A few more hours to go (September 5) for the massive release of Mohana Krishna Indraganti's V movie on Amazon Prime Video. Finally, the fans, followers and the general audience will witness one of the highly-awaited movies of the year starring Nani, Sudheer Babu, Aditi Rao Hydari and Nivetha Thomas.
Touted to be an out and out action thriller, the talented director promises an impeccable treat to the audience as far as the audio and visuals of the film are concerned. The recent trailer, teaser and the song released by the makers have already created a buzz on social media, evidently suggesting that the film is indeed a highly-anticipated one.
In an exclusive interview with Filmibeat, Mohana Krishna Indraganti talks about his humongous film that also marks Nani's 25th venture, the latter's role in V, the brilliant cast and crew of the film, which is gearing up for a mass release soon and more.
You have been open to experiments, especially when it comes to genres. Since V is an action thriller, what preparations were needed for the film?
Compared to my previous films we had a bigger budget, more number of locations to shoot on, and bigger cast, so in terms of logistics, this is a giant leap for me as a filmmaker and I had the support of big producer Dil Raju. Musically we wanted the film to be really good, so we went for Amit Trivedi and I wanted sound design which is unique, so I approached Bishwadeep Chatterjee, who did the design for films like Uri, Bajirao Mastani and Padmavat
I was trying to bring together a unique set of technicians and actors to give this film a new experience because I wanted the audience to have a new experience. It took me a year to prepare for the film, script-wise and casting-wise.
Earlier, in a few interviews you had mentioned that you write screenplays keeping in mind that the films should be relatable and make sense to the audiences. With V being a high-octane action-thriller, we want to know how the film will do justice to your concept?
What I was very clear about while making V is that it has to be a popcorn film, but it should also have an emotional depth for the audience when they are watching it. I don't want people to watch it and forget it the next moment.
I would want them to take wherever they go. I want the experience to stay with them, not only in terms of the adrenaline rush they are having but for the emotional rush. You should feel at the end of the day that you watched a film that made sense to you, created meanings not just the sensory reactions.
Nani made his acting debut with your 2008 film Ashta Chamma, so you have seen him grow in the industry from his inception. Tell us how how according to you has he changed as an actor?
When I saw him for the first time, he was a young guy filming promotional videos for a local channel. I was really impressed with his energy, enthusiasm, willingness to contribute and collaborate. After we cast him, halfway through Ashta Chamma, I remember telling him that he was a star material 'if you can shape your career well, take the right decision, you will go places'.
Nani is someone who doesn't hesitate to take risks. Very few in Telugu industry have the kind of courage that Nani has displayed in making choices about stories, and all kinds of movie where he is not necessarily a hero or a 'macho hero'. He has created a phenomenal fan-base for himself who expect the unusual from him, which is what I like about him. Although people call him a natural star, I think he is just a natural actor, who happens to be a star.
How challenging was it to helm V given the fact that the film has a huge star-studded cast including Sudheer Babu, Nivetha Thomas, Aditi Rao Hydari on one side, and it marks the 25th venture of Natural Star Nani, which evidently raises the expectations of the fans?
I personally didn't think about it much because Nani is not the kind to think about it either. He chose to play a negative role for his 25th film. When he saw the rough cuts before the shoot, he said 'sir you are Mohan Krishna 2.0 version so, I should now become 2.0 Nani version'. So he took it as a challenge and took the whole character and film to the next level. And of course, Sudheer was superb in the film.
As far as I am concerned, it's a huge turning point for Sudheer. I am glad these two actors who completely belong to two different schools of acting, Nani, a high-energy, flamboyant, emotionally driven actor and Sudheer who is a methodical, understated star, were coming together and it was a huge opportunity for me to work with them in a movie like V. There was never a tension that it is Nani's 25th film, we have to do certain things. Nani doesn't have a song or dances, there is only one background song for him, so there are no mainstream buildups, except the ones that are demanded by the story.
V was earlier scheduled to release theatrically but now due to the COVID-19 pandemic it is directly releasing on Amazon Prime Video. How challenging was it to decide to go for direct-to-OTT release?
Initially, we were all cribbing like children saying no we did the film for theatre and we stuck to that for a while. My producer Dil Raju was very supportive and he would be the last person to go to OTT if he thought it wasn't right. But what we realized is that Amazon Prime Video is the best option we have in terms of presenting an experience that comes close to the theatrical experience, in terms of audience base, the fact that their streaming is very good and they can reproduce the quality we want them to reproduce. So these factors convinced us that we cannot keep a lid on the film and keep waiting without having a clear idea as to when the theatres will open and when the audience would actually come to the theatres.
We made the decision very happily to shift to OTT, and then we made certain technical changes to make it really good for the audiences both in terms of visual and the sound.
The V trailer and teaser have been receiving huge appreciation from the netizens especially for its technical aspects. Can you please tell us more about it?
V probably is the first Telugu film I can boldly say which actually maintains a certain colour palette, dark colour palette throughout the film. So you are immersed in certain visual experiences, not just in grandeur but the brooding and the dark nature of the story. In terms of sound, I even wanted it to tell the story, in terms of the design, it takes you into the mood of the story. The environment created by Bishwadeep Chatterjee along with the mixer Kannan Ganpath is incredible.
It is included with Thaman's background score with Amit Trivedi's music. Every crew and cast member has put in their heart and soul into the look and feel of the film. So we did what all we could to give the audience a visual and audio experience through V.
The four lead actors of V including Nani, Aditi Rao Hydari, Nivetha Thomas and Sudheer Babu have already been a part of your previous movies. So working with them in V was easy or were there challenges?
It was very easy for me because we've enjoyed working together. We always like to collaborate frequently. So when I told Aditi that she doesn't have a lot of screen time, but is very significant, she immediately said 'yes I will do it'. Similarly Nivetha. Comparing with the women, the men have longer screen time, but they are centered to the film, both Nivetha and Aditi Rao Hydari. With Nani and Sudheer, it was very easy for me, because once they were convinced about what they are going to do, they were having a ball doing what they believe in.