Budding filmmakers in Visakhapatnam now have the perfect guide in Prasad Rayala to teach them the nuances of the craft
Nandi award winner Prasad Rayala is bursting with enthusiasm as he installs an editing software to add the finishing touches to a short film that his students have just completed shooting. The film is an outcome of a newly introduced course on Digital Filmmaking that he conducted at Andhra University. Prasad who is famous for introducing the character of the ‘sophisticated villan’ in Telugu movies quit acting after a brief stint to spend more time with his family but his passion is still very much alive as he got back to it recently with his directorial debut Graduate that was filmed in Vizag.
As he settles down on a large couch in his living room he glances at his Nandi award and wonders if the trophy they give out today is as heavy as the one he was awarded. “Although it was a short stint youngsters who recognize me from my roles often get scared when they see me in person as they remember some of the scenes from my movies. I remember how my daughter, who was present at the shoot, came running into my arms before the cut as she was scared of the aggression I showed in a particular scene.”
Prasad ventured into acting when he was a public relations manager at the Vizag Steel Plant and had to quickly put together a play to entertain some Russian guests who were visiting the facility. People with contacts in the film industry noticed him in the play and offered to get him a role in films. “It was very difficult at first as directors would only tell me what the scene was about and wouldn’t tell me where it fits into the narrative of the story. It was only later when bigger directors noticed me and narrated the scene properly that I gave my best performances in movies like Teja and Madhuranagarilo.”
That was in the early 90’s and he was one of the first actors from Coastal Andhra to win the Nandi Award. By tying up with Andhra University for a course on filmmaking, Prasad wants to develop the talent in the region in all the skills required to shoot a film. “Vizag is a beautiful location but directors who want to shoot here have to hire their crew from Hyderabad which becomes a costly affair. By providing professional training to people in the region, Vizag will be able to boast of being able to provide quality technical crew.”
While in the USA, Prasad trained at Universal Studios in Los Angeles and at the New York Film Academy. He picked up the technical knowledge required to shoot films digitally and his directorial debut Graduate was a great technical leap. “When we shoot using film, a lot of lighting and makeup is required. However with new technology coming in we can use natural lighting and even cut down on costs drastically.”
His first batch of students from Andhra University not only benefitted from Prasad’s knowledge and experience but also provided access to the state of the art equipment in his company.
The 30-day course will be held every alternate month.