Sarileru Neekevvaru is my Sankranthi gift for Mahesh Babu: Anil Ravipudi
The director opens up about what went into the making of his upcoming film Sarileru Neekevvaru, starring Mahesh Babu
After SS Rajamouli and Koratala Siva, there's yet another director who has been consistently giving hits at the Tollywood box office. From his debut film Pataas to the last year's Sankranthi entertainer F2, in the past four years, five films from director Anil Ravipudi have hit the bull's eye. Poised for a double hat-trick, the 37-year-old director opens up 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?
My last five 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 divergent filmmaking styles 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 pitched the story of Sarileru Neekevvaru to Mahesh when I was directing F2. He was thrilled with his characterisation and the 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.
What was your inspiration for this film?
After wrapping up a schedule in Jodhpur for Supreme, on my train journey to Hyderabad, I met a soldier from the Indian Army, who was completely relaxed and chilled out. He was constantly cracking jokes and was good fun. Then I realised that army people knew how to find a balance between being happy and serious. This experience inspired me to write the story of Sarileru Neekevvaru.
Does the film carry a message?
This film is all about seeking revenge through reform. Sarileru Neekevvaru tells the story of an Indian Army man, who comes to lead a civilian life in the mainland. It is about 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 an emphasis on patriotism, human emotions, family values, fun and love. All in all, the film is like a sumptuous festival meal. The opening sequences shot in Kashmir and the climax are the soul of our film.
What else can we look out forin Sarileru Neekevvaru?
Everyone will feel happy watching Vijayashanti again. 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 chemistry with Mahesh will remind you of classic cartoon series Tom and Jerry. We also have a surprise in store for Krishna garu's fans. We have recreated one of his popular characters for a cameo and believe me, his presence is going to cause a frenzy among his fans.
Was directing Vijayashanti intimidating?
Not really. Even though it took some extra effort to convince her, she is a director's delight.
How was it working with Mahesh Babu?
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 looked after me as a brother and is a jovial person, a warm human being, and someone who always loves 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 Neekevvaru is going to be a milestone in my career.
Sarileru Neekevvaru is pitted against Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo this Sankranthi.
It's really special that we have four films including Sarileru Neekevvaru, Rajinikanth's Darbar, my first film hero Nandamuri Kalyan Ram's Entha Manchivaadavuraa, and Allu Arjun and Trivikram's Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo 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.
F3, a sequel for F2, is definitely on the cards. Contrary to speculations, I am not currently working on a film with Chiranjeevi garu. Given a chance, I will jump at the opportunity and will make a memorable film with him. However, I will make an announcement on my next in the coming weeks.