One film that had a relatively quiet release last week was Ala Ela?, directed by debutante Anish Krishna.
Released along with two commerial films, Rough and Yamaleela 2, the movie was brushed aside by movie-watchers. It was however surprising to see how general public started reviewing it on Twitter and Facebook. All thanks to the simple story line, relatable characters and chemistry between the three ‘heroes’ – Rahul Ravindran, Vennela Kishore and Solomon Shanni, better known to us as Sye Shanni.
“We didn’t try to keep the release on a low scale. Our marketing team was working pretty hard that way. But, the other two films outdid the competition. People didn’t know about Ala Ela? until that Sunday,” says Rahul, who was seen in Andala Rakshasi. Kishore adds, “We were literally praying that the multiplexes have at least one show in the week.”
Today, almost two weeks after the release, multiplexes started adding on the number of shows, some even upto four shows a day.
The team attributes the the promotion of the film to viewers who took to social media to spread the word. “People didn’t just watch the film. They started talking about how they missed Ala Ela?, and that is heart warming,” appreciates Rahul, with Kishore and Shanni agreeing with him. The way comedy has been choreographed in the film along with beautiful locales and inadvertent timing between the three lead characters make Ala Ela? worth a watch.
All the three actors confess that the reason was director Anish Krishna giving them the liberty to improvise that came as the biggest advantage. “Anish used to give us the situation and ask us to act. He gave us the space to improvise on the spot and the chief improviser was Kishore where he would give a punch and we would react,” shares Rahul and Kishore adds that the director never said cut. “Unless we deviated from the script, he wouldn’t ask us to stop.”
No activity on the set resembled a formal shoot where they had to start and pack up within a given time and this added to the outcome.
While Rahul and Kishore hit it off pretty early on, one character they were sceptical about was Shanni’s.
“Many on the set wondered if Shanni’s character would strike a chord with the audience. But after we watched the first edit, we knew that it’ll work out,” recalls Kishore.
Shanni’s character as a creative director, fondly called Dambar, is fundamental in bringing the comic element back when they story hits a low – one of the many times that takes audience by surprise and keeps them in sudden splits.
“This happened in Sye too. Once again in this film, my scene brings that momentum back and it is only because Anish retained his trust in me as an actor ,” shares Shanni who has known Anish for a long time now. Shanni was also involved in the pre-production of the film.
The actors also confess that the team did not aim for anything too high, but make a quality film that has natural humour. Anish, who was working with the same intention had everything sorted, right from the start. “Anish came with names written down alongside the characters. While we were all sceptical about me fitting in the role, he was one who asked me to keep going. He had100 per cent faith in me,” recalls Shanni and Rahul chips in. “When someone puts so much faith in you, they tend to bring out the best in them, I guess,” he says.
Most part of the film was shot in the Palakol in West Godavari district, against a beautiful lush green rural backdrop and all three of them share that that was quite an experience.
“We had to feel like we were recreating Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. When we were climbing up those palm trees as part of our adventure, we were all wondering what we were doing. That also was taken well by the audience, surprisingly,” says Rahul. Kishore and Shanni agree with him.
This is one film that is totally worth the money.