Young actor-director Pradeep Ranganathan has recently wooed the audience with his recent flick Love Today, with a whole different concept. His journey so far has been an inspiration to many who aspire to get into the art of filmmaking. The Pioneer got an exclusive opportunity to have a one-on-one chat with the Comali director. He takes us through his journey of starting from a scratch, and deeper insights into the concept of Love Today?
Young director-actor Pradeep Ranganathan is flying high with the success of his latest and second directorial Love Today. The film turned out to be one of the most profitable ventures of 2022. Love Today was originally released in Tamil on November 4, and it opened to rave reviews both from the audience and critics.
Looking at the fantastic response, the makers decided to dub the film into Telugu and released it a few weeks later on November 25. Guess what? The Telugu people couldn’t help but appreciate the film. The feature is an extended version of App(a) Lock(2017), a short film helmed by Pradeep himself.
The Comali director started off his career by directing short films. His keen interest towards filmmaking began when he was an engineering second year student. He continued making short films even when he was busy working in an IT company.
However, while looking out for opportunities to work under the umbrella of an established director, opportunities knocked on the actors door. Thanks to the short films that he had directed in his engineering days. All the short films that Pradeep had made went viral over a period of time for its relatable subject matter. The experience that he gained by working on short films helped him excel at directing his debut film titled Comali.
In an exclusive conversation with The Pioneer, the super talented actor-director-writer Pradeep Ranganathan discussed his humble beginnings, why he’d like to give credit to his short filmmaking days, his entertaining writing process and the success of Love Today.
The filmmaker gives all the credit to his short film days for the humongous success of his films. “I started off by making short films. The thing with short films is that you are bound to work on all the crafts of filmmaking now that you end up with limited resources. I used to act, direct, write, shoot and even edit. That helped me gain knowledge which helped me later while I was working on my debut feature Comali. Self-knowledge is really important because it teaches you so much. That’s how I manoeuvred through my journey and learnt about all the crafts,” said Pradeep.
Whenever we want to learn something, we often get stuck at “Where do I start?” We have our influences, idols, and favourites, but taking that first step is really important isn’t it? Do you want to know what inspired Pradeep to keep pushing himself? You all must be thinking it is some film or an actor whom he idolises, but to our surprise it’s YouTube! Well, you’ve got to hear this out, “I literally learnt everything from YouTube. Be it basic writing, editing, or directing, I spend a good number of hours on the platform to learn the craft.
The advice that I’d give all the youngsters is to start learning in whatever way they can if they have an iota of passion. Nowadays we have a tutorial for every single thing. It is all available on the internet. Therefore, there is no shortage of opportunities in terms of learning the craft,” told the Love Today star.
Love Today has a compelling story line, where the couple is forced to exchange their mobile phones for a day. Exchanging mobile phones? Wait! Can you do that for a day with your partner? Trickly, right? Here the director delves deep into the origins of the idea, “We are two different people in the world outside and on social media. For example we are better off talking to the opposite gender on the net, but in the real world we’re not as charming as we think we are. I wanted to explore this idea and tell the story in an entertaining way. That’s when the idea of exchanging mobile phones came to my mind because doing that in today’s world means chaos. There is naturally a lot of anxiety when our phone isn’t in our hands. Therefore, I thought that would be a great hook to keep the audience engaged.”
Our curiosity to find out the method behind Love Today writer’s madness leads us to the next set of questions. Well, what about Pradeep’s writing process? How does he go about writing his scripts or stories? “Observing what’s happening around me helps a lot with my writing. The second thing, of course, is we all experience things which we’d want to put out there. I always think about “What do I want to tell the world right now?” After I find the answer to that question, I look for ways to tell that particular story in an entertaining way. Later, I generally follow the screenwriting process that I had learnt and I don’t really follow a special process. Some films I start from the beginning and the other’s I find the ending first. Few have a take away and some don’t. Ultimately it’s all about how I can entertainingly tell a story,” commented the craftsman.
One of the reasons why Love Today worked so well is because of how relatable the story is. The fan wars, trust issues, college romance, and of course, the chaotic social media drama. All these put together, the film makes for an amazing watch. Talking about one particular scene where the character takes refuge in his mother’s lap in the later half of the movie, the thespian explained, “I think people could relate to me so much because I behaved naturally in the film. Now that I know the film in and out, I never really had to specially prepare. If there is something really intense, I practise in front of the mirror before I perform. I didn’t want to show any amount of sophistication in any way. A person keeps all the inhibitions at bay and turns into a child when they break down in front of his/her mother. So, I exactly wanted to turn into a child while I was enacting that scene. All these things, maybe helped me to be a lot more relevant and perhaps it struck a chord with the public.”
The creator is being praised by the who’s who of the film industry. One such incident is when Superstar Rajinikanth looked Pradeep in the eye for ten seconds straight and said, “You have a bright future!” However, due to the dubbing work and promotions in the Telugu states, the actor says he hasn’t had enough time to really enjoy the success, but he reassured that he is super thrilled and happy to have been receiving the love from all sects of people. Without naming names, Pradeep confirmed that he’d be working with other directors from now on and besides that, he is simultaneously working on three other scripts of his own. For those who missed it in the theatres, Love Today is now streaming on Netflix.