Director Sailesh Kolanu says that he was not overwhelmed by Venkatesh's stardom while doing 'Saindhav', the actor's milestone film (his 75th). The action thriller hits the cinemas on January 13.
In this interview, the young director says that every key character in 'Saindhav' is communicating something. It reflects the voice of kids suffering from terminal illnesses and their parents within the canvas of commercial cinema. "That said, this is not preachy. I have taken a lot of cinematic liberty as well," Kolanu adds.
I and Venkatesh sir had a couple of informal meetings before we decided on working together. When I pitched 'Saindhav', he knew that it would be the best bet for his 75th movie. After the storyline was okayed, I worked on the script for 45 days.
Stardom works only in generating FDFS collections. After that, it is the story that matters. 'Saindhav' is one of those films where the story is meaty. This is my 3rd film and I am on a hat-trick. Yet, that's not how I see it. I have not taken any mental pressure on myself. I wrote the story sincerely.
While being larger-than-life, it is still tight. There are no set pieces and everything is involving. You will find it arresting throughout. Three-fourths of the film takes place at night. Once the key characters are established, the pacing turns racy.
Suresh Babu sir did listen to the script before the film was taken to the floors. I have always looked up to him. His experience is vast. When something is lacking in logic, he questions the director. As someone from an academic background, I enjoy it when someone asks rigorous questions. 'Saindhav' impressed him so much that he gave the nod in a single sitting. I enjoyed the fact that he took notes while listening to the script.
'Saindhav' is more emotional than my previous two films, which were more of investigative procedurals/thrillers. Arya, Andrea Jeremiah and Ruhani Sharma have extended cameos in the film. Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Shraddha Srinath have full-fledged roles.
Kamal Haasan sir's 'Hey Ram' is the reason I wanted to become a filmmaker. I was amazed by that film. I have always been a fan of Kamal sir. After working with Venkatesh sir, I have become a huge fan of him also!
My skill, I think, comes from my commonsense. My logic is that an actor's energy shouldn't be wasted. I have to spend it as a precious resource. I don't waste resources. I plan the shot division thoroughly with my cinematographer.
A flashback needs to be propelling in nature. It has to take the story forward. The backstory in 'Saindhav' is going to be unique. You won't find it a hindrance.
Drug cartels, weapons smuggling and such scandals are part of the story. But the story unfolds in the backdrop of a consignment delivery assignment. It's a huge thing and I didn't want to restrict the story to a place like Vizag because that wouldn't be believable. That's why I have set the story in a fictional town.
Rs 17 Cr is the cost of the injection needed by Baby Sara's character in the film. This is not an elite issue. Even the poor will find the element emotionally resonant. The issue has been explained by the film in such a way that everyone will understand the emotional agony undergone by Venkatesh sir's character.
In 'Saindhav', the protagonist has a target in mind. He works towards making it a reality. This is not a revenge story. The drive is not retribution.
Producer Venkat Boyanapalli sir is an extremely straightforward person. He respects Venky sir a lot and wanted 'Saindhav' to be excellent. That's what he told me. I sat down with him and gave him a detailed breakdown. We arrived at a budget. The figure made sense to him and he gave me a go-ahead. He is happy that he has found the best distributors. I am not eligible to comment on the release strategies and all. I have no understanding of the market dynamics. One thing is certain. The trailer's content has resonated very well with those involved in trade aspects. At a time when OTT deals are difficult to clinch, 'Saindhav' impressed a streaming giant.
I have a love story in mind. It's a beautiful college story that is so personal. It is inspired by my love life. I have told the story to my wife as well. I have a 2-year-old son. When he reaches 18, that film should make him happy. It is about the tension between love and career. I don't know when I will make that film.