After cinema halls open, industry should consider releasing small films first: VN Aditya

Nagaraj Goud, June 8:

It’s been close to nine years since VN Aditya, who burst on the scene with the box-office smash Manasantha Nuvve in 2001, had a theatrical release (his last release was Mugguru in 2011). Before embarking on his comeback project Valliddari Madhya, the director did varied jobs, while staying in the creative arena itself. “I’ve been a consultant to People Media Factory and continuing to do so. My experience of losing money as a producer last decade helped them to build film infrastructure and establish themselves as mainstream filmmakers,” he smiles in a conversation with The Pioneer.
He is quick in inform that he even directed an English film, Forced Orphans, for People Media Factory in 2016. “It was the production house’s maiden film, going on to bag 11 awards across various international film festivals. I’ve worked as a story consultant for Geetha Arts as well, referring some stories be made into films, while some into series for Aha. I’ve even sat on the script of their ambitious Ramayana with senior writer Satyanand for some time,” he reveals.

It was during his stint with Geetha Arts that Aditya landed an offer to mark his directorial return in Telugu. “Through a common friend I got introduced to producer Arjun Dasyan. By then he was trying to tap many filmmakers to direct a film for him. I had no plan as such on what to do next when he offered me a project. Although he is novice to the industry, he is extremely in tune with what’s happening with cinema, having watched many films. I sat down with him, explained the pros and cons of the industry from what producers did to attain success and how wisely they’ve promoted their films. For my experience and goodwill, I can shoot a film in 30 days without a producer. But I need an actual producer from post-production to ensuring that it has a smooth release. Arjun was all that. It was a win-win situation for both of us,” he recalls, smilingly adding that except for the Covid-19 outbreak, he discussed the regular industry practices with the producer. “I’ve even told him the risks that come by casting new actors and he was prepared for everything. He looks set to make good 10-15 films as a producer in the industry.”
In fact, it was Arjun’s idea that Aditya directs a love story again, as he was keen on the latter “playing to his strength”. “I wanted to explore a new genre and even narrated him six stories, but he wanted a love story from me and I agreed. Valliddari Madhya is a contemporary love story; it can be called as Manasantha Nuvve 2.0. The definition of love and the emotional connect between couples have changed from what it used to be in 2001, right? The society has opened up. Break-ups, exes are no longer an issue like they used to be back then. The film is the story of a modern couple (played by Viraj Ashwin and Neha Krishna). Most boys these days are not able to understand what women want. The women have undergone a sea change in their thought-process over time, whereas men are still thinking in the conventional way. Which is why, it is turning out to be difficult for them to accept that change in women. Plus, the question of compatibility is a common term used these days and the film deals with these factors. Overall, I’ve packaged it as a beautiful family entertainer with good songs.”
While this is the first time he penned a complete story by his own, he did hire the services of veteran writer Satyanand, who is on the speed dial of many directors and producers, for screenplay and Venkat D Pati, an engineering graduate, who has written dialogues for films like Devadasu and Gangleader, for dialogues. “The writing combination should be a match-winner,” he laughs.
Aditya and Arjun considered releasing the film on April 12 but the coronavirus pandemic put a spanner in their works. While there is no word yet on when cinema halls will reopen, Aditya though is keen that the industry considers releasing small films first. “The industry should experiment with small films as they offer the perfect platform to determine footfalls and safety measures. Releasing a huge fan-base film first will be nothing short of a blunder, especially with alternate seating arrangement set to be followed in theatres in view of social distancing norms. It won’t be a viable option for big producers. So, the industry should check the interest of regular cinegoers by releasing small cinema budgeted cinema first and depending on the footfalls and the audience comfort, they can plan big releases later,” Aditya concludes.

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