Cinematographer Chota K Naidu awaits the theatrical release of 'Peddha Kapu 1' on September 29. Directed by Srikanth Addala, the film stars debutant Virat Karrna as the hero.
In this interview, Naidu talks about his approach to films. "The story takes off around the time when NT Rama Rao founded the TDP," reveals the cinematographer.
I was the cinematographer for Srikanth Addala's first movie, 'Kotha Bangaru Lokam'. Since then, he has always narrated his scripts to me whether or not I am the cinematographer. I liked the script of 'Peddha Kapu 1' so much that I wanted to be its director of photography.
This is a new style of film that you are going to see. The frames, the colour palette - everything has been done with so much diligence. VV Vinayak has watched a few scenes and he was bowled over by the visual flavour. Without Addala's support, I wouldn't have been able to pull off such high-quality work. If I could do great, that's because of my director. If the director has a certain vision in mind, I, as a cinematographer, have a vision too. I work with equal passion whoever may be the hero.
The character played by Anasuya Bharadwaj is unanticipated. You are going to see a new Anasuya in the movie. She nailed it with her performance. The way the characters have been designed by Addala helped her and others do their best.
Virat Karrna is a newcomer and yet, he has done it like an experienced artist. Dwaraka Creations has spent about Rs 40 Cr. Any other producer would have spent only 1/4th on this script. The hero is producer Miryala Ravinder Reddy's brother-in-law.
There is a scene in which a woman hangs herself to a tree in the village. The scene involved some rare camera techniques. One thousand junior artists joined the shoot. They and the woman were in a more or less same position throughout the day's shoot. Hats off to them for exhibiting so much patience.
In the digital era, anybody can be a cinematographer. But only a few individuals are capable of doing it the right way. And only those technicians survive and thrive. Others will fade away.
We have shot a lot of portions in the no-man's land. The hero and his gang's perseverant efforts to hoist a flag at a particular spot in the village is what the story is about. There is a particular scene in which a huge tree has to be uprooted and translocated. That is an episode I can be proud of. Had it not been for the director and action director Peter Hein's work, I wouldn't have been able to do it that well.
This film has nothing to do with the beats of 'Rangasthalam'. The story is completely different.
As a cinematographer, I have my own sense of script judgement. I do share my opinions about what exactly I didn't like in a story. I don't go beyond. If I was capable, I would have been a filmmaker myself. If I like a subject, I do my best to take the film to the next level as a DoP. I don't believe in experimenting with new equipments. Just because something is trendy in the market, I don't use that camera.
There was a time when a song would be shot in one day flat. An NTR song for which I worked as an apprentice was shot in just one day. Three costume changes and the song was done. These days, a song shoot takes several days. As a technician, I have to accept the evolving practices. I shouldn't attempt to bring about changes.
In recent times, I have loved 'Jawan' and 'Jailer' a great deal. I am not a film critic. I enjoy entertainers as an audience member. I watch movies all alone. I always try to learn something new from movies. I book two tickets. The seat next to me has to be vacant so I don't get distracted by people using their mobile.
These days, producers and directors are watching OTT content to spot new cinematographers who can fit their kind of stories.