M. L. NARASIMHAM
A shell of entertainment covering a solution for the educational crisis is the story of `Students'.
The Cricket World Cup is just days away and the frenzy and the fever has spread to the gully player who wields the willow like a Samurai on a makeshift road. His friends give him some tips just to tease him. The subsequent actions of the aspiring cricketer create ripples of laughter among the unit members. The camera rolls to capture the actor's facial convulsions as he delivers his dialogues and played the game. Debut director G.T. Prasad was shooting this comic scene for Sri Sai Rupa Creations', Students produced by Thota Venkateswara Reddy on location at the seven-acre plot at Annapurna Studios. The film introduces hero Nishanth, two heroines Milony and Rathi Pond. Veteran Jayasudha dons a key role.
World Cup"Venumadhav is gully Mallesh, the gully cricketer. His dream is to represent the country at the World Cup. And he is serious about it! When he is practicing his friends Ali, Lakshmipathi and Lirisha enter to give him some tips on how to become a good cricketer and take him back to play gilli danda and other native sports. It is a comic scene," explains Prasad. Students is a campus love story but takes a different path as the theme progresses and lays emphasis on correcting the present day education system that is proving to be a bane, says the director. "We are not preaching. There are two layers. The shell of the movie is a commercial entertainer. The inner layer talks about the stress-free society for the students especially those who are opting for IT sector or call centre jobs as their life becomes more stressful with the advent of corporate culture in education. We need to reform the system. To this point we added a love track to make the package palpable and interesting. It has class, gloss and wonderful music by Krishna-Raja duo. The former is a sound engineer for many of Anu Malik's films and the later an erstwhile assistant to Koti." Nishanth took acting training in Vizag under Satyanand. Rathi Pond has done a few Bhojpuri films and Milony is from Mumbai. "They are not present today. But each of them is very quick in grasping things. The hero's characterization has two dimensions. Like a Buddha or a Vemana, in his life too a transformation occurs. The second half reveals about his colourful past," disclosed Prasad during break time, sipping scalding lemon tea. The actors re-assemble at the shooting zone as co-directors K.K.R. Chowdary and Nagesh read them out from the sheet of paper about the next sequence. Cinematographer Rajesh Kata is all set to shoot the scene. "Travelling by a couple of boats each day from Nagarjuna Sagar to the nearby Nandikonda we shot a key portion without a crane or steady cam or even a monitor. It is a wonderful experience." The director returns to his pet topic, reforms in education. "This aspect is portrayed through veteran actress Jayasudha's character, a lecturer. She accepts a challenge from a corporate college magnate (played by Ashok Kumar) and starts an academy of excellence with the help of the hero where the students have different syllabus without those kilos and kilos of books to carry," Prasad stops for a while and hastens to add, "What I felt (about the present day studies) I am presenting truthfully on the screen. I don't say it is the final word on the system." After the day's work the unit left for Jaipur and Kulu-Manali to film two duets on the lead actors choreographed by Shankar. "Post production work is going on simultaneously. Plans are afoot to release the film by the end of Feb," informs producer Thota Venkateswara Reddy.