'Akhanda' will be released in theatres on December 2. Ahead of its release, producer Ravinder Reddy talks about the movie, working with the Balakrishna-Boyapati Sreenu duo,
'Akhanda' was launched in December 2019, much before coronavirus came into India. The shooting went on until recently. The production works were hindered by the lockdowns. Depending on how well the film performs in theatres, the future of Tollywood will be projected in the foreseeable future.
The original plan was to release the film in May last year. Even before the second lockdown, the entire shoot was completed barring a song or two. We received very good OTT offers as well. But 'Akhanda' is the kind of film that must be watched only on the big screen.
'Krack' received a tremendous response after the first lockdown. But the second wave was very severe. People have suffered personal tragedies. I am hoping that 'Akhanda' will revive the glory of Telugu cinema. I am hoping that our film will make everyone forget the ill effects of the pandemic.
We zeroed in on the release date only after prior consultation with distributors. The plan was to release the movie on December 24. They advised us to release on December 2. They wanted 'Akhanda' to be the first major release. Some industry elders, too, felt the same. Dil Raju garu too has postponed his 'F3' to February from Sankranthi.
'Akhanda' is a visual wonder that will captivate the audience right from the 15th minute till the end. The story comes first, the stars come next. Fans will only add to the reception.
The story of 'Akhanda' was prepared in 2014 with 'Mahajathakudu' as the working title. It took time for Boyapati Sreenu garu and Balayya garu to reunite after 'Legend'.
Aghora is not esoteric. Aghoras are selfless and their priorities are God, Nature and Dharma. A lot of portions had to be shot on set due to the pandemic. The climax was shot near Arunachalam. It's very rare to get permissions there. Thankfully, the state government and the Centre cooperated with us and gave permission. We feel lucky. The movie was shot also at several risky locations.
I can't speak enough about Balakrishna garu. He is different on and off screen. The scale of release that 'Akhanda' is getting overseas is unprecedented for a Balakrishna garu's movie. The response from centres such as Melbourne is huge.
We have taken into consideration the ticket price issue in Andhra Pradesh. We have given discounts to distributors. We requested the government to hike the ticket prices. But the government has its own logic. Whatever it may be, we have to respect the decisions taken by a government that has the public mandate.
The pre-release event will be held on November 27. We had planned a huge event to be held at an open ground. But since Balakrishna garu recently underwent surgery, we chose Shilpa Kala Vedika as the venue.
Srikanth garu has played a negative role. After 'Legend', Jagapathi Babu garu's career was catapulted to the next level. Something similar will happen for Srikanth garu now.
Thaman believed in the story more than us. He gave the best output. After the film releases, everyone is going to talk about his music. Pragya Jaiswal has got a full-length role in the film.