M L NARASIMHAM
The best part of college life gets a new feel in Sekhar Kammula’s film.
Filmmaker Sekhar Kammula is filming a farewell song on the lead players and students at Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology in Hyderabad. The song is choreographed by the director for the appropriately titled Happy Days.
“The song is placed towards the climax,” informs Sekhar during a break. Lots of newcomers are spotted on location. “We have taken seven new faces, four boys and three girls for the lead roles. Varun Sandesh, Nikhil, Rahul, Vamsee Krishna, Gayatri Rao, Monali Chowdhary and Sonia were selected from among those who applied when we advertised for new faces over BIG FM and an Internet portal. Tamanna plays a senior student to them,” says Sekhar.
“We received nearly 20,000 applications. After short-listing,we chose the lucky seven. The whole process lasted four months.” Of course, the cast had to go through a tough audition and photo session before they got the nod from the maverick filmmaker-producer. “Now we are proud of them and their work,” smiles Sekhar.
The shoot commences. Cinematographer Vijay C. Kumar is using a hawk lens and jimmy jib to film the song. Jimmy jib has become a boon to filmmakers to cover large areas to get dramatic movements to an object or set. A special crane that comes in parts and assembled on location, jimmy jib, has a camera holder with mini drives to operate remotely 360 degrees spherical rotations of the camera and manages camera movements like zoom, focus, pan, tilt and shutter etc. The ace cinematographer seems to have a special bonding with Sekhar. He shot for all his films till date.
“Cinematographers do have a bonding with every director. But Sekhar is special. He views cinema differently from the routine. He sticks more to authenticity and naturalness that naturally makes my work look cool."
The song Happy Days… rendered by Karthik is played and the remote controlled crane-mounted camera rolls to capture the revelry as the lead players and the group celebrate the farewell singing and dancing. “We trained the actors before commencing the shoot,” Sekhar said. “I studied in this college two decades ago. They stopped giving permissions for film shoots some years back. I convinced the chairman B.N. Reddy and the board members that I will not lower the image of my alma mater. I showed them my previous films. For once in Telugu cinema, you can see the real college laboratory etc. where the film was shot,” says Sekhar. The music is composed by Micky J Meyer and Adlabs’ BIG Music enters Telugu market with the film’s audio. “Micky J Meyer made some innovative compositions that give a new sound to Telugu film music like what A. R. Rahman has done to Tamil and Hindi cinema.” The film is slated for a September release.