Hi Nandini Garu…. Congratulations on the stupendous success of ‘ Alaa Modhalaindhi’’. How are you enjoying the success of the film?
Nandini Reddy: I’m still trying to come to terms yet. I’m quite surprised by huge success of the film. We have expected the film to be successful but the success that we are seeing is quite unexpected and we are very happy with the love the audiences are showing for this film. Audience’s love is more important than the quantum of success and I’m very happy.
We rarely see women directing a film. Barring Vijayanirmala garu and Jaya garu we haven’t seen many women donning the megaphone. How did you enter the film industry? What is your background?
Nandini Reddy: I did my masters in JNU on International Politics. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do at that point of time. I finally realized that my mentality doesn’t suit a government job as I’m not a very diplomatic person. So I finally decided to do something in visual media, may be advertising. I met Mr. Gangaraju garu thru a common friend at that point of time and I ended up working with him for Little Soldiers and that’s how I ended up entering the industry.
When we heard that you are from Krishnavamsy’s team we expected lot more of Krishnavamsy’s stamp in your film. It is very common for debut directors to show their mentors’ stamp in the debut film. But we couldn’t find any. You could create your own stamp in the very first film. How was it possible?
Nandini Reddy: I don’t understand why people expect us to follow the footsteps of the mentors. They are still doing their films and there is no meaning in imitating him and make my films. It is ridiculous.
You have made your debut with an unconventional love story with unconventional actors. How did you come out with the idea of Alaa Modhalaindhi? Didn’t you feel that making unconventional film with unconventional stars is a risk?
Nandini Reddy: I love ROMCOMs. I always wanted to do a ROMCOM and this is my interpretation of ROMCOMs.
Nani and Nitya Menon were like picture perfect couple. They have acted so well despite being relatively new to the industry. Between them the standout performance has been of Nitya Menon. How did you choose her?
Nandini Reddy: One of my friends Mr. Omprakash a cameraman who saw her in vellathooval recommended her name to me. The moment I saw her I have decided to cast her. After meeting her, I have done few modifications in my script to incorporate few natural qualities of her in the script. She is a fabulous actor and it is very easy to work with fantastic actor like Nithya.
She has not just acted but also did her own dubbing and sung songs. In today’s scenario when you find even Telugu speaking heroines rarely dubbing, we should compliment you for allowing her to dub. Her voice has added to the character. How did you allow her to dub?
Nandini Reddy: I don’t think it was brave but she is very dedicated and put it an honest effort. The effort and dedication is today showing in the result. When someone is so dedicated and confident, it is natural for a director to back her. I’m glad she could dub her own voice and sing the songs. That shows her dedication.
Nani was very spontaneous and in most of the scenes did without much effort. The best scene
Nandini Reddy: Nani is basically a very spontaneous actor and his comfort level with me is very strong as we know each other for very long. I know his strengths and weaknesses as an actor and this character is made very close to his body language. It was very easy to work with Nani and Nithya.
There is this scene between Nani and Sneha Ullal after they get separated. They don’t have anything to talk about for a moment and though a very short scene…silence has communicated a lot. Such scenes come rarely in our films. Would you like to comment on the scene?
Nandini Reddy: I didn’t try to see what is coming or not coming. I just followed my own sensibilities and wrote according to whatever is required. I just followed my heart and didn’t try to pull any gimmicks.
Another actor who made a re-entry and of course made a big impact on us is Rohini who acted as mother of Nani. They were more of friends than mom and son and the relationship is complete. The scene when Nani gets irritated after his mother tells him that Nithya has left for Bangalore( The scene after she sees sneha’s pic in Nani’s bedroom) and Rohini could find that Nani is in love and found his soul mate. I thought such scenes need lot of preparation and are not easy. What would you say?
Nandini Reddy: I had my characters well etched and sketched out. I did my characterizations very well. I knew how each character would behave and for an actor like Rohini you don’t need dialogues. She is such a beautiful actor and the dialogue is only another tool. For actors like Rohini and Nithya they don’t need a dialogue to communicate what they want to. I just wanted to tap on that and I still remember that we did that scene in one take. Rohini could fit in to the role very character and her character has come just the way I visualized.
With very few known faces and lot of unknown actors, you could extract good acting from all. Particularly the guy who is a software engineer and lost his job due to recession is cool.
Nandini Reddy: I didn’t have to deliberately tell people what to do and what not to. I believe that every human being has an aspect of his I wanted to tap on that aspect and I have cast my actors in the same way whether it is Raja or Hemanth or Snigdha. Once I have cast them, I need not tell them how to act.
A bit of gay comedy in a film directed by a woman director is something most wouldn’t have expected. How did you manage the comments on this?
Nandini Reddy: Everyone liked it and I wanted a bit of comedy and people are liked it. That was my sense of humor working and I tried to use contemporary kind of humor and it worked. I didn’t want to do anything that’s branded as vulgar and we did just the way we wanted and I’m glad that it worked.
Music by Kalyani Malik is very refreshing… Songs are liked by all. Would you like to talk abt his contribution to the film?
Nandini Reddy: I always call Kalyani Malik as another hero of the film. We are good friends and I always wanted to work with him for my film. He worked very hard on the songs and I was understanding. He is extremely talented and he did so well in giving fantastic music for the film. I thank him for the fabulous job.
Can you tell us about your technicians who helped the film shape the way it has?
Nandini Reddy: My dialogue writer lakshmi Bhupal, My cameraman Arjun Jena and another writer Anil Ravipudi who helped us. I do lot of spontaneous changes and I called Anil for help for climax scenes and his help has proven very valuable. He did lot of modifications. These are great people to work with. On the whole it was a great team effort. Alaa Modhalaindhi is a small little film with a big heart. Everyone believed in it and put their heart and you have result in front of you.
What are your future plans? Do you have any project lined up?
Nandini Reddy: I have quite a few offers. You will hear soon on it. At this point I’m taking time to choose the right one. You will hear from me very soon on my next project.
Would you like to say something to woman who wanted to become film makers but aren’t jumping into the fray because of misconceptions about the industry?
Nandini Reddy: I just wanted to say, if you believe in your dream just go ahead and do whatever you wanted to do. Only things that they would need is family support. Family should understand and give time to be successful.
I would like to wish all the best for your forthcoming projects and once again congrats for the success of Alaa Modhalaindi.
Nandini Reddy: Thanks a lot.
by Brahma Mahesh
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