Sekhar Kammula’s next, ‘Life is Beautiful’ will star 11 newcomers

Sekhar Kammula is not a filmmaker you would spot in social circles often. He goes into hibernation while writing and executing a new film. His last film Leader released in February 2010. In September that year, he announced a massive talent hunt for his next project, Life is Beautiful. “After Happy Days, I thought it would be easy to select newcomers. But it turned out to be far more challenging,” he says, speaking to us ahead of introducing his new star cast. A tough task it was, since he was faced with more than 50,000 applications from aspiring actors.

After auditions, Sekhar’s team chose 11 young actors — Abhijeet, Sudhakar, Kaushik, Shagun, Zara, Rashmi, Kavya, Naveen, Vijay, Sanjeev and Sriram. While the cast is new, Sekhar retained his core team — editor Marthand K. Venkatesh, cinematographer Vijay C. Kumar (who met with an accident but continued to shoot with the help of crutches) and composer Mickey J. Meyer. After a socio-political film like Leader, what made Sekhar go back to a light-hearted film? “I wanted to re-discover my old self. Unlike Happy Days, the setting here is a colony. It’s a coming-of-age story of six youngsters. You will see them through different happenings like gully cricket, festivals, listening to Ghantasala songs, romance and tussles,” says Kammula. Art director Thota Tharani put up a colony set at Padmarao Nagar, where the film has been shot. If the title reminds you of Roberto Benigni’s bittersweet cult film, watch out for Kammula’s film which releases this August.