I am proud of the VFX in Avane Srimannarayana: Director Sachin Ravi
The director-editor talks about all that has gone into making the film and why he is experiencing mixed feelings as it nears release
“Three years of chanting ‘Narayana Narayana’ will come to end on December 27, when the film Avane Srimannarayana gets released,” says director Sachin Ravi, who has been so attached to the film for so long, he admits to being unable to imagine what he would do the day after it gets released. “When I started this project, I didn’t realise that this would happen on such a big scale. I am left with another 3-4 days of work, and then we will hand the film over to the audience. As a team, we have been chanting ‘Narayana’ without a break, and I was happy to live and breathe Avane Srimannarayana even on Sundays. As the exciting journey comes to an end, I am going through mixed feelings,” adds Sachin Ravi, who has also handled the editing and visual effects of his first period-cop drama.
Every film director is an editor
Sachin is basically an editor who makes his directorial debut with Avane Srimannarayana, a Kannada film, which will be dubbed and released in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Hindi. According to him, every director is an editor, writer, stunt master, and choreographer. “With the film ultimately coming to the hands of the editor after shoot, he is in a capacity to change the order of the movie, or bring in a different form to a fight or a song, which I consider as an advantage as well as a disadvantage,” says Sachin, who initially came to the industry to become a director, but incidentally started off as an editor. “If you don’t have the knack for editing, you are just a director without clarity,” he adds.
Keeping Avane Srimannarayana running time to three hours
Sachin took the responsibility of editing the film along with writer-actor Rakshit Shetty, and after much thought, the team decided to stick to a running time of three hours. “A common feedback from critics has always been that the editor should have trimmed the film by 15-20 minutes. But an editor’s job is not to curb the film’s length, and that has never been an editor’s motive, nor do we have a target. We look to tell a complete story and erase the unnecessary shots. In Avane Srimannarayana, there is a big story that needed to be told with a lot of characters and action sequences, and a three-hour run was required,” he explains.
‘I generally enjoy watching unrealistic films’
Besides direction and editing, Sachin has also handled the film's VFX, which, he says, was more challenging. “Almost every shot has VFX, and I have never handled it in such a big scale before. In fact, a team was brought in for doing this job,” says the director, who was always keen to make big VFX-heavy films. “Such films are able to take you out of drab reality to the fantasy world. I generally enjoy watching unrealistic films, like the ones in Hollywood. Visual effects give a different dimension, and I wanted to bring that experience in Kannada. Luckily, it started right with Avane Srimannarayana. Whatever technical aspects I learnt during filmmaking came in handy. If I hadn’t learnt the art of visual effects, I would probably not have done Avane Srimannarayana,” he adds.
Since Avane Srimannarayana is set in the backdrop of the late 1980s and 1990s, the team had to create a fictional universe, which they did by using real sets and visual effects. Whether it is the pub, fort, forest, or sequences involving the eagle, gunshots, blasts, fire or the 20-25 minute climax, the complete output has been achieved through visual effects. We have not lit a single matchstick; that should tell you about the kind of work that has gone into the VFX, which I am proud of,” he says.
The best part of Avane Srimannarayana
The association between Rakshit Shetty and Sachin dates back to seven years, when the former directed Ulidavaru Kandante. “The rapport we built with each other then has kept Avane Srimannarayana exciting to date. It is our like-mindedness, with respect to filmmaking, which has made work with him easy. My idea of cinema was very different before Simple Agi Ondh Love Story or Ulidavaru Kandante. When I started working with Rakshit, I realised that cinema’s first priority is writing, which was also the best process for Avane Srimannarayana. Both Rakshit and Suni inspired me to read books. Today, rather than watching a film, I prefer to watch its making. Rakshit was aware that I was strong technically and he knew I could handle the project. When Kirik Party became a hit, he thought we should go for a big project, and Avane Srimannarayana happened,” he recalls.
Behind the scenes
The director considers producer Pushkar Mallikarjunaiah. who has jointly produced the film along with HK Prakash, as the film’s hero. “Avane Srimannarayana has also got the best technicians. To begin with, we had cinematographer Karm Chawla, who the entire team considers a magician. Then we had Imran Sardhariya, who has choreographed three songs and has brought in variety. Costume designer Arundhati Anjanappa has done a lot of research in handling the costumes, and everything was customised. There are around 20 sets in the film, all created by Ullas Hydoor. We also have popular music directors, Charan Raj and Ajaneesh B Lokanath, providing the songs. The latter also has taken care of the background score,” he signs off.