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Gradual route to Sahi Suresh’s success

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Thirty five years old Suresh Babu Katta is known as Sahi Suresh to industry people. Hailing from Madanpalli, with no background in the industry, it was his curiosity to be part of film sets that ensured his introduction to an associate art director Murali, later to Pekati Ranga and so on. The latest jewel to his crown promises to be Krish’s Kanche, a period film set during the World War II, essentially a dream scenario for an art director to work on. He took a lot of time to get noticed, but once as he settled down, he ensured great output in his role with limited budget films like Karthikeya, Venkatadri Express and Saroccharu. On the other front, when he has had scale on his side, he didn’t disappoint with Malli Malli and One too. His journey, as he unveils, is gradual yet intriguing enough, all in an exclusive conversation with Telugu360.com

How did the journey in cinema, specifically art direction begin? What were your interests?

I discontinued my graduation and shifted to films. Father would work in the irrigation department and we would move from place to place and finally settled down in Kurnool. While I was studying in Kurnool, I would watch many films, even from the 8th and 9th standard. I saw Bhairavadveepam around 100 times, it influenced and inspired me. At that time, I did not know there was something called an art department. We shifted to Hyderabad later and pursuing films became easier although I did not have any connections in the film industry. My parents insisted I study but my mind was fixed on this. I would read news reports of shootings taking place here and there in the city and would go to that place and merely watch the shoot progress. Once I went to Film Nagar too and in this process, was acquainted to Murali, an associate art director and my rapport with him improved. He introduced me to Pekati Ranga, an art director. I decided I have to work here in the art department. I recalled the art direction of Pekati Ranga who worked on Bhairavadveepam and luckily I got an opportunity to work with him in his team as an assistant, not an assistant art director. It was a big team and he was a busy technician and around 9 films were on sets at that time. My aim was to make him address me with my name and then I came to a position where I was given a chance to do art direction for a project individually. That’s how my journey in art direction began. I struggled to get work for three years as an assistant, that is to join his team.

What ensured your growth in the industry?

My friend Narayana Reddy, art director and me moved together for Chitram. Nuvvu Nenu, Family Circus, Okarikokaru, Yeh Dil and Bagireedha followed. With this, I got some recognition. Gemini Kiran introduced me to art director Ashok Kumar, who was the best in the industry. He helped in getting Shankardada MBBS, where I worked as an assistant art director. I worked with Ashok Kumar in a few films and even with Anand Sai and Bhupesh (Malleswari and Anaganaga Oka Dheerudu). Rajeevan who is now working with Trivikram’s project is a famous art director, and I got to work with him as an assistant art director for Oye. I got a call from Aswani Dutt who had plans to make me an art director for Saaroccharu. I was working at that time for Sakthi for which Anand Sai was art director. He saw my skill and talent and called me when I was doing 1, Sukumar’s film. I did 8 films as a art director. Karthikeya, Malli Malli, Beeruva, Venkatadri Express, Daguda Muta Dhandakor and Kanche.

Some memories from what you’ve worked on?

Sarocchara was done in low budget and I gave them good output. During the editing time, Chandoo Mondeti took me as art director for Karthikeya. We had to do it in a low budget and give a better output. It gave me a recognition, Garbha Gudi set was put up for Karthikeya. Then Gemini Kiran gave me Venkatadri Express. Malli Malli Idhi Rani Roju was my next. Films are team work. It depends on the director as to how much he extracts the work from me. We too give our inputs. I always think I should give the best output but sometimes if you do the film within the budget, there is a risk of being called unskilled. One shouldn’t blame the art director for over budget, he does it according to the director’s requirement. If you see a rich couple going in a small car, does it look good? We find a better alternatives always and there are quite a few discussions. You have to give the requirement as per the character. Our films are unrealistic and have a look at other films like Marathi movie Court which reached Oscar nomination. The house sets on beach in Oye and Malli Malli Idhi Rani Roju got flak for being deserted and solo on the beach but also got appreciation from certain quarters. After the film released a lot of people asked for the sets to shoot their film.

On surviving as an art director and if CG is a threat to their profession?

Art directors are great visionaries. They design to a great extent and only if they feel that the CG is necessary they recommend it. CG is very necessary, but not all films can be Rudramadevi and Bahubali. Digital technology can never replace art directors. Directors visualise the CG before itself and make the artistes perform, infact the demand for art directors will rise in the future. Venkatadri Express, everything was shot in RFC. We had to create different villages on one platform. In the office, we put up a map of Venkatadri Express, what time the train stops at each village and planned the film. Different images of each village was created, the shops, posters etc would be changed on the platform. Shakti and Anaganaga Oka Dheerudu gave enough experience. Sets which are not related to the story or scenes is not art direction. For example, if there is a death scene going on, it is not right to have bright colours in the background. The colours, objects divert your mind. Art direction many think is about colourful song sets and that is not at all true. People tend to think that way because we see a lot of commercial cinema. People are very smart and they know which set or location is being repeated. So we have to constantly be on our toes. Since we are going abroad, it is better if we choose a different country. Also, there should be a perfect coordination between DoP and art director. How much ever nicely you design, it is the cinematographer who elevates it. Director will be busy with other things.

How did Kanche happen?

I was doing Dagudamuta Dhandakor and Krish roped me in Kanche. He rose to great heights and has encouraged me too. Kanche trailer got me great compliments. Just not Georgia, we did a lot more in India to recreate history.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Kanche censor done, gets appreciation from the board

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Mega hero Varun Tej‘s upcoming war drama, Kanche, completed its censor just a few minutes ago. The censor board issued a U/A certificate for the film. Reports state that the board members appreciated the content in the film.

Creative filmmaker Krish is the director for the film. Young girl Pragya Jaiswal is the film’s leading actress. Chirantan Bhatt composed the music and the audio is getting a decent response for the nostalgic appeal in the lyrics. Rajeev Reddy is producer for the film. The film is slated to hit the screens during Diwali.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Hardwork behind Pragya Jaiswal’s dream debut

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Pragya Jaiswal is another addition to the long list of models who have turned actors. She promises of having her own identity and seemingly has only one distant relative who’s into films, barring a strictly academic family. However, she earned permission to explore this side of the world too, ultimately landing up at the audition of Gabbar is Back, where she was rejected. However, the good news was in wraps for a while. Krish had her in mind for another film, which happened to be Kanche and she was quite surprised to receive a call from the producer. She auditioned yet again but there was no looking back since then. In a conversation with Telugu360.com, she calls her role in the film, Sita Devi, a dream and feels, its her hardwork with the team support which made all of this possible.

The hardwork behind her appearance:

I would like to believe that I am tailor made for this but to be honest I have put in a lot of hard work. The entire team has worked hard to make me look the royal and regal girl from 1930s, a Sita Devi look believable and convincing. Obviously this is how I look, but the role really suited me. Initially, I too had my doubts but later I was very happy. I am excited that I am looking like the part that was expected.

Her background and entry into films:

I was born in Madhya Pradesh and we moved to Pune later. My schooling, college and modelling started there. I did not take it seriously and also my family is remotely connected with cinema but for some distant relative. Acting and modelling were never career options. It has been a natural progression. I had it in me but I didn’t know I could do it. At last, with my family’s permission, I could actually take a step towards it. I was always a dancer and would perform plays in school and college. Since I was into modelling, many doors opened and that’s how the journey began .

In films, you never know what works out, when and how. For me, it all just happened, there was never so much planning and strategising. I had actually auditioned for Gabbar Is Back and it never happened. One day, I got a call from the producer Rajeev Reddy. Maybe, Krish sir had me in the back of his mind as he liked my audition. I was very excited and I have seen quite a few friends in South films doing very well. For me, language is not a big deal as long as you are doing good work. I had to audition again for the Telugu film though the first audition helped. I did a small film in Hindi and Telugu and that time I did not know I wanted to really act. That little experience helped me understand the technicalities of film shoot.

On the sets of Kanche:

Here, everything is so unpredictable and you never know what can happen and where life can take you, so just keep working. It is actually a period film that happens during 1930 and eight years from then and how the two characters fall in love. Dhupati Hari Babu and Sita Devi study in the same college. The love story is happening in the backdrop of World War II. Hari Babu goes to a war which is about the world at large and a village too. The title is Kanche and how people create fences between each other and not what God has created; how we create differences between caste, creed, sex, rich and poor. It is a bigger meaning and a bigger message. My story is very integral to the war, Krish Sir has the knack to bring a lot of metaphorical connection to various stories and lives.

About the experience with the film’s team and the role:

I have seen Krish sir’s films like Vedam, that made me cry. They have a meaning and a message. Varun Tej is just not good looking but a good actor and has completely fit into Hari Babu’s image. He has two different phases, once when he is a young boy, then in college and how he transforms into an Army man. Varun Tej is tall and I am tall too but he had to bend a bit for me.

Getting into the skin of her part

So early in my career, am getting a hard core and yet unconventional role. It was a dream come true. The name is normal 75 years ago, Rajakonda Sita Devi is a big Zamindar’s daughter, very rich, goes to college, sweet, innocent and falls in love. She has strong values, doesn’t adhere to society’s rules and regulations and has her own mind, beliefs and principles, even if the world goes against her. The expression of love at that time is completely different then, very subtle and very intense, cannot be expressed in words. It is slightly different from what we see today. My costumes are done by Aishwarya, the producer’s wife. They went all out to research and also struck a balance between reality and cinema. They did not want to go too far and make it unreachable.

We first shot in Hyderabad, sets like Madras Cultural Club, before Independence with jazz music. Sita Devi was way ahead of her time, in terms of thinking, dressing, outgoing. On her birthday, she goes to the club like what you saw in the trailer. The era so authentic with the chandeliers and the pianos. Baba Sir recreated it so well. There was a palace, like a house where we stayed, me and my family. We also went to villages like Palakollu, Thatipaka, because they had the Brahmin houses which looked authentic. The second schedule was in the villages. Then a big period was in Georgia, where the war sequences was shot including the songs. The equipment war, actual guns, artillery, tanks were found there. You increase your knowledge as an actor with this. Even if my history is not brushed up, you have a great team to help you with it.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Kanche postponed to November

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Mega hero Varun Tej‘s upcoming war drama, Kanche, has been postponed to November 6th. The film was to release on October 2nd, but the makers now decided to push it to November as a Diwali treat for the audience.

The post production work is going on at a brisk pace and the audio was launched recently in Hyderabad. Creative filmmaker Krish is the director for the film and young svelte Pragya Jaiswal is the heroine in the film. Chirantan Bhatt is the music composer for the film. Set against the backdrop of World War II, Kanche promises to be an emotional tale of a young and brave soldier who took part in the historical war.

Rajeev Reddy and Krish have jointly produced the film on First Frame Entertainment banner.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Kanche audio release in Vizag on September 17th

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Mega Prince Varun Tej‘s second film in the direction of Krish is set to start its promotion campaign from September 17th with its audio function. Audio launch event of this film will be held in Port Stadium, Vizag. Whole Kanche unit and few celebrities will be in attendance for this function. Incidentally, Vizag is the place where a bomb which was to be dropped on Japan accidentally fell and has historical significance and connection to the film.

Kanche has music scored by Bollywood composer Chirantan Bhatt who earlier scored music for Krish’s Gabbar Is Back. Many foreign technecians are working on this project. Krish, Producers Rajeev Reddy and Sai Babu Jagarlamudi are planning to release the film on October 2nd 2015.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

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