Exclusive: Venu Udugula’s Virata Parvam, a tribute to womanhood

Y.Sunita Chowdhary

Director Venu Udugula won a lot of appreciation for Needhi Nadhi Oke Katha but he laments that he had directed only two movies in these five years. He says he has many stories to tell but wonders when they would materialise. He, however, has no complaints on the lockdown and says it has worked as a blessing in disguise. He did many things that he wanted to in the past one and a half year – painting, reading books, writing poetry and wrapping up a full-fledged movie script and is looking forward to what life and cinema would offer post-Corona. In a chat with Klapboardpost.com, he discusses Virata Parvam’s five women who play a crucial role in driving the story ahead.

About OTT: Another ten per cent of Virata Parvam’s shoot is left, including two action blocks that are to be shot outdoors. While I was shooting, Allu Aravind discussed OTT and told me to direct a show for Aha. I was in a mood to wrap up Virata Parvam but he said I need not direct and still be a showrunner or supervise it. I agreed to do it, however only after the film releases; that was our understanding. It is still in the script stage and we are in touch, whenever something creative comes up for discussion regards to literature. In the lockdown I have written a story for a film, it should be good and also connect with the audiences, should be commercial.

Virata Parvam: This is based on the incidents that happened in the 1990s. A political context has been interpreted as a personal conflict; It is essentially a love story that has a serious political commentary in the background. The title is an allusion and also my interpretation of what happened to Pandavas when they were in exile. The same machinations, intrigue, conspiracies happen here too. I like Jane Fonda’s statement, ‘Revolution is an act of love’. Revolution arises from intense love, without love nothing comes out. The feeling starts on a personal note and takes a gradual social colour. Had the Mahatma not been thrown out of the train, we wouldn’t have lived in a democratic set up now.

Also Read: Exclusive: Paintings by director Venu Udugula during lockdown

High Five: Women have a major say in the movie, be it in the love story, politics, human rights or naxalism. Sai Pallavi and Eshwari are daughter and mother respectively and there are properly fleshed out characters like Zarina Wahab and Nandita Das, Priyamani. We revealed Priyamani’s character Bharatakka (through the poster) recently. Just as the students had a decisive role in the French revolution, so does Bharatakka. She plays a catalyst in the second half. Nandita Gopal is inspired by human rights leader K Balagopala Rao who was led by Marxist ideology. He was an advocate and also a physics lecturer. Be it the police or for the Naxalites, he advocated for human rights. Zarina Wahab in the 90s is a representative of the mothers of all the martyr sons. Her role as a mother is Sarvanamam; she speaks a lot of things and her maternal instinct is unmistakable. Naveen Chandra plays an important role.

A love story in revolution: This is an extraordinary love story and not a propaganda movie. You would find something to debate about the Marxist Lenin Party in the undercurrent and I must admit, I am a sympathiser of the same. All five women are crucial for moving the story ahead. For the songs, we used Krishna Sastry’s poem and also Siva Sagar’s poem; the poetry was made into a tune and then a song and all the lyricists hail from a serious literature background and their works complement the story. Usually, when we talk of revolutionary films and songs, we tend to notice the clichéd, high pitch and tone in songs and over dramatism but here you will find none of these. There is everything that the audience will take home from this story, you will find the writer’s sympathies, the youth will get a love story, a communist will get what he looks upto.

Locations: The story is based on some real incidents and it happened in Warangal and Karimnagar. We wanted to shoot there. After four days of shoot, it wasn’t possible with such big stars around. So, we shot in Medak and Kerala and only a few sets were put up at RFC.

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