“The story is about a married person, he doesn’t remember his past and he is found on a highway by the NGO people. Admitted to the hospital, he still can’t recollect anything. As time goes by, he gets married and he has a daughter but doesn’t know who he is. The wife is happy and doesn’t find the need to know what had happened long back. He creates marital problems and one day wants to let go of his past. He sees a photo in a book, a man who looked like him and has lived in 1977. He is a convict in a bomb blast case in that period and then this man begins a search for that person. Around the same time some children are being kidnapped, they are probably destitute and even his child goes missing. The search, the kidnap and the cops hunting for the kidnapped are shown as happening at the same time”, says debut director Ugandhar Muni. His film A is ready for release.
Ugandhar Muni is a native of Tirupati, he is a software engineer and worked in both India and USA. One day out of the blue, he decided to take up direction. He always loved cinema and would watch a film thrice a day and observed and analysed the film making techniques. If he saw an English film, he would always wonder how it would look, had it been made in Telugu. He wanted to give it a try some day. The film making techniques fascinated him and he got an admission in film school. The film making course he terms is like a foundation, he took a break from work and joined the New York Film Academy. There he worked on many short films that gave him a basic foundation. After that, he returned to India but didn’t know whom to approach. To get an entry one needs contacts.
He further says, “I made a short film and got in touch with a few technical people. I hired a camera man but not others. I look for patience in people. I spent one year on the post production of the short film titled Digital Sting. I went and watched films being shot. I go prepared with the storyboard, almost 70 percent edit will be done before the shoot. I decide the transition of the scenes way ahead because I clearly want to go to the sets and not change anything. I want to give time for lighting etc. Rehearsals for acting would be done already and I insist people come to the sets prepared with the dialogues.”
Ugandhar states that a camera at the end of the day is the mirror. The art, frame, costumes, lighting decide the beauty or the mood of the frame. Though a lot of money is spent on cameras and other stuff, the production doesn’t attach a great deal of importance to art and set properties. There is a production designer in big films who helps in giving the mood of the scene. He cites an example, “If two people are walking into a restaurant and are engaged in a conversation, it doesn’t matter where you place the camera as long as the mood the director wants is conveyed. He should know what kind of lens he is using to increase or decrease the space and also give the experience to the audience if he is giving a breathing space or if the area is suffocated. For this film RED was used.”
The film has been shot in Hyderabad. The climax took place on a set where Na Peru Surya has been shot. The place has been and all of this was done much before lockdown. Praveen K Bangari (DoP) and Benil C Amakkadu (sound designer) are from Kolkata film institute. Editor Anand Pawan and Manikandan are from FTII, Pune. Sound mixing has been done by Sinoy Joseph, who is a national winner and has mostly worked on Anurag Kashyap movies. In Hyderabad when Ugandhar interacted with a few technicians, he wasn’t too happy. He felt they lived in a world of their own. Nithin Prasanna is a newcomer, he does a triple role in the story and six months has been spent to form a basic team. The director admits doing a few mistakes in the short film and eventually noted how his skill got enhanced and tested his capability. He says, “I did a small quick film and held 25 interviews to rope in a person for the music. It mostly has a background score. I wanted to see if the music guy has a great deal of patience to travel with me and fyi chose Vijay Kurakula. The cameraman worked with me in a short film so he knows what I want.”
Nithin Prasanna is a software engineer from Kerala, he hung around with the team and was finalised after make-up test and audition. Around 55 days have been used for filming. About the plot he says, “The main lead is focused on finding his past and he is going through a conflict, the medical aspect comes later. Alongside some experiments take place and children get kidnapped. This film is meant for all segments, can’t confine it to a multiplex people just because it is a medical thriller. If you explain it properly even C centres will enjoy it. It all depends on the director’s execution. The lead character ignores the happy state he is currently in and is on a relentless search of a troubled past thinking there is something big in it. All the 3 characters act as a mirror, it is reflection. Ugandhar began writing this in 2014 when he was in the USA. The film is due for release on March 5.