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Interview: Vijay Kanakamedala

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Allari Naresh's 'Naandhi' is all set to release on February 19. Director Vijay Kanakamedala in this interview talks about the drama, working with Naresh, why he has cast Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, the kind of research that went into writing the film and more.

I hail from a small village near Bhadrachalam. I completed B.Sc. in Computers. I worked on TV serials for 3-4 years. When I was doing 'Modati Cinema' with Navadeep, I got in touch with Harish Shankar. I got associated with the director till 'DJ' since 'Shock'.

The story is not mine. It was written by a friend. We added some melodrama to it to dramatize the incidents narrated in the story. The Telugu film industry has changed a lot in the last few years. 'Naandhi' needed an actor and not a star.

After the project was locked, I had to research for a period of six months after legal issues in order to get everything right. 'Naandhi' is not critical of the system. It raises a voice against malcontents in the system.

What happens when an innocent man undergoes a prison term for five years and comes out? What might he do? Will he take on those who wronged him legally? That's the crux of 'Naandhi'.

Varalaxmi Sarathkumar garu has played an intense role. As a lawyer, her character is key. I was impressed with the power in her voice when I watched Tamil movies. That's why I roped her in.

There are guidelines by the judiciary to address the issues related to undertrial prisoners. But they are not followed. I consulted JD Lakshmi Narayana garu, Prof. K Nageshwar Rao garu, several lawyers and top police officers as part of the research. Just the research work took six months.

There is no element of revenge in the film. Revenge is a routine element. 'Naandhi' goes beyond. As for comedy, Praveen and a few other actors have done it in the film. The comedy is situational and limited.

Sricharan Pakala has composed three songs, one of which is the title track. The track is going to give goosebumps when watched as part of the film. For cinematographer Sid, it's his second film. He will go a long way. But for Brahma Kadali garu, the artwork wouldn't have been this qualitative. Dialogues by Abburi Ravi garu are intense and brief. They are powerful.

I was a bit nervous to tell Naresh garu that he must go nude for a scene. But he was more than willing to play ball, as the script requires such a scene. I am intending to work with him again.

Telugu audience pine for gritty movies of the kind made in Malayalam, etc. 'Naandhi' is the answer.  

Updated on February 15, 2021