’s story  to  screen.This is  the highest  number of  days I’ve shot  for any film. And I’ve directed complex  costume dramas like Kanche and  Gautamiputra  Satarkarni. In Kanche I had shot five war scenes.So I know the complexities of shooting  a period  film.We  shot  a  huge battle scene in  Hyderabad. We shot in Jaipur and Jodhpur, etc. The film was supposed  to release on August 15, 2018.I  completed  the  film in June, only a  small portion remained   which we agreed  to shoot later  and then I had to direct the NTR bio-pic since the  director who was supposed  to do that project was shifted  out. Then that whole thing  with  Sonu Sood happened.

What  happened?

Kangana  decided to re-shoot  Sonu’s  entire  portion. He had  shot for 30 days! So you can imagine what  she  wanted to remove.I remember when  she saw  the first cut the  first thing she said  even before  praising the  film was, ‘Sonu Sood  is  too overpowering na?’ Because  as an antagonist Sonu Sood was very strong. That’s how we had designed the film.For the  protagonist to appear powerful the  antagonist has to be strong.

In the  credits  of Manikarnika  her name  comes first then yours?

I must tell you  how this whole tamasha of  the credits unfolded. In the beginning  it was just my name ‘Krish’ on  the poster. In fact I remember we  released a   poster  on my  birthday November 10. Kangana cut the cake with me, we  hugged, etc. Anyway….But on  the  second poster and  in  the  trailer  achanak mera  naam Radha Krishan Jagarlamudi ho  gaya.

Kyon ho gaya?

Perhaps to confuse the  audience about my  identity .I asked why my name was  being changed in the poster. She said  I hadn’t supported her when Sonu Sood  spoke against her so why should she  bother. Why should I have supported her, when I  knew Sonu was  right and  he  took a stand  and said he won’t shoot the film with her.  

Why did  your changed name  bother you so much?

In Telugu cinema they know me as Krish. Then  in the trailer  her name came as director  after mine.And then at  the time of the film’s release  her name  came first as director, then mine.When I  rang her up to confront her.She said, ‘No No  I’ve shot so much’.What she  did basically was remove Sonu Sood’s role,reduce it substantially and  replace him with another actor Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub , and then she  shot the new actor’s close-ups and inserted them in scenes that I had shot.I am telling  you  70 percent of what  you see on screen is mine. Please  understand, this  is my  fourth period film.And I was  given  to do Manikarnika  because  of what I had achieved  in the  other three period films. It was  (the scriptwriter) Vijayendra Prasadji who called  me to direct this  film. He had seen  my work and knew what I was capable of.  In fact I am  the one who suggested the title Manikarnika.I read close to twenty  books on Rani Laxmibai  before directing this film. I worked  closely with  Vijayendraji. We began  shooting at Annapurna  Studios in Hyderabad after the puja. I was the  director. Then  Kangana Ranaut  …inki himmat toh dekho(look at her  guts).When people ask me why I left the film.I get very upset. I didn’t leave. I shot 95 percent  of the film.She did her own thing with  5 percent  of the film. She  did her own thing with SonuSood’s  role just to satisfy her ego.

This is  sad?

I never wanted  a confrontation  .I am not that  kind of  a person.But  when I see what was  done  do to my vision I  feel very angry and sad.I am talking now regardless  of how the film has fared because that’s how I had planned  to speak. I remember  Sonu Sood’s character  was  introduced with a kushti(wrestling). Kangana wanted  to know why he should do kushti.I wanted the action to be raw and real. Even the fights with the women were designed  as raw.

Not just Sonu Sood.Look at  what happened to Atul Kulkarni’s great character of Tayta Tope?

 Yes, really sad. This  film was  not made to glorify Kangana Ranaut.  It was mean to extol our great  freedom fighters. The film is great even now.  But I had made a greater film. She  didn’t understand that.  She  didn’t understand that she  couldn’t play God  with history. Yeh yahan se nikalo, wohyahan dalo…. It doesn’t work that way.

She was just an actor in the  film.Why did the producer allow  her  to override your vision?

Exactly. The  producer  should answer that. What authority did  she have to remove Sonu Sood? Have you ever heard  of anything like this? She was  of course the protagonist.But I am a reputed director directing a genre that  I know. What gave her the  right to tamper with what I did?And the team’s hard work, the sleepless nights, the  toil…More than anything else, when you are working on  an epic film, it is easy for  anyone to come at the last minute and claim  credit. Sonu Sood also  directed 5 shots . He can also claim to be co-director. The  few  scenes that  needed to be shot after I left were to be done  by my assistant  director.Suddenly I discovered she  is co-director. What  happened?

You tell me?

It was  pre-decided, an  elaborate plan to  undermine  my  directorial  status. On  August 15, 2018  I am director. October  1, 2018  I am  director. Then suddenly she’s also the  director. I argued with the producer Kamal Jain. But he stood by her. I  don’t  want  to say anything about him as he’s in the hospital. What was the necessity of  taking out  Sonu Sood and  doing her own thing?

Now that you’ve spoken do you think  there will be  repercussions?

 I had to set the record straight. I needed  a  proper closure  for my film.  Manikarnika  is  my baby.Would Sonu Sood or AtulKulkarni have signed the  film if Kangana  Ranaut was the  director?They put  their heart and  soul in  It is  my team’s hard work  being undermined.  It’s not about shooting. It’s about executing. Many people  from Mumbai  have called to congratulate me.What I made  was  to  perpetuate the phenomenon  of Jhansi Ki Rani. Not Kangana Ranaut.

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