Tanikella Bharani is set to enjoy the success of ‘Midhunam’
Shooting for an untitled film with NTR, sporting a white kurta, pancha and a thin rudraksha mala, sipping tender coconut water, he talks about why films like Midhunam catch on by word of mouth. Tanikella Bharani has written 10 plays, directed many short films like Siraa, Key, Blue Cross (produced by K. Raghavendra Rao), Last farmer (produced by V. V. Vinayakam) and he finally feels confident of leaving a directorial legacy behind. Grahanam was an experimental film where Bharani played the protagonist and brought Chalam’s short story, ‘Doshagunam’ to life.
Bharani speaks of his house where he has framed a picture of Satyajit Ray and on it is written, “It is my aim and it is my dream.” If you have seen his short films like Siraa, you will realise his passion for surrealistic art. Salvador Dali, the classic surrealist makes his presence felt in the short film. Even his directorial debut, Midhunam is not without surrealistic treatment. There is a black and white sequence where he has used poet Jandhyala Papayya Sastry’s (Karunasri) famous poem, Pushpavilapam sung by Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao and a lone red hibiscus flower is removed from Lakshmi’s (Bucchilakshmi) hair and given back to Nature. “Every film I do, I want to leave a signature. Surrealism is my stamp. I have a post graduate diploma in theatre and I was introduced to this concept and it stuck by me because it speaks of the hypocritical nature of the reality. We are something more inside and I want to portray the pluralities in thought,” he says. Midhunam, too he calls an experiment between two characters for two hours. The protagonist in the film Appadasu (SPB) speaks of attached detachment and Bharani recalls the same and says that the movie essentially tried to portray controlled levels of suffering. “An old couple living life together, working hard and realising the truth of attached detachment where you don’t hang on to too many things and enjoying the small pleasures of companionship,” says Bharani who has also written the dialogues and screenplay for this film.
An adaptation of C. Ramana’s story by the same title, Bharani found it to be a subject different from the regular genre — of true human values and relationships. “I wanted my film to be as real like viewing somebody’s life through a window,” says Bharani.
A lot of Appadasu’s character is based on Bharani’s own father, who he claims was a man who respected all jobs and believed that ‘samastya karyulu, vrittulu okate (all kinds of jobs and castes are one).’ Tanikella Bharani doesn’t believe there is a downside to such films; people call it boring etc, but the magic lies in screenplay. “I have made sure that there is an ascending screenplay to keep up the momentum,” says Bharani and adds that it is not only ‘youthful’ films that deserve the attention. “For generations, the 60 plus movie going audience has been neglected and I am happy that they think they have something to watch on screen now,” says Bharani.
Currently basking in the success of Midhunam, Bharani says that he wants to lie back and enjoy the fruits of his hard-work. “There are two more projects in the pipeline, we’ll see at it comes; perhaps more of satire. I will certainly do one or two films per year,” he says.
Bharani is however clear about one thing — he cannot make ‘commercial’ cinema. “What is big cinema? That which earns money. I cannot do the boy-girl romance, villains etc.; I cannot relish such cinema and I cannot make it,” he says with a smile.