Rao. S. Kodukula makes his directorial debut on a touching note with `Vuri'

There is no doubt the people will go for fine things. But their immutable demands must be understood and met first, the thing must be put over on them and that's the job, the true test of good faith and skill - that, not empty words. Seems like filmmaker Rao S. Kodukula believes in the dictum of 1930's famed American film critic Otis Ferguson. Hailing from commercial cinema format he could have chosen a kitsch formula script `in tune with the trend' considered by many a debutant as a safe bet for his maiden venture. He chose rather an unconventional story Vuri. "I know it is easy to make one's debut with a commercial formula subject. But it is difficult to make an issue based film in one's first attempt. I wrote the story five year ago. I took it to some of the top-notch producers. They liked the subject but it is Gautham who took the risk," smiles Rao S. Kodukula. "It is a poignant story of a hangman, his wife and son. It is based on some real incidents. After extensive research on the subject that delves deep into the psyche of the hangman and his family members, I finally wrote the complete script that is useful to the youth and a topic of national interest." Popular Malayalam character actor Tilakan plays the duty bound hangman with Sujatha as his innocent wife. Rohit plays their son with Sarath Babu and Sana in other important roles.. "Tilakan, Sujatha and Sarath Babu are veterans in the field. But Rohit sports a new look and moves away from his chocolate hero romantic tales to a more meaningful role," says Rao. But the story seems to resemble The Hangman. " When I wrote the story, I had four actors in my mind to play the central character of the hangman - Om Puri, Tilakan, Girish Karnad and Kota Srinivasa Rao. So I approached Om Puri first and narrated him the subject. He liked it but wanted me to make the film in English. He narrated it to Vishal Bhandari. Taking the central point from my story, they said they made some changes in the script. They went ahead with the shoot even before we started work on the Telugu project but later agreed to give the story credit to me and also paid compensation," smiles Rao. Rao says that besides the lead actors, four renowned technicians contributed to shape his film well. "M.V. S. Haranatha Rao's crisp dialogue, M.V. Raghu's breathtaking visuals, Shankar's deft editing and L. Vaidynathan's soulful background score elevated the film. I consider them the four pillars of my movie."No snazzy dances, no songs, no slick action scenes shot with unbelievable technical wizardry, nor a story borrowed from Hollywood . Is the film ticketed for the numerically lean experimental audience? Rao is optimistic. "It is truly a native story taken from real life. The topic is contemporary. The winds of change are already blowing. The audiences are learning to appreciate new themes. Why not my work?"M.L. NARASIMHAM