Ravi Nandyala’s latest project Power Play’s trailer is out and it is quite interesting. Ask him if there is a specific reason for picking an English title, he says, “It is a thriller, there is an element of freshness in it and to convey the message we have given it the title ‘Power Play’. It has a pan-Indian appeal, we wrote the story during the lockdown. It is on the struggle of a common man and the announcement of his war on those who misuse power. I used three words to bring out the essence of the story nippu nagarikatha nerpinchindi, kastam valla stamina bayataki vostundi and manavathvam dukkham valla vostundhi. We pull out our weapons only because we have gone through some bad experiences. Fire has come out of necessity and only when man faces trouble, his stamina is exposed and similarly humanity arises out of sorrow. A happy go lucky guy faces a huge problem, how he surmounts it and brings out others from that situation is the story. I can’t reveal much because everything is inter connected and I could be revealing more than necessary. The situation leading to the suspense is engaging and very good.”
Ravi and director Vijay Kumar Konda have always been on the same page. The latter is the director of this film. Ravi talks about the rapport he shares with Vijay Kumar and the fruitful association that is driving them to come up with fresh and better projects. He shares, “Since five years we have been in touch. Vijay Kumar has been working with director G Nageswar Reddy and around that time, I directed Lakshmi Raave Maa Intiki. Vijay completed his two films which were huge and he was looking for a writer for his third. My friend Satyam Rajesh who is known to Vijay too suggested I meet him and I did. Our thinking matched and we got on fabulously and were on the same page when it came to scripts. We were ready with a full-fledged script for a popular hero here but then we narrated it to Nikhil Gowda, he liked it. Also our story that had Raj Tarun as the hero with Radha Mohan as the producer was about to take off. The lockdown was announced when it was getting ready for release in 3 days.”
Power Play is a subject and has a style that is entirely new to Vijay Kumar’s style of execution and the duo are sure it will look new and fetch a lot of attention. Post the release of Orey Bujjiga on OTT, Raj Tarun wanted them to work on a film and they did. He recollects, “Those days we were given time to step out. Like the way we go to school holding a carriage, we three (writer and I, Madhu Nandan, Raj Tarun) would pack lunch and would be on time. During lunch, he stresses they followed social distancing and discussed the story. To play in the stadium we need a lot of people but to play street cricket, we need few. I meant to say the cap on people working on the script that time.”
He further states, “This film was operated amidst the uncertainty but with a lot of faith was placed on the subject. Covid taught us many things, we reached a stage where we wanted to work without anyone’s knowledge.” Poorna is the lead “I read about an incident in a newspaper and we developed it by including some fiction. The trailer shows as an under trial, the hero suffers for a crime that he has not committed. The violence is not that gory as is projected in the film. In Chennai, during the lockdown when instructions were given to shop keepers to shut their shops by a certain time. When a father and son went against the diktat, one of them was harassed by the police and he died unable to take the pressure. This kind of violence is necessary for this story. Third degree crimes are common in police stations. Naresh wanted to hear it when I spoke about the plot. He too was looking for something which is not the regular comedy. I thought he would be a perfect cast when I saw him in Maharshi. Commercial stars and their image seek commercial ingredients so I was happy with Naresh as his eyes project both empathy, anger,” he states.
This is the producer Satish Vegesna’s first film. He co-produced Oka Kshanam and Mosagallaku Mosagallu. The film was shot in Hyderabad in a duration of fifty days. The film goes back by five years and comes back to the present. Varalakshmi is playing an important role. She had been roped in around the same time when she was selected for Krack. It is an important role she plays in Naandhi. Navami is the heroine of the film. Ask him about the highlight of the film, he says as the director everything looks great and he can’t single out a scene. However he says there is a lengthy shot which will get noticed. Sid is the cinematographer and Sricharan Pakala is the music director. Naresh is apparently getting good offers after the first look of the film Naandhi released and he had decided to pick subjects selectively.
Ravi says Covid had taught them many things and they were in a state where they wanted to work, shoot without anyone’s knowledge. Raj Tarun and Poorna play the lead and the rest of the actors are Prince, Ajay, Bhupal and many local artistes. Andrews handled the camera and Suresh Gopi gave the background score. There are no songs in the film. It was shot for thirty days once the lockdown was lifted. The team apparently went to Goa to write the script. It is a two hour happy watch and is sure to keep people engaged. For Raj Tarn, this is a change in genre and it will surely project him in a different light. Meanwhile director Vijay Kumar Konda is finishing his Kannada film and they have begun pitching stores to banners.
The writer talks about how the pandemic affected the industry in a positive way and he is glad that he is seeing a great change after twenty years. “There has been an OTT advent, all artists and technicians from light men, drivers and people from each craft are busy. Films are rolling without the heroes. People are coming up with women centric films, comedian films …name it you have it. All this will benefit the writer in more than one way. There is a lot of creativity which we are seeing and none of them are waiting for the dates of a particular artiste. They are okay roping in any artiste who is feasible and suits the requirement. Also Telugu girls are coming up and they too are bagging roles. Production houses are happy giving opportunities to local artistes. It is a necessity now. Bringing a heroine from Mumbai and keeping her in the city for two weeks will cost the production a lot. It took five years of struggle for reel transition to digital and now there is no looking back.” Kota Srinivasa Rao played a significant role in Power Play and there are many dimensions to that character. Ravi adds, “He wanted me to narrate the story. The moment he called, I rushed. The respect he gives a writer is immense. If you give respect to a writer, the film also gets respect. He addressed me as ‘racheyita garu.’