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In the coming weeks, we will see many directors making their debut in the Hindi film industry although a few of them are directing for the first time. Debutant Chakri Toleti from the South film industry has delivered many blockbusters in Tamil and Telugu. Toleti is making his first Hindi film with Welcome To New York.  He shares his journey and talks to Soumita Sengupta about it. Over to them:


On Films

I love films, I love cinema, and it’s something I live for. I also love every aspect of filmmaking, from writing, to directing to acting. And that’s how my career in cinema began.


Choosing His Debut Hindi Film

It just so happens that Welcome To New York will release first as I had directed a film with Prabhudheva and Tamannaah that will release after this. As a filmmaker, I want to tell stories and, naturally, to wider audiences. I have never directed a film with language in mind. Sure, the audience is different in every language but the story telling format remains the same. I have always wanted to try out new languages and have directed films in Tamil, Telugu and now Hindi.


On Welcome To New York

I was looking to make something unique, something we haven’t seen before. At the same time, I wanted to make something fresh and in the comedy space because I love that genre, even though it is the first time I have directed comedy.

The story just fell into place and because the script was good, it was easy for us to get some really great actors on board… Sonakshi Sinha, Diljit Dosanjh, Karan Johar, Riteish Deshmukh. And you will see all of them in an avatar you haven’t seen them in before. Karan Johar doing comedy… and I believe his comic timing comes naturally to him. A fresh chemistry between Sonakshi Sinha and Diljit Dosanjh.


Difference Between the South And Hindi Industries

As a director, I don’t see any difference because, in the end, it’s all about storytelling. What is different is that some like massy films and some like entertainment. Deep down, my artistes are the same; they are all living a character when it comes to essaying a role. In fact, this is the first time I am working with Hindi film stars, because my other film features Prabhu and Tamannaah, who are both from the South industry. 

What I realised while shooting for Welcome To New York is that every artiste and every technician’s thought process is the same (regardless of industry) and it helped that I am conversant in both Hindi and English, so language was not a barrier. A film made in Tamil or Hindi can appeal to a pan-India audience because a good film is a good film.


On Artistes

I have always been lucky when it comes to casting. My first film featured Kamal Haasan and Mohanlal, it was remake of A Wednesday. The film taught me so much and there was a lot to learn from those senior artistes. I worked with Ajith Kumar in my next, so I have always been lucky when it comes to artistes.

Byline – Soumita Sengupta

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