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Interview with Anand Ranga
Date: July 10, 2009, Hyderabad
anand ranga

Anand Ranga belongs to the band of directors who got inspiration from Ram Gopal Varma’s Shiva to get into film line. In a stage when Telugu film industry is cruising through routine commercial elements and mindless entertainment, Anand Ranga chose a tragic love story to make his debut as director with Oy! film. Oy! film generated the biggest openings in the career of Siddharth. Here is an exclusive interview with Anand Ranga

I was born and raised in Hyderabad. I did my graduation in computers and then went on to do my Diploma in Film Technology specializing in Direction & Screenplay Writing from Film & Television Institute of Tamilnadu, Chennai. when I was in my 10th standard, I happened to watch the shooting of a film in Key's High School, Secunderabad. Nagarjuna pulling out the chain from a fallen down cycle and rolling it around his fingers... the film was Shiva, the director was RGV and the scene was the most famous scene in the film. the direction bug got into me immediately and very interestingly the first thought that came to mind was to go to the film institute and get trained. I did my graduation only because the eligibility to get into Pune Film Institute was graduation. But there was a mixup with the application and i ended up joining the Adyar Film Institute, chennai. The 3 years at the institute were really very useful for me. I got exposure to world cinema and groomed myself well. there are no great lecturers, no state-of-the-art equipment... but those years in such an ambience made a lot of difference. This DVD culture started very recently... by being in the film institute we were able to watch some of the greatest classics on the big screen and were able to understand cinema much better.

When i was in my final year, i was interviewed and selected to assist Mr. Kamal Hassan on a very prestigious project 'Marudanayagam'. The project got delayed and i moved back to my hometown, Hyderabad. I approached Mr. Jayanth C Paranjee and he readily hired me as AD. but there was a delay in starting his next project and he forwarded my resume to Mr. Suresh Babu as he was looking for an Institute graduate to work for Suresh Productions. I met Mr. Suresh Babu on Dec 31st 1999 and he asked me to join him immediately. So the new millenium brought a major change in my life and i was proud to be Associate Director at Suresh Productions, Ramanaidu Studios. this was a new institute in my life. I am so lucky to have joined a place which had everything related to pre-production, production and post-production in-house. i learned the art of making films completely there. Mr. Suresh Babu is a genious and am proud to have been trained under him. More than a Film Institute, i would strongly recommend all upcoming film makers to get trained under Mr. Suresh Babu. I worked on 'Jayam Manadera', 'Nuvvu Leka Nenu Lenu', 'Gemeni' & 'Neeku Nenu Naaku Nuvvu' at Suresh Productions.

I had only one dream in my life... to be a director at age 27. Why? Because RGV made Shiva when he was 27. While i was working at Suresh Productions, I got a call from RGV asking me to direct a film for his production house (an institute friend, cameraman Kiran Reddy suggested my name to RGV). I was 27 then and felt it was a perfect launch for me. i spent some 10 months with RGV and developed a script but the film did not take off due to various reasons.

Baskar and me were batch-mates at the film institute and when he was making his first film, I started to work with him. Baskar and me are real good friends and he continues to inspire me everyday.

During Bommarillu, i met Siddharth. Now this guy is an addiction. He is just perfect. I can bet, anyone who works with him cannot even imagine working with anyone else. His knowledge of cinema is immense. He gave me this dream debut called oy! I wrote this script for him and couldnt have made it with anyone else. I am really really gifted to have been able to make my first film with Siddharth. What an actor he is... simply superb.

How did Oy project happen?
Siddharth and me connected well during Bommarillu. Cameraman Vijay K Chakravarthi, Chaitanya Dantuluri, Siddharth and me spent a lot of time together. Post Bommarillu, i started to pitch script ideas to Siddharth. He liked this particular script idea and i developed it further. That is how Oy! happened.

Don’t you think directing a movie with tragic ending is risky in Telugu?
There is nothing that is not risky in this business. if someone in the industry knows that so and so script will work 100%, then he/she is God. Almost everyone who heard the script in the initial stages thought that the ending was a bit risky. but as this script is semi-biographical for me, I just went ahead. I believe that anything that is made with full conviction will definitely work. Siddharth & cameraman Vijay K Chakravarthi gave me full support for this script right from the beginning. The telugu audience have proved that there is no risk involved for any kind of script, they just want to see good films.

How did you arrive at casting for the movie?
This is a tailor-made role for Siddharth and he has taken the film to a different level with his performance. We were looking for a new girl and came across Shamilee. She is a national award winning child-artiste and i need not explain any further. I am thankful to Krishnudu for doing this film as i had written this role for him before 'Vinayakudu' released. He agreed to do it even after 'vinayakudu' went on to become a big hit. He has done a wonderful job in my film. Sunil is very close to me and i am very very happy that he did this film for me. He is the best and knows his job. Sapthagiri is like my younger brother and has done a wonderful job in this film. Though mr. jeevi would disagree, I feel Nepoleon was perfect casting for the character. Surekha Vani was superb and so were the kids Srilekha, Harshitha & Nandini. Tanikella Bharani garu was perfect. Ravi Kondala Rao garu is an excellent actor and Radha Kumari garu was superb. There was no other alternative for the role of Ras Bihari and Pradeep Rawat did a great job. I would like to appologize to MS Narayana garu, Ali garu and Master Bharath as i had to trim their portions due to length issues.

If you post-mortem the movie and analyse it what do you think are the positive and negative points of the movie?
positive points i wouldnt want to elaborate on... but i have learned that i should stick to the main plot and not try to deviate from it just to make the film more entertaining.

Tell us the scenes which you liked the most in the movie?

  • Hero's father death scene
  • Hero-heroine meeting scene
  • Hero convincing heroine to take him as paying guest
  • Hero proposing to heroine
  • Hero & heroine talking about 'thali'
  • Clock tower scene
  • Sunil-Pradip Rawat ringtone scene
  • Christmas scene
  • Hospital scene
  • Heroine proposing to hero scene are my favorites.

Tell us the scenes which could have been done better?
second half travel episode

What is the role of Siddharth in the movie apart from acting and producing the album?
After Siddharth liked the script, he set up everything else for me to make this film. As a bonus, Siddharth gave me the perfect technicians for this film (I cannot imagine making a film without Music Director Yuvan Shankar Raja, Cameraman Vijay K Chakravarthi, Writer Sasi Rajasimha, Art Director Rajeevan & Publicity Designers Anil-Bhanu). I will give Siddharth major credit for whatever is good in the film; whatever is bad is because of me. He corrected me whenever i went off-track. The result of his complete involvement in this film is the music. He is a great asset for oy! Above all, I am very thankful to Siddharth for giving me a producer like DVV Danayya who never hesitated to spend and gave me whatever i wanted for the project.

What is the feedback you are getting about Oy?
They are saying that it took the biggest opening in Siddharth's career. Housefull collections till date. The film is a hit.

Being a trained student of films, do you think that academic training helps in moviemaking?
It really helps. If you are thorough with the basics, it will be easy to explore newer dimensions of film-making.

Can you suggest any books on moviemaking?
Grammer of film language, Five C's of cinematography, Grammer of the edit, Alfred Hitchcock's interview (dont remember the name), Syd Field's Problem Solver.

Who are your favourite directors?
Akira Kurosawa, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean, Maniratnam & Ram Gopal Varma

Which are your favourite movies?
The Godfather, Seven Samurai, Roja & Shiva... and plenty more.

What are your future projects?
I am in discussions to make a movie for my home banner Suresh Productions. A friend Sunitha and me are producing a film with Raj Pippalla as director under our banner Guru Films.

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A Raja Sekhar (Director)
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Geetha Madhuri (Playback Singer)
Namitha (Actress)
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