'Missing' is going to be released in theatres on November 19. In this interview, director Srini Josyula talks about the thriller, what is unique about it, his struggles to complete the movie during the pandemic, the increased budget, working with actors Harsha Narra and others, and more. He was trained in a film school and had his share of rejections from several actors. At one point, Srini was frustrated. But he is now happy that 'Missing' is receiving critical acclaim.
Executive Producer Kiran said, "I, Harsha Narra and the director have been good friends since the film school days. We worked in unison and worked really hard. I have given my best shot. Since it's a first-time production project, it has been a great learning experience. 'Missing' was done for a theatrical experience. That's why we refused a number of OTT offers. The twists in 'Missing' are going to thrill the audience."
We see 'Aparichitudu' shots in the beginning and ending of the movie. I had learned that great screenplays begin and end with similar shots. That's what I have implemented in writing 'Missing'.
I wrote a thriller with a vengeance after several rejections. A thriller can be made on a small budget and most sections of the audience like the genre.
Actor Harsha Narra and others were selected after much thought. Harsha has been a good friend. Nikessha was selected because she could make us tear up in the audition. Also, we couldn't find a suitable Telugu-speaking actress for the role of the hero's girlfriend. Misha Narang looks both serious and bubbly. She is an extraordinary performer.
When we started out, the budget was very limited. Due to the pandemic, we couldn't complete the film in time. The shoot was pending to the tune of 10 days when the pandemic happened. Had it not been for the pandemic, we would have been able to wrap up the shoot within the planned budget of Rs 80 lakh. We then realized that the costs would go up. Rs 1.20 Cr was the next figure. We had chosen a fight master and we had to reshoot the action scenes after a failed attempt at action scenes. This is when Satish Master was roped in. Because of the earlier botch-up, two days and four call sheets were wasted. A single-shot fight was planned but it didn't turn out the way we wanted.
Bunny Vasu garu is supporting us with the release. Our movie is coming out in about 100 theatres in the Telugu States. Asian Cinemas is releasing it in Telangana.
Ajay Arasada's BGM is superb in the movie. Had it not been for his music, 'Missing' wouldn't have been this good. When he came out with a tune, even the office boys were made to listen and give their feedback.
In the film industry, your talent speaks for you. A film like 'Agent Sai Srinivas Athreya' was made by newcomers. Actor Ramdutt, who is seen as a police officer in 'Missing', was seen in 'ASSA'. He came on board after he fell in love with the story. Someone else dubbed for him. He learned the Telugu lines diligently for the shoot.
After Wednesday's premieres, the media members complimented us even though none of them know of us. They might have watched the show with zero expectations. After the show, they complimented us. Shiva Balaji garu, Chandoo Mondeti garu, and K Vijaya Bhaskar garu (of 'Nuvvu Naku Nacchav' fame) gave us compliments.
My next film is likely to be a love story with a difference. I have dream heroes of my own, such as Nani and Prabhas.
The likes of Chiranjeevi and Balakrishna wouldn't have been this huge without theatres. OTTs will kill cinema if we keep watching all movies at home. My first love will always be theatres. OTTs don't kill piracy. In fact, you can watch OTT releases on Telegram within hours with quality print. A large section of audience members love theatres to the core. OTTs are not a sin. But theatres must occupy the first place.