‘RX100’ was first narrated to Vijay Deverakonda: Director Ajay Bhupathi

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Released on Monday evening, the trailer of ‘RX100’, featuring fairly new faces Karthikeya and Paayal Rajput, went viral within no time. Add to maverick director Ram Gopal Varma endorsing it on his social media accounts, it managed to grab more eyeballs. Naturally, debutant director Ajay Bhupathi, who has assisted Varma for films like ‘Vangaveeti ‘and ‘Killing Veerappan’, is elated. “I’ve asked him to upload the trailer on Twitter only if he likes it. He seemed to have,” he says, “He left me a text saying, ‘It’s intense’.”

Drawn to films since childhood, the Konaseema guy, after completing his graduation, packed his bags to Hyderabad with mere Rs 3000 in his pocket to realise his filmmaking dreams. As he didn’t knew anyone in the industry, he developed contacts with aspiring actors and technicians before getting a chance to work as an assistant director for Ramesh Varma’s ‘Ride’. Soon other films like ‘Veera’ and ‘Doosukeltha’ followed. “I was one of the busiest assistant directors of the industry. The people who I worked under didn’t let me go as I was very fast with my work,” he asserts, adding that when he decided to become a director, he wanted to meet Varma first. “In fact, in my 10th standard itself, I told my friends that I’d meet Ram Gopal Varma one day but since I didn’t have any contacts, I couldn’t meet him as I began my journey in the industry. But after getting a certain experience as an assistant director, I managed to get a chance to work under him for ‘Attack’.”

He says impressed by his work ethics, Varma promoted him as chief associate director for ‘Killing Veerappan’. “The post was equivalent to a director and there were technicians from Mumbai who were in the running for it, but he offered it to me,” he exults, adding, “I’ve shot the introduction of Veerappan in the film.”

He admits Varma is a big influence on him, pointing out that he can go on and on to speak about what he learnt from him. “There’s no bigger director than him in India. He has started in 1989 and is still in the picture. He is my boss,” he raves, going on to explain that besides learning edit sense (while on sets), he learnt the art of making movies, using multiple cameras, at a good clip from Varma. “He told me, ‘If you have utmost clarity towards your story, you should become a director’. I simply followed his advice.”

He initially wanted the current sensation Vijay Deverakonda for ‘RX100’. “I’ve met him before ‘#Pellichoopulu’ went on to floors. I liked his performance and look in ‘Yevade Subramanyam’ and felt that he was tailor-made for my script. Since ‘RX100’ was completely different to that of ‘#Pellichoopulu’, he had his own doubts. He wanted to complete ‘#Pellichoopulu’ first before thinking of ‘RX100’ but after ‘#Pellichoopulu’ released, I didn’t meet him.”

Shot predominantly in Athreyapuram and Ramachandrapuram in 50 days, ‘RX100’, he promises, is a highly emotional love story which one hasn’t seen on Telugu screen till now. “There is a notion that Telugu audience will not encourage certain elements but I went ahead and included those elements, convinced that they would watch for sure if treated well,” he points out, further revealing that besides the lead cast, the film revolves around three other characters (played by Ramki, Rao Ramesh and Lakshman). Also, he adds that the romance one saw in the trailer is integral to the narrative.

The Yamaha bike that Karthikeya drives plays a prominent part in the film and Ajay admits that it turned out to be a gargantuan task to get the title ‘RX100’ – this despite his producer Ashok Reddy advising him to go for another title. Ajay met Chennai marketing head of RX100 thrice and though there was a communication gap, the RX representative relented after understanding his anguish. “The Japan headquarters were contacted later and they agreed to give me the permission. They couldn’t give Yamaha because of certain legal issues.”

— Nagaraj Goud

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