Exclusive : Hareesh Narayan Interview

Director Hari Shankar and Hareesh Narayan have made Hyderabad their home since the past one year. The talented youngsters are amiable, blessed with a great sense of humour and have a dream of many stories to narrate. When one heard that the boys from Tamil Nadu are directing a female centric thriller Yashoda with Samantha, it was presumed they were siblings. They met during the making of short films and found that their vision was identical. He tells Y.Sunita Chowdhary of Klapboardpost.com, that they have so much in common and are brothers from another mother. How did they strike upon the idea to pitch the film to Samantha Ruth Prabhu? Hareesh says, “I, Hari and executive producer Senthil from Chennai were discussing and we were sharing our ideas one day with him. Senthl found it gripping. He suggested it be a pan Indian film and also got us introduced to a producer from Hyderabad. He heard it and said would embark upon the project if there is a star who’d play the lead. Samantha heard the story and instantly agreed to do it. We narrated it to her in Tamil and English, we are just learning Telugu. Since my mother tongue is Hindi, it isn’t a problem staying here. We have been here for the past one year and more or less made Hyderabad our home.”

Ask them about their background, Hareesh Narayan says, “We did quite a few films in Tamil. In 2010 we started our career together and our first film was “Orr Eravuu/one night”, it was an independent film and a horror story that unfolds in one night from the protagonist’s point of view. We got recognition in the international film festival and we won the best independent film award. We wanted to do something technical and did the first Tamil stereoscopic 3D film..Ambuli. Then a horror anthology and it was followed by another film. The last movie was in 2016 and we took a break as we wished to do something big. At that time female centric films were not the norm but we wanted to try with a really superb actress who would make a difference and carry the character strongly. Samantha at that time was doing Oh Baby, U Turn and felt she was ideal.”

The director duo narrated Yashoda last August or September and Samantha instantly gave her nod. The promo that was released recently has raised a lot of curiosity. It has the actor walking from her bed to the window and reaching out to dove which obviously signifies a caged woman pining for freedom, peace etc. She is a common woman who faces daily challenges, says Hareesh and adds that when she is cornered she becomes a super woman. She goes through lots of struggle to reach her goal. Why is she named Yashoda? Is it about surrogacy? He quips, “Yashoda never gave birth to Lord Krishna, it doesn’t mean you have to give birth to become a mother. There is a soul in it. We were going through an article that actually shook us. It was a real incident and we were inspired to write this story”.

Do you need a star to take a story ahead? “If a star does it, she has a strong, intense reach. We know Samantha’s potential and also before the shoot, the goods will be delivered. There is a hero, Unni Mukundan and there is also Varalakshmi Sharath Kumar. We have shot 70 days and we have 24 days more to wind up. Regarding the producer, he has knowledge on how to judge the script. We made 14 or 15 versions of the script before taking it to him because he has strong and sound knowledge and asked us many questions. Few parts have been shot in different languages and other parts we are dubbing it. The producer is experienced for 35 plus years and his experience is very valuable for the inputs of the film.”

He shares, “In the first schedule, we had budget issues. Once the producer saw the output he said lets go ahead with it and gave us complete liberty. Cinematography is by Sukumar, he has done Myna and Vijay’s films. He understood the story and got completely involved in it. Editor Marthand Venkatesh latest is Sarkaruvari Pata. Mani Sharma gave us exactly what we wanted. Samantha is a super woman. She is amazing, she had to go through a variety of emotions. There were a lot of challenges for her, but she had gone one step ahead to give us the best. She can handle any role and get into any character”.

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