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Interview with Ravi Babu
Date: 19 September 2012, Hyderabad
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Ravi Babu’s latest thriller Avunu is releasing on 21 September 2012. He has done a few experiments with camera and lighting. He has created a unique poster design to create curiosity for the film. Here are the excepts of an exclusive interview to -

Tell us about the poster design of Avunu and what it represents?

If you look at my earlier thrillers like Anasuya, I had a blood stained Bhumika Chawla carrying a piece of glass. That poster gives us an idea that it’s a thriller. Since I had used such posters in the past, I wanted the concept of Avunu poster to be different.

Visual metaphor for 'damsel in distress'
I created a visual metaphor for the theme of my film using this poster. I got this idea out of blue and I wanted a gigantic animal holding a terrified girl in hands. When I wanted gigantic animal, names like dinosaur, gorilla etc came in my head. But these animals are much used in Hollywood flicks. If I use dinosaur or gorilla, they will immediate draw parallels to Hollywood films like Jurassic Park, King Kong etc. Hence I have chosen elephant which closely represents India. This poster is basically a metaphor for ‘damsel in distress’.

Used 50 elephant photos to create standing elephant
I have searched for images of elephants on internet and didn’t find any image that has a standing elephant like we have in our poster. Hence we have bought over 50 images of elephants in different poses. I called a visual artist and made him draw an image of elephant holding a girl. We use that drawing as the base and recreated it by using various parts of various elephant images. Since these images were shot using different light schemes, we had to convert all the image into one lighting scheme befor cutting each part, posture to make what you see in the poster. We used ropes for heroine and shot the image of terrified lady. There by we achived photo-realism. This thing would not have possible 10 years back.

Avunu idea
The triggering point to the story of the film is derived from an experience narrated by my earlier film Nuvvila’s heroine Yami Gowtam. She said that she got a spooky feeling that some invisible man is observing her when he shifted to a new flat. She immediately vacated it. After listening to her experience, I went to Sitara hotel in Ramoji Film City to stay. I too though about that concept and felt the wierd feeling of some invisible person is watching me. I vacated the hotel room in midnight after 1 am drove to my home. I have never stayed in that hotel later. That was the triggering point for my story. The feeling of somebody watching us and we unable to watch them is a spooky feeling. There was no such full-fledged Telugu film so far. It is a challenging task to have an invisible man as adversary. But I am confident that we pulled it off well. Since it is a new concept, I made sure that the story is dealt in a simple way. However, I didn’t compromise on narration and style.

Static camera
When we see thrillers, you observe the director playing around with camera movements to create an effect. In Avunu film, camera is static. Camera never moves. I tried to emulate the naked eye while shooting the film. We have actors moving around, but not camera. Hence no trolleys, zooming lenses etc were used. We have recently screened it to friends. They liked the photography and said that framing is good. Nobody noticed it untill I told that that there are no camera movements in the movie.

Experiments with light
If you look at thriller/horror films, they do play around with darkness to create fear. But Avunu film was shot in broad day light. I always wonder why movies show spirits in night. What would spirits be doing in day light?

No songs
There are no songs in this film as I though songs will kill the movie. Sekhar Chandra came up with a fantastic background score. The runtime of the movie is 1 hour and 50 minutes. It will be 2 hours if you include interval. Initially I wanted this film to be of 1 hour and 30 minutes without interval. But, opined that such format may be too radical for regular Telugu film goers.

I want block life time dates of Poorna
This film has Poorna and Harsha Vardhan Rane doing main leads. They do the roles of newly wedding couple moved into a new apartment. Harsha Vardhan Rane has done a couple of films like Thakita Thakita and Naa ishtam in the past. Poorna made her debut with Allari Naresh’s Seema Tapakai. She has given terrific performance and blew my mind away. I want to block all her dates for my future films - she is so good.

Tell us about economics of film?
The Telugu and Tamil versions of Avunu was shot under 50 working days. But it was post-production that took a lot of time. We had to create many shots and things during post production stage and it took us 3 months. The computer graphics in this film are going to be realistic. PVP is planning to release Tamil version at a later point of time.

What is your next film?
It is going to be a rocking entertainer with universal comedy. That film will have visual, situational and dialogue comedy in equal proportions. I want to connect with kids to old people using that film. I am in final stages of scripting and will announce more details later.

interviewed by Jeevi

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