Backed by experience, Rama Devi now dreams of directing a film
Go to the sets of producer Madhura Sreedhar’s Maya and you will find a nattily dressed Rama Devi handling more than one thing at a time and completely in control. She hasn’t acquired this ability overnight, but over the years, especially since she started working on director Neelakanta’s Show in 2000. As she fine-tuned the script and started contributing to the aesthetics, the director was more than happy to have her in the team. More popular as an associate director than Neelakanta’s sister-in-law, Rama revels in multitasking and states that it has been 10 years now, and she thinks there is nothing left to explore. Now she is thinking of directing a film.
She avers, “During the making of Show, we did not have many technicians and the responsibility was on me; I was handling the art department and the costumes. Since I knew the script thoroughly I could understand what the character needed to look like in the opening sequence and how they transform. It was a big learning experience for me. I was into poetry, dance and drama from the beginning and it all helped me a lot in assimilating and understanding cinema.”
Why doesn’t she work for films other than Neelakanta’s? She says the thought never occurred to her as there was hardly any time on hand. There was never a gap, from conceptualising to post production and publicity. She always felt she was being trained for direction. “I was just travelling with Neelakanta as he is a family member. A rapport established and I felt comfortable discussing the plusses and minuses of the script. I supervise the styling and make-up and guide the artiste as to how she or he should look, the attitude to be projected on screen and how to highlight the positive aspects of one’s personality. I can spot talent and put them on to the right person. That has been possible because I give an ear to everyone,” she explains.
Artistes have always been comfortable in her presence and have established trust in the first meeting. It extends to other areas as well. She was also a producer of Nandanavanam and reveals managing people has been her forte. “People confide their problems in me and I come up with immediate solutions instead of brooding over them. My focus is on being cost effective and managing time well,” she signs off.