Raja Sekhar Madiraju
5 December 1969
|Occupation||Director, screenwriter, actor, and producer|
Raj Madiraju is an Indian film director, screenwriter, actor and producer. In a career spanning about 20 years, he predominantly worked in Telugu cinema. In 2011-12, he wrote and directed Rushi, for which he won the Nandi Award for the best story from the state government of Andhra Pradesh.
Early life and education
Raj Madiraju was born as Raja Sekhar Madiraju, the middle of the three children of Vijayananda Madiraju and Seshukala Madiraju in New Paloncha, Khammam District of then Andhra Pradesh State. Vijayananda worked as an electrical engineer in the Kothagudem Thermal Power Station. As a child, Madiraju always dreamt of becoming a singer.
The family moved to Hyderabad, the state capital, in 1984 thanks to Vijayananda's transfer. Madiraju studied DECE from Govt. Polytechnic. He joined Grad IETE in 1990 but discontinued due to lack of focus. He did some odd marketing jobs and teaching jobs. His passion for music and entertainment prompted him join Hyderabad Film Talents' Guild, a renowned music group in Hyderabad. He gave stage shows between 1992 and 1996. He joined Avanthi School of Business Management, affiliated to Osmania University, in 1995 to pursue a master's degree in business administration.
1994-95 was the year that satellite television started coming to Indian homes. Madiraju gave some TV show ideas to famous producer KS Rama Rao and was involved in making pilot episodes while he grew attracted to the bigger, larger than life and more influential medium of film, especially film as a commercial art form. With the help of KS Rama Rao, he joined ace director Dasari Narayana Rao in 1996 even as he was in the midst of his management course. His final year project was in 1997 was "How To Market A Movie", which was received with raised eyebrows by his professors.
He worked from 1996 to 1998 with Dasari Narayana Rao for seven films: Kalyana Praptirastu, Osey Ramulamma, Rowdy Durbar, Greek Veerudu, Sammakka Sarakka, Kante Kuthurne Kanali and Pichchodi Chethilo Raayi.
He then joined Chiranjeevi's unfinished Hollywood venture Return of Abu – Thief of Bagdad in 1999 as assistant director to Suresh Krissna. He worked with stalwarts like Richard Kline, the cinematographer who received the Lifetime Achievement Award from ASC; Giles Masters, the production designer of Mummy and The Da Vinci Code; Douchan Gerci, the director; and AR Rahman, the Academy Award-winning composer, and was supported by Hollywood crew, Panavision equipment and world class ideas at work.
Madiraju made his directorial debut in 2000 with Tharun starrer Uncle. Produced by star comedian AVS, the film was critically well acclaimed while AVS got a Nandi Jury Award for actor. The commercial failure of the film, however, forced Madiraju to take an unintended sabbatical from feature films, though he continued doing commercials and infomercials for top local brands such as Apollo Hospitals, KIMS, ICICI, Regency group, Manikya Group, Aurora Group, and GPREC. He also helped some films rope in top brands like Fair & Lovely, Bru, Dinshaw's, and McDowell's for in-film branding and associate brands in promotion.
He established Punditz Consultants Pvt. Ltd in 2006 and did some path breaking TV shows like Punditz Job Show on MAA TV supported by ground events like Punditz Job Factor which were mentioned in the annual journal for new age ideas by Tata Strategic Management Group TSMG. Punditz designed and presented several in-company events like Company Idol and Fashion Week, which later became regulars to those companies. Punditz served companies like Microsoft, Aegis BPO, and HSBC.
Return to films
Raj Madiraju had a vision of producing films on a regular basis in a corporate style both in terms of funding and work ethics. Through different studies, he formulated a platform that would enable infrastructure holders, investors and production teams. Over the years, he has gotten in touch with scores of young talents who are industry-ready. He took the idea to Ramesh Prasad, head of Prasad Group, who gave his consent to support with the huge infrastructure they have at their command. He started pitching the idea to investors.
Madiraju meanwhile narrated the story idea of Rushi to Ramesh Prasad, which he instantly agreed to produce. This was Madiraju's first film in ten years and Prasad Productions' first in twenty years. Released in 2012, Rushi went on to win accolades and acclaim in critical circles, toured several film festivals, and won awards. Madiraju won the Nandi for the best story, while Prasads won a special jury award for the film. Madiraju also won best director at the Dada Saheb Phalke film festival. The film was officially selected by Marbella International Film Festival, Spain, Riverside International Film Festival, Jaipur International Film Festival and Dadasaheb Phalke Film Festival, Greater Noida.
In early 2014, Madiraju and Ramesh Prasad liked the Marathi hit Timepass immensely, and bought the remake rights for the Telugu version. Preproduction work began in the second half of 2014 and production took off in 2015. Titled Andhra Pori, the movie's cast included Aakash Puri, son of popular director Puri Jagannath and Ulka Gupta, Jhansi Ki Rani fame. The movie was released on 5 June 2015 and was received well by audiences.
Madiraju took off with his next film, the bilingual techno thriller Aithe 2.0/Pirates 1.0, in 2016. It was produced by Vijaya Rama Raju and Hemanth Reddy Vallapureddy. The film was officially selected for screening at LA Cinefest, Barcelona Planet Film Festival and Calcutta International Cult Film Festival. While it booked a semi-final berth in LA Cinefest, it won the outstanding achievement award at CICFF.
In 2016, Madiraju moved further with his idea of a platform for bringing all stakeholders together for streamlined filmmaking. He established Montages Cinema and started developing project ideas. Montages have acquired the rights to produce feature films based on the lives of Capt. Saurabh Kalia and investigative journalist Josy Joseph.
Madiraju has played cameos in films like Osey Ramulamma, Uncle and Andhra Pori, but Nandini Reddy's Kalyana Vaibhogame introduced him as a full time actor. In this film he played the father of Naga Shaurya's character. The film did well and opened up opportunities to Madiraju as an actor. He made significant appearances in films including Appatlo Okadundevadu, Raja Meeru Keka, and Jawan.
Raj Madiraju married Mythily in 1997 and they have one daughter.
|2012||Rushi||Telugu||Yes||No||Yes||Nandi Award for best story,|
Best Director award at Dadasaheb Phalke Film Festival
|2015||Andhra Pori||Telugu||Yes||Yes||Yes||Remake of Timepass|
|Yet To Release||Aithe 2.0||Telugu||Yes||Yes||Yes||Bilingual film,|
techno thriller film
|Yet To Release||Pirates 1.0||Hindi||Yes||Yes||Yes||Hindi version of Aithe 2.0, |
Outstanding achievement Award at CICFF
|2017||Raja Meeru Keka||Telugu||No||Yes||No|
|2017||Vunnadhi Okate Zindagi||Telugu||No||Yes||No|
- "Interview with Raj Madiraju - Telugu cinema director - Idlebrain". Idlebrain.com. 4 June 2015.
- "'First look' of Rushi held - The Hindu". The Hindu. 25 July 2016.
- "Uncle Review". fullhyd.com.
- "PUNDITZ CONSULTANTS PRIVATE LIMITED - Company, directors and contact details | Zauba Corp". Zauba Corp. 6 February 2017.
- "Punditz Job Show on MAA TV, Sunday mornin [sic] 8:30 am to 9:00 am". fullhyd.com.
- "Pirates 1.0 Hindi Movie,Pirates 1.0 Bollywood Movie Review,Story,Wiki,Release Date – FilmiBeat". Filmibeat.
- "Pirates 1.0 (2017) - IMDb". IMDb.[unreliable source?]
- "June 2017 - CICFF". CICFF. 7 June 2017.
- "Montages Cinema lives up to its ethos of dedication and creativity through visionary wall art - The Hindu". The Hindu. 24 May 2017.
- "Raj Madiraju announces two biopics". Deccan Chronicle. 15 April 2017.
- "Thriller: Raj Madiraju's next titled Aithe 2.0 - Times of India". The Times of India. 15 January 2017.
- "Raj Madiraju to play father of Naga Shourya in Nandini Reddy film - Telugu Movie News". IndiaGlitz. 4 June 2015.
- "JD Chakravarthy Missed The Role?". iQlik Movies. 11 January 2017.
- "Uncle Cast & Crew, Uncle Telugu Movie Cast, Actor, Actress, Director - Filmibeat". Filmibeat.
- "Raj Madiraju announces new film 'Aithe 2.0' | telugucinema.com". 24 September 2015.
- "Aithe 2.0: Thriller to the core - The Hindu". 23 September 2016.