When Sankalp Reddy first thought of making Ghazi, little did he know that it would turn into such a huge film — releasing in three languages with top actors and under big banners. The young director says that the idea of making Ghazi struck him by chance.
“My journey began in November 2012. I had gone to visit Annavaram temple. When I was returning to Hyderabad, my train got delayed and in the process I went to Vizag. There, I saw a submarine on the beach. When I went inside it, I thought that I have to make a film on the Indian Navy, and the submarine has to be a part of it,” shares the filmmaker, who’ll be making his directorial debut with Ghazi (The Ghazi Attack in Hindi).
Since then, Sankalp spent months researching the subject and finally prepared a script. “Initially, I wanted to make it as a YouTube film. I had shot a 90-minute film using a set, computer graphics, animated effects, etc. I had put `25 lakh into it. Luckily it caught the attention of a few producers. Then I met Anvesh Reddy and PVP and we decided to make it into a feature film,” shares Sankalp .
The young Hyderabad-based director is shy and reserved. After completing BTech, Sankalp went to Australia to pursue MBA but soon realised it wasn’t for him. “I quit the course without telling my family and decided to take up a filmmaking course in the same university. When I returned home after the course, they were shocked. I tried my hand at a couple of ventures but none of them worked out. And then, Ghazi happened,” he explains.
But even after finding producers for his script, Sankalp did not realise it would become as big as it is today. “I thought of making the film with theatre artistes — all newcomers. The producers had also agreed and we decided to make it with a budget of `1 crore. But later, Rana read the script and decided to come on board. That changed everything and the film suddenly became big,” recalls the director.
The greatest challenge was to get information about the subject, considering most of it is classified. “In 1971, a submarine called Ghazi sank. There are two versions explaining why the submarine sank. One is the Pakistani version and the other is the Indian version. My story is a work of fiction inspired by true events,” he explains.
The director admits that the limited information available to him left him dissatisfied, compelling him to do more research. “I met a couple of ex-navy men. Understanding the process of how they work was important to me since it needed to be authentic. I wrote the script in Hindi to reach a larger audience. After Rana came on board, we decided to do it in both Hindi and Telugu. And then we decided to make it a trilingual and release it in Tamil as well,” explains the director.
After five years of toil and struggle, Ghazi is finally ready for release, and Sankalp cannot contain his pride. “You will feel proud of the film after watching it and you will recommend it to others as well. When I set out to be a filmmaker, I told myself I either have to be the best or the first. Ghazi is the first of its kind ever to release in Indian cinema. So that makes me immensely proud,” he adds.
Also featuring Taapsee Pannu, Atul Kulkarni, Om Puri and Kay Kay Menon, Ghazi will hit screens on February 17.