Setting a submarine to roll

Shivam Rao

Shivam Rao   | Photo Credit: Picasa

Shivam Rao, the production designer of the much-awaited ‘Ghazi’ takes us through the building of a team along with the submarine

Shivam Rao had a creative bent of mind since school days and had participated in story telling competitions. His father is from the Army and he got to travel a lot and see the world personally. After college, he did interior designing and did a two-year direction course in LV Prasad Film Academy. This background in interior design and direction helped him in Ghazi. Production designer Shivam and director Sankalp had worked for Anish Kuruvilla’s Ko Antey Koti before they came up with Ghazi .

“We had a different title when we started the film. Once we decided to make it on a national level, we started looking for producers. PVP and Matinee Entertainments came in after knowing the script. Sankalp, I and Vasu (who has a Visual Effects background) did a show reel and made a a presentation. By then we had already done research and development and spent around 25 lakh on the sets and VFX. When we felt it should have a national release, we stopped looking for opportunity and started creating an opportunity as the concept was strong,” says Shivam.

They collaborated with the producers the next three months and the budget went up above a crore. It’s a purely concept-driven film, and he identified the right people to create a team, consisting of mechanical engineers, architects and interior designers. Shivam handled ideation and execution with this able team.

Extremely proud of his team, Shivam says after watching the work of his team in the film, youngsters will be motivated to seek a career in the film industry. The team consists of: Vishal Anumula (, Daneil Benhorn (, Sandeep Chowdary (R&D), Sonali Gupta (architect), Sami Abdul (architect), Sakshi Kedia (Fine Arts), Vamshi G (architect), Sumit Siktia (interior designer), Santhosh Kumar Ubale (direction team) and Hemanth Tarigonda (direction team)

Shivam is also confident that Ghazi will also goad off-beat script writers to pitch ideas to producers. He throws light on the dynamics of the submarine, which is central to the film. “There is a submarine on RK Beach but we didn’t create an exact replica. That submarine’s length is 300 ft. What we designed is 125 feet but it’ll be made to look like a 300 ft submarine. The exterior is VFX but wherever a human element interacts with water, it is real. A scene where one compartment in the submarine gets filled with water was actually shot in a swimming pool.”

Shivam had faced challenges in getting Ghazi into shape. Initially it was convincing the team to work for free on the assurance that they would be paid later. The quality improved after money was pumped in and he got the breathing space to execute work. It took a lot of time and struggle to make the submarine look like real metalbefore the actors got roped in. Curator Phani helped the director with a lot of inputs and the team would visit Vizag twice every month to gain knowledge. He avers, “Lot of equipment looks functional and spare parts are not available, so everything was created. The team came up with prototypes and helped us in this cinema mechanism. The submarine had an analogue model those days and also 75 to 80 percent was shot inside. For submarine exterior we put up a set near the swimming pool.”

Speaking of his future plans, he says if he takes up a project next, it has to be on a some scale like Ghazi. Directing films is his ultimate goal. “The combination of design and direction will work for me. I like creative challenges. As long as you have production houses to encourage you, such scripts will become a reality. Ghazi has a war backdrop, with the idea that if we don’t kill the enemy, they will kill us. That concept works for me,” he smiles.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 10:57:16 PM |

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