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Interview of director Damu Balaji about 'Nayeem Diaries'

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'Nayeem Diaries' tells the life saga of gangster Nayeem. The film will be released in theatres on December 10. Directed by Damu Balaji, it has Vasishta Simha as the lead man. In this interview, the director talks about why the film is special, its wide span, and more. Also featuring Yagna Shetty, Divi, Baahubali Nikhil, Sashi Kumar, Jabardasth Phani and others, the film has cinematography by Suresh Bhargav. Music is by Arun Prabhakar.

 Excerpts:

If I can execute my vision perfectly, that's deemed a success. It worked on RGV garu's 'Killing Veerappan'. 'Nayeem Diaries' was written under his aegis in 2016 actually. I eventually wielded the megaphone because he couldn't take up the project.


The title owes its inspiration to films like 'Angamalay Diaries'.
The film is a chronicle of Nayeem's life. There is so much material in Nayeem's life. That's why RGV garu wanted to do it in three parts. I even wrote it as a web series. But I eventually made it a feature-length film.


The film opens with a fake encounter and Nayeem's voice-over.
The film ends with an actual encounter. I have learned this structure from Martin Scorsese. The timelines jump and how Nayeem took to Naxalism are also explored. How he ended up in jail and what he did for seven years there is also shown. Even when he was in jail, Nayeem carried Naxal activities. His sister acted as a courier. At one point, she even carried a snake into the jail.


Nayeem loved the People's War Group more than his mother.
He used to play with snakes and used to hang a snake around the neck of those who were mischievous. He was impulsive and militant in nature even as a teenager.


I have a few stories in mind and they all have the backdrop of Naxalism
. It depends on destiny whether I will do them.


In real life, the police snuff out the mad dog and the public is happy that the mad dog is gone.
They spare the good dog. A lot of stuff that the media reported about Nayeem was fictional. My film shows the background of Nayeem and what he did. You are going to see a new Nayeem. My film doesn't say that Nayeem was not a criminal. He was a criminal.


In 1996, I wrote a book of poems,
whose foreword triggered a controversy because I waged a finger at the flaws of the Naxal movement. The progressive movement was split due to the row. Had the leadership of Naxalism not done blunders, Nayeem might have remained a Naxalite. 'Nayeem Diaries' has no soft corner for anybody.


The producer, CA Varada Raju, has been a friend for 15 years.
He gave me the freedom to come up with any subject that I like.

Updated on December 8, 2021