Chandrasekhar Yeleti awaits the release of 'Check' on February 26. In this interview, he talks about working with Nithiin and Rakul Preet Singh, Kalyani Malik and others. The director also talks about his journey since 'Aithe'.
The story is about an extremely intelligent fellow. When I conceived the idea about fifteen years back, its shape was completely different. After several years, it took the form of 'Check'.
There is a reason I can't pinpoint what is the USP of 'Check'. You just can't say which department is bad in the movie. From the performances to the script to technical values, everything is top-notch.
An intelligent person (Nithiin) gets sentenced to death. He is street-smart. He gets embroiled in a massive crime, he is jailed. When he is put up inside four walls, he bumps into some characters and uses his intelligence.
Seventy percent of 'Check' is set in a prison. Due to the pandemic, we had to increase the indoor shoot portions.
The game of chess is inbuilt into the story. The terror convict has applied for mercy. The protagonist hopes that the President of India's opinion on him might undergo a change if he wins chess games in prison. I am not a good chess player.
When a movie has a thrilling, edge-of-the-seat feel, there is no need for songs. 'Check' has got only one song.
I cast Nithiin for the role because I had been wanting to work with him for long. Rakul Preet Singh is a lawyer who starts out as a timid woman. She eventually gets bold when she has to deal with a terror convict. There is a fun angle to her character. Sampath Raj's character is negative. He is Nithiin's antagonist. Sai Chand's character is met by the protagonist in jail. He prods the hero to play chess.
I have placed the movie in an imaginary jail. That's why the prisoners' uniform is in a different colour. I wanted to set the film in a real jail. However, I found some informational and logistical difficulties. I didn't get adequate information about the procedures inside the jail and how terror convicts are treated, etc. So, I didn't want to base the film in actual jail and commit mistakes.
I have interacted with prisoners while writing the movie in order to understand their psychology.
At one point, we did consider a direct OTT release. We thought that not many would visit theatres. But the success of 'Uppena' and the collections for other films shows that normalcy is back. My previous films may have disappointed the audience, but this one is going to be different. I request the audience to watch 'Check' only in theaters.
The fights are going to stand out, so also the background music. Kalyani Malik's BGM took the film to the next level. The dialogues will be striking. Sanal's editing is another highlight.
The American government had a bounty on Osama bin Laden's head. A film idea can be triggered by such news items. I am mostly inspired by real-life, not fiction.
Barring 'Aithe' and 'Anukokunda Oka Roju', none of my films so far has had a commercial buzz. I hope 'Check' is going to change that. My films get appreciation months after their theatrical release. A director shouldn't be either behind or ahead of time. He has to be with the times. 'Manamantha' was a human-family drama. Perhaps, I shouldn't have made it as a genre movie. I should have infused action, too.
I don't know whether the tag of 'intelligent director' is a plus or a minus.
I am not open to directing an OTT show or film at this point of time. I won't be doing it for five years unless I don't get film offers (smiles).
I am committed to working with Mythri Movie Makers next. The cast and crew are yet to be finalized. The story has been okayed. The film won't be experimental. Regardless of success and failure, producers have always been ready to work with me.
I don't think 'Sahasam' was an experiment. When you are working with a star hero, you can't afford to be experimental. My films have rarely been cost failures. My last film was an exception.
SS Rajamouli hasn't watched 'Check' yet. We know each other well but our discussions are always professional. He is on a different path, while my kind of movies is of a different kind.