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Prayanam: Director's cut

May 11, 2009 16:05 IST

Prayanam: Director's cut

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Chandrasekhar Yeleti made his mark in the Telugu film industry with Aithe, Anukokonda Oka Roju and Okkadunnadu. Besides, he wrote the screenplay for Vara Mullapudi's Visakha Express.

Known for his ability in making commercially successful and critically acclaimed films, Chandrasekhar is now ready with Prayanam slated for release shortly.

He talks to Radhika Rajamani about his journey in making Prayanam:

Is Prayanam a film about a journey? If so, can you tell us what the journey is all about?

Yes, Prayanam means journey. The protagonists are on a journey. I've touched on life's journey on a lighter vein. You want to do something but something else happens. It's a light-hearted film.

You are known for making films in different genres. How would you categorise Prayanam?

It is a romantic comedy.


Image: Chandrasekhar Yeleti

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'70 per cent of the film was shot at the Malaysia International Airport'

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How is it different from the regular films?

We did not set out to do something different. You can get hold of a good subject and the story will hold. There is nothing serious in the film. It's about a group of boys. One boy meets a girl and the interaction between them in the next three three and a half hours forms the film.

What triggered off this idea?

Love is universal. You don't need to have an incident to trigger ideas. You have to only look at what is happening around you.

It is said you have shot a large part of the film at the Malaysia International Airport in Kuala Lumpur. Any particular reason for choosing the airport?

The story happens in an airport and 70 per cent of the film needed to be shot there. We tried airports in Europe but could not get permission. Kuala Lumpur has a beautiful airport and we got all the required support. We had a hassle-free shoot.


Image: A scene from Prayanam

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'Prayanam has nothing to do with The Terminal'

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Is there going to be a lot of drama in the climax?

Rather, I would say there is a lot of humour in the film. The challenge from the beginning was to make the film believable without making it boring.

Has Prayanam anything to do with The Terminal since it is shot in an airport too?

Nothing except that both are shot in an airport. Terminal has my favourite actor (Tom Hanks) and was directed by my favourite director (Steven Spielberg). I can't match that standard. Prayanam has nothing to do with that film.

How did you zero in on Manoj Manchu?

Since it's a love story, I tried to find new faces. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a new male face who could fit into the role. At that time I met Manoj who said he was interested in working with me. I wondered whether he would fit into the role. But I found that he has the energy level to be my character and is an excellent prospect. The amount of talent I have seen in him is amazing. I am not saying this to praise him but he is somebody to watch out for.


Image: A scene from Prayanam

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'Prayanam has just one song and may not be tempting for a new producer'

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You are introducing Payal Ghosh (she's been renamed Haarika). Where did you find her?

I was auditioning lot of girls, and that was how I came across her. She has done ads and is doing a Bengali film. I thought she would fit into the role. Her name was changed to Haarika for the Telugu audience as the name Payal would have no connectivity.

What about the rest of the cast? Are you introducing more newcomers?

Brahmanandam garu did a good job. I'm introducing Kalpika and Tamim. Janardhan who was in Aithe plays the hero's friend.

You have started your own production house (Aryaki Arts) with this film. What made you do so?

I thought Prayanam is a small, different film; a love story shot mostly at a single location. It has just one song and may not be tempting for a new producer. So I decided to produce it


Image: A scene from Prayanam

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'Only after finishing the film did I feel the workload'

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How was it producing and directing the movie?

I have a good team with me for the past seven-eight years. I was working as the director. Only after finishing the film did I feel the workload. Now I have to be there to promote and market the film.

Would you like to mention anything about your cinematographer and the music director?

Sarvesh Murari is the cinematographer. He has done an excellent job. I'm used to working with him. He did Anukokonda Oka Roju. Mahesh Shankar, the music director is a talented man. He has earlier composed for Vennela.

What are your forthcoming projects?

I will be starting a film in May which will re-launch Brahmanandam's son. I have scripted this urban adventure which has high-voltage action.


Image: A scene from Prayanam

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