It came as a surprise when a press statement saying that top cinematographer VS Gnana Shekar is turning a producer with an untitled film, starring Shriya Saran and Niharika Konidela, reaching our mailbox on Monday. Turns out, Gnana Shekar, with one of the most eclectic resumes of cinematographers working in the business today, has been nursing production ambitions since long. It was just a matter of finding a right script. “There are different genres and as a technician I like something but it’s not necessary that I get it, right? This is a story that I felt would quench my creative needs and the moment I heard it, I decided to associate with it as a producer. It’s an emotionally arresting script, a space that I love,” he told us from the sets of the film that went to floors on Monday itself at Annapurna Studios, Hyderabad.
Given his tight schedule—he has just wrapped up a schedule of Sankalp Reddy’s space drama with Varun Tej and Aditi Rao Hydari and will begin work on Krish’s ‘NTR’ with Balakrishna soon —he has also decided to shoot his maiden production, directed by debutante Sujana, a Hyderabadi who learnt filmmaking ropes from New Delhi. Isn’t it tough? Also, the three films are different to each other? He admits that it’s new challenges that keep him going and Sujana’s script got stuck in his mind and there was no way that he could’ve given it to others. “I wanted to see the emotions myself and present them in a way they ought to be. I didn’t want a single change in the emotions,” he asserts, adding that the film will offer a real perspective on life. “I shot documentaries in the past to observe real emotions from close quarters and this film has such emotions in loads. It would mirror life, real one at it.”
Further, he continues, “As far as my film choices are concerned, I’ve always gone by his heart. After ‘Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum’, I waited for two years to come across an interesting script (which was ‘Malli Malli Idhi Raani Roju)’. I utilized the gap for painting,” informs Shekar whose works were recently displayed at Hyderabad.
While he is cagey about revealing the production venture’s basic story right now, he insists that it’s about three stories, while clearly indicating that they will not connect in the end. “The only connection to the stories is the Hyderabad city where the entire shoot will take place. We are shooting in a studio set up presently. It will be followed by shooting in open spaces. The idea is to wrap up the whole shoot in 30 days,” he points out, admitting that it is indeed easy to make a film these days but to release it, is a task. “I’ve made good friends in the industry and I’m sure they’ll help me out with the release,” he smiles.
Maestro Ilaiyaraaja, who has been quite choosy of late, is on board for the musical score and naturally the soft-spoken lensman is ecstatic. “We thought of multiple names before Sujana proposed the name of Ilaiyaraaja, to which I was like, ‘It’s difficult to convince that man na?’ I was sure that if he gets convinced, there was nothing like that because he’d compose for my visuals. She met and narrated him the script and he straightaway said he’s doing it,” he informs gleefully, further revealing that he’d be sending the first schedule footage to him shortly.