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Directing AVM's love story

June 24, 2009 13:08 IST

Directing AVM's love story

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Radhika Rajamani

For his very first Telugu film Evarina Epudaina (with the tagline Premaalo Paducho), Marthand Shankar [inset] has AVM as the producer. The film is slated to hit the marquee on June 26.

He was an assistant director to director Jayanth C Paranji (for about 6 years) and later director VN Adithya [for Manasantha Nuvve]. It's not without struggle that he got AVM as producer, that too despite being the brother of the well-known film editor Marthand K Venkatesh.

Radhika Rajamani caught up with Marthand Shankar one afternoon to talk about his first movie and more:

Judging by the film's title Evaraina Epudaina, it seems to be a love story...

It's not just a pure love story, but an entertainment based love story. I want to show one moment is enough to fall in love. From the first scene to the last, the hero [Varun Sandesh] drives the film. It's based on his characterisation. He is very lively.

How is it different from the so many love stories made?

The guy expects his girl to fall in love.


Image: A scene from Evarina Epudaina

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'I needed Sandesh with a stubble'

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How did you cast Varun Sandesh and Vimala Raman?

My brother Marthand Venkatesh who edited Happy Days felt he would suit the subject. Therefore even before Kotha Bangaru Lokam happened, we narrated the story to Sandesh. Though the role was the opposite of what he did in Happy Days (he was sober boy, whereas in Evaraina... he had to be lively), he liked it and was interested in doing it.

We were searching for a new heroine. I had certain things in mind -- that the girl should have South Indian looks, big eyes and confidence in her walk. We looked around and couldn't find anyone. Then someone suggested I watch Balachander's Poi for Vimala Raman. I did not want to see the movie but asked her to come to my office. Her looks itself created a good impact. Then we did a photo shoot with Sandesh, and it was good.

Sandesh has even sung in the movie?

Yes he has. One day as we were travelling by car, a song was playing and Sandesh suddenly started singing it. I found his voice good and suggested to Manisharma to use it and he was kind enough to record it.

If Sandesh heard this script before Kotha Bangaru Lokam why did Evaraina Epudaina get delayed?

We were searching for the heroine, and in the process Dil Raju signed Sandesh and finished Kotha Bangaru Lokam. Also I needed Sandesh with a stubble, whereas he had to be clean shaven for Kotha Bangaru Lokam. Hence, the delay happened.


Image: A scene from Evarina Epudaina

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'AVM's re-entry into Telugu should be a success'

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How did you get AVM as producer?

Our friend Pulla Rao who works with AVM came to Hyderabad during the release of Sivaji and asked me whether I had any subjects for a film. I told him I had 4-5 subjects. He spoke to MS Guhan (of AVM Productions) who asked me to come to Chennai along with Sandesh. When I went for the story narration, Mr Saravanan, Mr Guhan, Ms Aruna Guhan and Ms Aparna Guhan heard the story and immediately made me stand (as per their custom) in front of a photograph of AV Meiyappan (the father of Saravanan and the founder of AVM Productions). They then clicked a photograph and gave us the signing amount.

In fact they had asked me to narrate the story in Tamil (as only Mr Saravanan understands Telugu and the others cannot). I was tense. Though I can speak Tamil, I wondered about translating the comedy portions. Anyway by God's grace or my father's grace, I was able to cope and I narrated in Tamil. They agreed to produce the film when I reached the interval and then listened to the rest of the narration!

How does it feel directing one of AVM Productions' films?

I didn't believe when they agreed to produce the film. I was in a state of shock. I was happy I was in right hands. It's a responsibility too. I feel the responsibility is high as AVM's re-entry into Telugu should be a success and for that my movie has to have greater success. It's all in my hands. I certainly feel proud directing their production.

How were they as producers? Did you have any problems while making the film?

I had no problems. In fact I wanted the producers to see the rushes but they didn't. I was tense and worked very hard. They saw the first copy. There was no interference at all either in the casting or the crew. The producers never questioned us for exceeding the budget. I would have probably met them thrice or four times in the whole film-making process.


Image: A scene from Evarina Epudaina

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'I was tense when it came to Manisharma'

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How did your brother Marthand K Venkatesh help you besides editing the film?

He brought the project and helped in its execution. He was always with me. He also helped me in the development of the story especially during the climax.

What was exciting for you as a debutant director?

Doing a film with AVM was exciting. It is their 172nd project and I was their cause for their re-entry into Telugu. I am happy for that. Working with Sandesh was equally lively. Senior artistes like Ramaprabha and Kota were so down to earth and took me (a debutant director) seriously. They improvised well on the sets.

I was tense when it came to Manisharma as I don't know much about music. I wondered if I would be able to pinpoint anything wrong if he asked me. But Manisharma helped me tremendously. He was like the backbone of the film.


Image: A scene from Evarina Epudaina

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'Producers may call after watching the film'

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Are you nervous about the release?

I don't feel this is my first film and I am not feeling the tension too. I did not feel nervous on the first day of shoot. Having worked with Jayanth, I think I have picked up the confidence from him. He's always cool and I have learnt to be like that.

Have you thought about your future projects?

I have 3-4 scripts ready but I'm waiting for the film to release as I have to get producers. Producers may call after watching the film.


Image: A scene from film Evarina Epudaina

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