Lakshmi Sowjanya’s dream of becoming a film director has been realised. It wasn’t an easy journey for the young, articulate and down to earth woman to get here. She hails from an agricultural family and takes pride in being a Telugu speaking person. Sowjanya, as she is fondly called, was never an avid film goer, in fact she would get to watch cinema only during a festival. How did she get into this entertainment industry? The self-made director whose film Varudu Kavalenu starring Naga Shourya and Ritu Verma will be releasing shortly and she already has half a dozen scripts ready to be narrated to heroes. She doesn’t want to be typecast and is aiming at a diverse genre. Here, in a crisp chat with Klapboardpost.com, she talks of her salad days and her fetish to be in the driver’s seat whatever the field is.
Early life: I finished my academics quite early and began working in a school. I have no siblings and hardly any cousins. Since we weren’t financially well settled, we were looked down upon by relatives and that gave me an identity crisis. I wanted to either get into politics, games, cinema or some field that would highlight my achievements and give me recognition and in the process I picked media. I was born in Allagadda in Kurnool and brought up in Kaakani in Guntur. I made Narsaraopet my home. I have a faint memory of watching Subhalagnam, Pelli Sandhadi and Lorry Driver in my growing years. Buying ‘Nela Ticket’ and watching a film was a celebration but most of the time we were sowing paddy in the fields.
Nothing comes easy: Later I began working in the media as a news reader. I am of the opinion that you should use different languages when it is necessary but stick to your mother tongue when not necessary. A mother tongue gives you an identity and recognition. I would love to see women excel in technical areas and it will be a joy to see more women occupy important positions in the cinema and entertainment industry. I am lucky to have a proper casting in Varudu Kavalenu, everything fell in place in my debut film. It didn’t come to me so easily, I waited for it and I worked for it. If you are determined, your will is strong, nothing is impossible to achieve. We work hard for something which we like and our heart pines for and it does happen. I sought admission in the institute run by Rajeev and Suma’s parents and also studied at the Adyar institute and some other places in Delhi. When done with the training, I got into serials and then as AD in films. I worked with Teja, Shekar Kammula, Krish, Walt Disney etc and wherever I am, my mind 24×7 revolves around cinema.
My mother is my world: I am proud of my father and want people to say, “Aa ammayi ni choosi nerchukondi.” I am educating a bunch of girls and I derive a lot of satisfaction doing it. My father was a lecturer, an M.Sc gold medallist. He succumbed to cancer and didn’t see me become a director. My mother is a witness to my seven year struggle to reach here and she is of immense support and pushes me to be positive. She tells me to never give scope for complaint or excuse and never give up. I drove to Arunachalam and all that distance to Srisailam, Amaravati, Kottappa Konda as well. My mother and I, we just hop into the car and go for pilgrimages. Everyone faces problems but we have no choice. We got to face it and come out of it. We should design our own character. I am always straight and honest and for such people the journey is late but very satisfying. Most people adjust their journey for their career but I don’t need to at all.
Major influence: I learnt being perfect and courageous from Krishna Vamsi and I cultivated the quality of patience from Shekar Kammula. Script writing from Krish and clarity of thought and action from Teja who is also a cinematographer. The latter knows what he wants and executes it swiftly. I adore Krishna Vamsi and he is the reason for my steadfast grounding in the film industry. My stories don’t come from imagination, it comes from reality, either what I experienced or what I observe from my near and dear or people around me. In Varudu Kavalenu, a girl after 28 years of her life is hounded by her family to get married. They get worried and want her to get hitched. The girl has a goal and pushes her marriage further. I can’t elaborate much, the story is in the title. The problem that the girl faces is relatable to all. It is a love story that has been inspired by real incidents.
Naga Shourya’s fan-following: This story was meant for Naga Chaitanya but after three years of waiting, I moved to Naga Shourya. After the script got a green signal, it was developed by Ganesh Ravuri. He did a great job with the dialogues too. Producer Chinna Babu was a back bone for the project. He is a man who stands by his word. About the footage, both the hero and heroine have equal footage and importance to the story but one thing is for sure, fans for Naga Shourya will grow after the release of the film. Women will swoon over him and men will like him, the character of the hero has been projected in such a way. There is an eco-friendly backdrop to the heroine and the story too. Vamsi Patchipulusu and Vishnu Sharma handled the camera and Vishal Chandrashekar is the music director. My next subject is hopefully and completely commercial. My favourite film is Athanokkade and I guess I will make a film like that soon.