HYDERABAD:Seldom is he referred to by his name alone. Ohmkar Annayya - that’s what he’s known fondly as. The name he garnered with the many TV reality shows that he hosted, Ohmkar has quite the success story. Starting his career in the entertainment industry by turning an anchor in a small local channel, he went on to become a successful director with stars like Nagarjuna and Samantha acting for him in just his third film. Now all set to make a comeback to TV with Star Maa’s Sixth Sense, Ohmkar feels that life has come a full circle for him.
A physiotherapy doctor by qualification, Ohmkar always knew what he wanted to become in his life. His father who was also a doctor was his inspiration. “People about a kilometer around our place knew my father as Dr Krishna Rao. I grew up looking at this and thought I don’t want to be known to just those two kilometers around me. I wanted the world to know me. When I thought about it as a youngster, I figured there were three ways for it - politics, cricket and media. Politics is something that I absolutely do not relate with, my father wanted me to focus on studies rather than sport and I was left with the one other option - media. That’s when I decided I would be a director,” narrates Ohmkar.
TV was a detour
“I always wanted to make movies,” Ohmkar says. He goes on to share, “I never was an assistant director ever. But when I went to a shoot once for 10 days for a trial, I was very disgruntled by the treatment, the process and the life there. Then I randomly saw an ad seeking anchors for a small local channel. I thought, ‘let’s park the direction for a while and try anchoring.’ I figured it’s media industry too and decided to make it a platform to reach my ultimate goal.” And as it seems his strategy did work wonders for him. “Although my first movie didn’t work so well commercially, I still didn’t lose hope. I kept doing shows but I also wanted to prove myself. So I got a small subject – Raju Gari Gadhi ready and pitched it to Nimmagadda Prasad, who is also an acquaintance because of my TV days. They believed in me and gave back to me for the ratings I gave the channel through goodwill and support for the movie. And after that Raju Gari Gadhi 2 happened with PVP productions and rest is history. Now I am a successful director,” chuckles the director.
Time for payback
Three years after letting go of TV for being a director for his hit franchise, Ohmkar’s entry back to TV he believes might come as a surprise to many. “People might think, ’Why is Ohmkar gone back to TV?’ But I don’t look down upon TV. TV is my puttillu (birthplace)! Moreover, Maa TV has had my back through thick and thin,” he says.
Star Maa reached out to Ohmkar to come up with a show before Bigg Boss begins in the same time slot. “They wanted someone with the same amount of following and range that can keep the ratings as high as Bigg Boss. And the channel once had my back when I needed them and now it’s time for me pay them back. It’s an opportunity to show mygratitude for everything that the channel has done for me. Although I had a movie in the offing, I parked that to do this show for the channel,” Ohmkar shares.
Always the showman
Ohmkar is a man of many talents. Particularly on television. He conceptualises, hosts and directs his shows all by himself. Ohmkar feels at home he says. “It’s no different for me from the first day. I am super comfortable conceptualising directing and hosting my own shows,” he says. Although that sounds like a lot of work, Ohmkar takes it in a stride. “It’s in fact easier for me to direct myself on TV. My punchlines, my expressions and my phrases can be controlled the best by myself. In movies I can get others to act because there are takes. But on TV there needs to be spontaneity. None of my shows have ever been scripted. Directing themselves might be difficult for others but not for me,” he adds.
TV vs Movie
Now having had the best of both worlds, Ohmkar can barely choose one of them. “They’re both important to me,” he says adding, “My entry into the industry has been because of TV and my success in movies will get me noticed on TV. The two complement each other. Especially now that I have come back from movies to TV, the industry will be watching to see what I am upto. The curiosity will build as to what I am going to do next, a movie, a sequel or a TV show.”
A set process
A staunch believer in content, Ohmkar has a foolproof process before getting his projects on the floors. While currently he is focussed on Sixth Sense which will take up most of his time, his movie will be under progress in the background. “People often confuse you with their opinion on what you should be doing next. That was the case for me too. Whether it was about making a come back to TV or breaking the RGG franchise to start another movie, people have something to say. But I make sure I have my decisions taken for the right reasons. Once I have locked in on a subject, I and my team believe in it right up until the film releases. We put our heart and soul into it to bring the best output and that’s how the magic happens,” says Ohmkar with a smile.
Bright future ahead
Although Ohmkar has “parked” his movie for his small screen appearance, his plan is set for the days after the show. “Both RGG3 and a sports drama that I’m working on are on the lines. If the dates and the casting works out for the sports drama then we will go ahead with that. And if they don’t then we will begin work on RGG3,’ he reveals. Ask him whether this television stint was a one-time thing after being a notable director and he replies, “Television is home. If I get a good opportunity to prove my potential, whether it is on TV or the big screen I will take it up.”
If you had nothing to do for a week, what would you do?
Ill work on my script
If you had one superpower what would it be?
To be able to make everyone in the world unconditionally happy
One thing you absolutely hate?
I hate that I am a workaholic
One thing you never leave the house without?
I never leave the house without touching my parents feet
Your most important person in the world?
Amrutha, my daughter
— Srividya Palaparthi