Vinod Ananthoju is the debutant director of 'Middle Class Melodies', which will stream on Amazon Prime from November 20. In an exclusive interview with Ragalahari, the youngster talks about his background, the uniqueness of the film and more. Starring Anand Deverakonda and Varsha Bollamma, the film is a comedy drama
My journey so far:
I was brought up in Guntur. I worked at a software company for seven years. Parallelly, I made a few short films in 2012. I resigned from the job and made attempts in the film industry. It took me three years to bag the first opportunity. 'Suryam' brought me a lot of appreciation from the audience. My entry into the film industry wasn't smooth. Once the producers of 'Middle Class Melodies' liked my story and decided to produce, things fell into place.
A relatable story
The story is relatable in that it is about the lives of middle-class people. A number of producers I had met to narrate the story felt that there are no fights and regular elements in the story. Although they liked the story, they didn't want to produce the movie for that reason. V Anand Prasad garu of Bhavya Creations, on the other hand, decided to bankroll it because he loved the story.
New, dedicated actors
Although most of the actors who have worked on 'MCM' are new, they are all dedicated. The artists who have played the parents of the lead pair are passionate. They are new and they gave their best. They would come fully prepared to the sets.
Portraying life in Guntur
I hail from Guntur and that's why my story is set in that town. The characters I have written are inspired by real-life characters who have lived in Guntur for decades. That's why they look real.
The hero's father has been played by Gopiraju Ramana. He is a reputed theatre artist, whom I spotted while he was doing a play. He has got a strong role in the movie. You are going to remember him long after watching the movie.
Working during the pandemic
By the time COVID-19 set its foot in India, we completed the shoot. Post-production works were completed during the lockdown. Crew members took all the precautions. We coordinated between ourselves on video calls. All this took more time than usual.
Music and songs
Sweekar Agasthi is a brilliant music director who has done 'Care Of Kancharapalem' in the past. As the title itself has 'Melodies' in it, he has given superb songs. There are five songs in total. Kittu Vissapragada's lyrics in the Guntur song are superb. RH Vikram, who comes from Kollywood, has given background music.
A memorable experience in Guntur
Working on the movie has made me realize that there is so much to learn. I will be more careful next time. Ninety percent of the movie was shot in Guntur and a nearby village. For 10 days, we were on the roads shooting for some important scenes. We didn't have the resources to control the crowds. So, we had to shoot the scenes without the knowledge of the locals.
OTT gives us an edge
I hope the OTT release is going to help me a great deal. Non-Telugus, too, will be watching my movie now. It will release in so many countries. That way, it's an advantage for me.
Favourite filmmakers and inspirations
I have many favourite directors. I prefer RGV garu at times. I am fond of Bapu garu's nuances. Tharun Bhascker, Venkatesh Maha, Vivek Atreya, RSJ Swaroop have done a nice job with their films. I have known some of them since the time of short film days. Novels have inspired me more than films. I have always been a good reader from childhood. The novels inspired me to tell stories instead of aspiring to work with this or that actor.