After SS Rajamouli and Koratala Siva, there’s yet another director who is consistently giving hits at the Tollywood box office. From his debut film Pataas to the last year’s Sankranthi entertainer F2, in four years, director Anil Ravipudi’s five films have hit the bull’s eye, consecutively.
Poised for a double hat-trick, the 37-year-old director was a picture of confidence as he talks to Murali Krishna CH about what went into the making of his upcoming film Sarileru Neekevvaru starring Mahesh Babu.
Excerpts from the interview:
How has the journey been, so far?
Five of my films (Pataas, Supreme, Raja The Great, F2 and Sarileru Neekevvaru) have been a tremendous learning experience for me. I have enjoyed success and have been evolving, adapting and understanding the divergent filmmaking styles I came in contact with all these years. For the first time, I have done a film of this magnitude in my career. And it has a Superstar like Mahesh Babu in the lead. I have pitched Sarileru...line to Mahesh when I was directing F2. He was kicked about his characterisation, story and worked with utmost passion from the beginning to the end of the shoot. He reposed faith in me and this film is my Sankranthi gift for him.
Was there any inspiration for you to direct this film?
On my train journey to Hyderabad after wrapping up a schedule in Jodhpur for Supreme, I met a soldier from the Indian Army, who was completely relaxed and chilled out. He was always cracking jokes and was good fun. Then I realised that Army personnel always know how to find a balance between being fun and serious. This experience has inspired me to write Sarileru...
Does the film carry a message?
This film is all about seeking revenge through reform. The opening sequences shot in Kashmir and the climax is the soul of our film. Sarileru...tells the story of an Army man, who turns into a civilian and how he perceives the crimes committed by various people. Compared to the escalating war tension at the border, these issues are negligible to him. But he ends up as a saviour to someone and how he lives up to his promise forms the crux of the film. There is detailed emphasis on patriotism, human emotions, family values, fun and love. All in all, the film is like a feast.
Was directing Vijayashanti in Sarileru...intimidating?
Not really. Even though it took some effort to convince her, she is a director’s delight. Everyone will be happy watching her perform. Her personality and her films have always carried a strong message. You will see that all over again in this film. Adding to that, Rajendra Prasad played a full-length role and his vibe with Mahesh reminds you of cartoon series Tom and Jerry. We also have a surprise in store for Krishna garu’s fans. His presence is going to cause a frenzy of excitement among his ardent fans.
How was it working with Mahesh?
The most endearing quality in him is that he will offer complete freedom to his directors once they become part of the making and won’t interfere at all. He treated me like his brother and is a jovial person, a warm human being and someone who always loved a burst of a good laugh. He closely observes the monitor and is always prepared to give his best for his director. While F2 was a game-changer, Sarileru...is going to be a milestone in my career.
Sarileru... is pitted against Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo...
Besides Sarileru...it’s really special that we have three films including Rajinikanth’s Darbar, my first film hero Nandamuri Kalyan Ram’s Entha Manchivaadavuraa and Allu Arjun and Trivikram’s Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo too gearing up for release around the same time. I take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to everyone and I sincerely hope this festival brings happiness into our lives.