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Remaking Polladhavan in Telugu

Last updated on: November 9, 2009 15:22 IST

Remaking Polladhavan in Telugu

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Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

Sandeep Gunnam, son of producer-director Gunnam Gangaraju, is trained as a cinematographer (and also did courses on direction) from the University of Southern California.

He was the cinematographer for Amma Cheppindi, directed by his dad, Gangaraju and later served as additional cinematographer for Raakhee.

Sandeep is now ready with his first directorial venture Kurradu, (with Varun Sandesh and Neha Sharma), the Telugu remake of the Tamil film Polladavan (starring Dhanush and directed by Vettrimaran) releasing on November 12.

Sandeep discusses why he chose to direct Kurradu, his vision for the film and more:

How did you decide to do Kurradu?

I was working on another script for Mr Kiran (the producer). He had bought the rights of Kurradu and even signed Varun. He had set up the project. Then he asked me if I would take over that. Having seen Polladavan, I thought there would be sufficient work to do. Basically, it was a matter of convenience.


Image: A scene from Kurradu

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'The emotion in Polladavan drew me to it'

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Why did you want to start your directorial career with a remake?

After discussing this offer with my Dad, I thought no one can give me a platform to execute a film where I could show my style of working.

Did you watch Polladavan? What did you see in the film?

I saw the film after I got the offer to direct the remake. The emotion in it drew me. At the heart of the film was an honest father-son relationship. It was about a middle class guy and his dreams of owning a bike where he could take his girl on it, and getting a job which his Dad would be happy with.

Any kid would identify with it; the fact that he wanted to make his parents happy connected. On the flip side, it shows how one person rises and the other (villain) falls -- how their lives are intertwined. I thought this is the crux and it stays as long as I translate it.


Image: A scene from Kurradu

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'One can visually and emotionally connect with Kurradu'

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How have you adapted it to Telugu?

The major changes are in the setting. Polladavan was set in Chennai while Kurradu is set in Hyderabad. I wanted to have the Hyderabadi flavour and hence used the city. Except for a song, everything is live setting.

There's the feel for the city. The villain's stronghold is Golkonda. So, one can visually and emotionally connect with it. The visualising is where I put my stamp on. I have also added a couple of characters -- especially Ali's which is built in to the story.

Polladavan was a huge hit in Tamil.  In the Telugu remake, Varun who is playing the lead is even younger than Dhanush. He is just out of his teens. Is that why you chose the title Kurradu (Young Boy)?

The title Kurradu was running in my head. I also took it from the song Kurraalloy Kurrallu from the film Andamaina Anubhavam. It is a young film and treated as one. Then, Varun was already signed in the project.


Image: A scene from Kurradu

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'I needed an attractive heroine, and Neha fitted that role'

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How was Neha Sharma chosen?

Everyone loves Varun and finds him cute. I needed an attractive heroine, and Neha fitted that role. We did a photo shoot and the chemistry was good.

How has Varun performed?

I had an ongoing conversation with Varun while the film was being shot. We communicated well. Whatever I said, he took, communicated and owned it. Varun is a director's actor; a director's dream come true.

Sarvesh Murari is doing the camera work. Why aren't you handling cinematography? Is it because you wanted to concentrate on direction?

I didn't want something else distracting me while directing the actors. I was told by a senior cinematographer that 'When you direct, never shoot a film, you never challenge yourself.' 

I had known Sarvesh since the Anukokonda Oka Roju days. We are comfortable working with each other. Sarvesh was my right hand man on the sets. He took a lot of my burden and freed me to be with the actors. It was the best decision I took.


Image: A scene from Kurradu

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'For a Telugu film, having good music is like half the battle won'

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You have Achu composing music... Recently you celebrated the platinum disc function too...

I met Achu when he was a keyboard player with Keeravani. I was impressed with his melodies composed for Nenu Meeku Telusu. I heard his demo and made Kiran also hear it. Achu is a classically trained musician.

Yes, we did celebrate the function. I am absolutely happy and excited. For a Telugu film, having good music is like half the battle won.

How would you describe Kurradu?

In a word, pacy. It's about a guy whose dreams are threatened and what he does to safeguard his family. It's a story which builds on his character.

There have been some comparisons of Kurradu with the classic Bicycle Thief by De Sica. Do you think it's valid to do so?

Maybe, maybe not. In Bicycle thief, the bicycle is stolen while in Kurradu it's the bike. This affects the livelihood of the protagonists. The journey is different. Both movies are in different genres.

How challenging is it to do a remake?

It is more challenging. Everyone has seen the original and so they have an opinion. Changing anything was a major decision. Having my own vision, it was a struggle to adapt it.

Remakes are constantly made in different languages. What is your personal take on remakes?

If it's a great story, then why not? You would be bringing it to an audience that haven't seen it. You should take it and own it -- personalise it, and feel free to change it.

Have you thought of any directorial ventures?

I was developing a script before Kurradu. While shooting Kurradu in Kerala, an idea triggered for a movie set in a hill station. Now, let me wait for the release of Kurradu.


Image: A scene from Kurradu

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