However, the producer experienced success with two additional films this year: Varisu and Balagam.
Rarely does a producer have as much creative control over the films produced under his banner, Sri Venkateswara Creations, as Dil Raju does. He has excellent taste in films of all kinds. He had great expectations for the Samantha starred Shaakuntalam because he thought it would appeal to families and children. A no show at the box office, though. He addressed its failure for the first time during a conversation with journalist Rajesh Manne on his programme Tera Venuka Kathalu.
“Shaakuntalam was the film that, if any, dealt a shock to my 25-year career in the business.There is nothing to conceal or dispute in the outcome of any film, therefore I embrace it. When people comment positively about a movie, you can tell it was a success because they spread the word about it. You must examine your judgement and learn from your errors, he said.
“I hosted a show for Shaakuntalam four days before release and I started receiving poor reviews the same evening. I realised I was wrong. In those days, I was very aware of the film’s fate. When I noticed the result on Friday, I was prepared. When you watch a film with crowds, you’ll have to form a judgement. If distributors are not calling you, you must know why,” Dil Raju added.
The female-centric film Shaakuntalam, which was directed by Gunasekhar, was created on a grand scale for an enormous budget (estimated to be above Rs 65 crore), and the producers lavishly spent to create a cinematic experience that was bigger than life. Though Samantha and Dev Mohan, the film’s lead actors, received praise for their performances, there was unquestionably a disconnect with the storytelling among gen-Z audiences.
The epic drama was jointly produced by Dil Raju and Neelima Guna under Sri Venkateswara Creations and Gunaa Team Works and released in theatres on April 14.