Exclusive : Sai Mohan Ubbana Interview

Y. Sunita Chowdhary

Sasi Vadane will be releasing soon and the man behind the dream project is Sai Mohan Ubbana. “This is my debut film, I assisted Hanu Raghavpudi for Padi Padi Leche Manasu. I also worked on a few short films, Raghu Kunche saw one of them and referred me to producer Ahi Teja Bellamkonda. I was at that time, hunting for a producer to fund my project, I showed my short films to Raghu Kunche and enquired if he knew anyone. Raghu Kunche said he had a producer friend who was looking for a village love story and would be interested in such a plot. I narrated my story and was given a green signal immediately by Ahi Teja. That is how Sasi Vadane began. The producer had earlier made Akshara.”

Sasi Vadane is a term used for a beautiful woman who looks like a moon. The story is about a youth who meets this pretty woman, his journey takes a different turn when this happens. Since it happens because of a woman, Saimohan had titled the film after her. Komali Prasad plays the role. When did the director write his story? “After Padi Padi Leche Manasu, I wrote a short film and post that I scripted this one. I wanted a perfect love story set against a village backdrop….I wanted it to have a dreamy look with aesthetic frames from that of Gautham Menon’s, Mani Ratnam’s or Hanu Raghavpudi’s movies. We as a team discussed that Konaseema would bring out a perfect nativity factor and we also had the character sketch of each personality. We have seen a girl next door many times, here it is slightly different. The young man who lives on the other side of Godavari, has to go in hunt for her, sheds inhibitions to talk to her. The climax is hard hitting. It is a war waged for love, and has relatable emotions.”

He further says, “Usually lovers think twice to talk to each other in a village. This happened in 2006. Those days, it was the time when touch phones were just being seen around. The father son relationship in the village ambience is also a good watch. In a love story, the couple clears their problems, surmounting it. Here the couple don’t know the problem is, why they became distant from each other, but they encounter the situation. The climax is something that has been heard first and only then, the green signal was given to go ahead with the project.”

Saikumar Dhara is the cinematographer, he worked in Rangasthalam as an assistant. Sai Mohan had known him since 2020 and had shared his story with him and they did a short film together before embarking on this project. He adds, “The visuals are amazing…it feels so close. We went to around 100 locations, 15 villages. Amalapuram is the centre and from there we went around 15 places. Saravana Vasudevan had composed the music, he too is a debutant. I saw Andala Rakshasi when I was studying…I heard Hanu was from Kotthagudem and I hail from Khammam which is just 70 kilometres away from my place. I wanted to work with him as an assistant and my dream was realised. There are many genres to make a debut with but love stories are universal and we connect instantly. There is something in that film that every age group can connect to..that is the speciality of picking a love story.”

The biggest assets in the film are visuals and music. There is a title track on Sasi Vadane. The frames are fresh and the dialect is Konaseema. Sai Mohan is from Telangana, so he would enquire and had rewritten the dialogues to gel with that of Andhra region. He talks of his salad days, “I quit my studies for cinema. Since childhood I have loved cinema but didn’t know anything about it. The 26 year old director had support from his family; his father wanted to become a director but it couldn’t happen. I went around people asking for an assistant director’s position and also met people who made short films. I heard actor Sharwanand was giving opportunities to short film directors. So I stood outside his house for days together and managed to get spotted. He heard me out and gave me a job as an assistant director in Hanu’s project. From there it was a learning experience every day. Post that Hanu supported me. After the film was released, I made a short film and Hanu encouraged me to move out and look for a producer. I extended the short film Sasi Vadaane to a full script and got a green signal. Currently the post production is on, aiming for a March release.”

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