Actor Rahul Ravindran isn’t just actor anymore. The man who made his Telugu debut with Andhala Rakshasi is turning director with Chi La Sow that’s all set for release on July 27. He says he wanted to direct films since he was a child. “I fell in love with cinema at a really young age and direction has been my dream forever. I quit my job in Mumbai to become an assistant director and made futile attempts to get the appointment of directors like Mani Ratnam and Gautham Menon.
Eventually, I turned actor to have money in the bank, but have always thought of it as a stepping stone to direction,” reveals Rahul.
Six years after his tryst with acting began, the world has conspired to make the directorial dream of this 37-year-old come to life, with a rom-com Chi La Sow, that he says is based on a real-life incident. “It’s inspired by an incident in my friend’s life that happened about nine years ago.
I asked myself, what if it had happened differently? So, Chi La Sow is my interpretation of what may have been,” shares Rahul.
The story is set in Hyderabad, and is about the lives of city-bred youngsters, Arjun and Anjali, played by actors Sushanth and Ruhani Sharma. “It’s a new-age film, and the entire story happens in a day. Some meetings can leave lasting impressions; what if one of it turns into an emotional bond? That’s Chi La Sow,” he says.
Rahul, naturally, is a nervous wreck ahead of the film’s release. “I’m going through a gamut of emotions. We think about so many things during scripting and shooting. And with the film getting released by the end of this month, I’m really keen to see how the audience reacts to various scenes and the dialogues. I’ve been living with this story for years now and now, it feels like judgment day is incoming. I’m also excited and looking forward to being part of the audience.”
The Chennai-born actor has written the dialogues himself for this film. “The characters speak in urban lingo that I’m quite fluent in,” he says. “Had the story been in a different setting, I wouldn’t have attempted to write the lines. The emotions are really personal and I thought I could do justice to it.”
I ask if his acting experience turned out to be a blessing in making this film, and he says, “It’s natural that there’s some expectation about my debut, but I don’t think it is to scrutinise my work. Instead, I think the audience are curious to see what I have made, and how well I have handled direction. My being an actor has lent a positive aura around this film.”
The film has got a big boost from Naga Chaitanya, who has come forward to back this project under Annapurna Studios. “Chay watched the film and decided to support us. He recommended it to Nagarjuna sir too. The exciting thing is that I’ve signed my second film for Annapurna. I’ve pitched two story ideas and once this film gets released, we will start working on the second,” confides Rahul.
Rahul realises that the next two months are going to be momentous for him. “Besides Chi La Sow, I’m awaiting the release of Drishti and have also recently wrapped up U Turn. Both films show me in new light. It’s all really exciting,” he says.
He has reunited with Samantha Akkineni for U Turn, eight years after their debut Tamil film, Moscowin Kaveri. The actor says working with her continues to be a fabulous experience. “She hasn’t changed at all. We have been good friends and I really admire her for her discipline, punctuality and earnestness. She is a natural performer and just as I knew eight years ago, she has matured as an artiste beautifully. I’m really happy for her,” he says.
— Murali Krishna CH