cinema Venkat Siddareddy talks about his forthcoming film ‘Case No. 666’ which he hopes will pioneer the genre of ‘found-footage’ film-making

It requires a great deal of grit and passion to keep pursuing an opportunity in cinema for this long. Venkat Siddareddy left his software job in the US and moved to India to become a director when he found his blog in Telugu ‘Navatarangam’, the first of its kind, very addictive. Apparently that blog had 10, 000 visitors and 50 regular contributors — all of them discussed cinema, wrote reviews of just not Indian movies but films from all over the world. He used that as a bridge to meet many people connected with cinema after which he quit his job. “My wife calls my blog as a second wife, I had written over 1500 pages,” he informs.

The first thing he did after he came to India in 2009 was to meet producer Suresh Babu; then he became a team member of Suresh Productions. He started as a script consultant, handled the promotional activities for their films and developed a software — a digital cinema solution called ‘Spirit Digital’ and it was acquired by the Prasad group and is being used in more than 100 theatres across India and Nepal. “I would work half a day on scripts and half a day on the technical side. I wanted to be in the film industry and I realised I can do so much related to handling software in the film industry. Now my maiden film Case No. 666/2013 is ready and will be out on January 25. I wrote the script and directed it along with Purnesh Konathala in 12 working days with a team of 20 members. The budget is very small,” he says.

Screen villain and character artiste and producer, Ashok Kumar had produced this film with Purnesh Konathala. This is the first Telugu film ever made in ‘Found Footage’ genre in its 80 years span. He explains, “Found footage is a genre of film making, especially horror, in which all or a substantial part of a film is presented as discovered film or video recordings, often left behind by missing or dead protagonists. The very nature of film making in this genre gives a unique feeling and impression to the audience. It is inspired by The Blair Witch Project but we have developed it into a full fledged commercial story lasting little more than two hours.”

He elaborates, “The story is about three friends — Bhaskar, Chaitanya and Durga who, along with a stranger, venture into a forest and stay in a haunted guest house. They carry two cameras through which they start recording interesting and mysterious happenings. As the mystery unfolds, the friends go missing one after the other. After six months of their disappearance, police investigate the case and recover three memory cards from their cameras which reveal a shocking truth. All these footages from the memory cards form the content of this film.”

Venkat Siddareddy is also one of the screenplay writers for Madhura Sridhar’s forthcoming film Back Bench Student which is currently under production.

y. sunita chowdhary