Interview Movies

All set for the neo-noir mystery action drama ‘V’

Sudheer Babu and Nani in a poster of ‘V’, which has more than 6,50,000 images of fans posing with ‘v’ symbol   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

V promises to be the most mainstream commercial outing in director Mohana Krishna Indraganti’s oeuvre. He calls the forthcoming Telugu film a neo-noir MAD (mystery action drama). “It’s a mainstream film with a story that makes sense, not a slam-bang action spectacle riding on an apology of a plot,” he says, when we begin talking hours after the trailer launch.

The story of V was triggered by a few incidents that had happened in Hyderabad, and Indraganti’s love for noir action thrillers. “The story is about real people, their love and life. The smart lines you hear Nani say in the trailer are all integral to the story,” says the director.

Producer Dil Raju and director Mohana Krishna Indraganti

Producer Dil Raju and director Mohana Krishna Indraganti   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Indraganti had planned V as his second film, after Grahanam (2004), but the project had to wait until he found the right people and the budget. “Had I made it back then, it would have been an art house project,” he reflects.

During the conversation, he shares his admiration for French noir films, movies of Alfred Hitchcock,and says V is his tribute to films such as Se7en and Zodiac, among others.

Director’s cut
  • In the pipeline: A project with Vijay Deverakonda, which will begin after the actor completes his film with director Puri Jagannadh.
  • Telugu literature: Recently, the ‘Indraganti Srikanth Sharma Sahiti Puraskaram’ was constituted in memory of late writer Indraganti Srikanth Sharma, as an annual award to recognise and honour contributions to Telugu literature: “Ever since my father passed away, as a family we have been wanting to recognise those who contribute to Telugu literature. Dad used to go out of his way to recognise and encourage new talent,” says Mohana Krishna Indraganti.

Violent turn

Indraganti has dabbled with diverse genres and yet V is radically different from his repertoire so far: “There is some gruesome violence and we have been honest about it,” he says, referring to Quentin Tarantino’s quote: ‘For some people the violence, or the rudeness of the language, is a mountain they can’t climb. That’s OK. It’s not their cup of tea. But I am affecting them…’

Watch: actor Nani talks about his action thriller movie 'V'
 

The director explains that in Telugu cinema, genre-specific films aren’t made often, and adds: “V has a good love story and dark humour. It’s a more male film than any of my previous projects, but the women (Nivetha Thomas and Aditi Rao Hydari) are central to the film’s strong emotional content,” he says. If Aditi hasn’t been part of the pre-release promotions so far, it’s a deliberate move since her role holds a surprise in the film.

When Indraganti revisited his original story written in the mid 2000s and updated it to suit present circumstances, he pitched it to Nani and asked the actor which part he would choose: “Nani said he wanted to play the bad guy; that’s what I had in mind for him too,” he laughs.

Mohana Krishna Indraganti with Sudheer Babu

Mohana Krishna Indraganti with Sudheer Babu   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Finding an actor for the cop was tougher, and finally Sudheer Babu came on board. Collaborating with Sudheer after Sammohanam, Indraganti rates him among the most under-utilised actors in Telugu cinema and says he is at his finest in V: “Sudheer and Nani don’t meet much on screen but they are bound to be compared. Sudheer has done a fabulous job, holding his own against Nani.”

As for his protégé Nani, Indraganti is happy that the third collaboration happens to be the actor’s 25th film: “In fact, September 5 (when the film will stream worldwide on Amazon Prime) will mark the 12th anniversary of our first project together, Ashta Chamma,” he mentions.

Enhancing the digital experience

Indraganti is confident that V will be a technical benchmark for Telugu action thrillers and appreciates his team for the visual consistency (led by cinematographer P G Vinda) and sound design by Bishwadeep Chatterjee for the attempt to give viewers as close-to-theatre experience as possible on OTT: “Though the theatrical Dolby Atmos experience is tough to match, Bishwadeep and Kannan Ganpat (sound mixing engineer) have arrived at something close.”

Mohana Krishna Indraganti and Nani

Mohana Krishna Indraganti and Nani   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

V is also Indraganti’s hat-tip to Salim-Javed era of ‘masala’ films: “In terms of writing, films like Deewar and Trishul were as good as Hollywood films of the 1950s and 60s. The punchlines were crowd pleasers that also made sense,” says the filmmaker, referring to Marlon Brando’s iconic line ‘I could have been a contender’ from On the Waterfront and Deewar’s unforgettable ‘Mere paas maa hai’.

The high-action sequences of V were choreographed by Ravi Varma and Indraganti says the effort was to sync the action with the story. Directing action of this scale was a first for him: “When there’s a good action team, all you need to do is articulate what will really work for the story. Otherwise there will be generic action pieces. The action here happens organically.”

He also hints that V has an unusual ending, keeping with the ‘rush of insight’ screenplay element that will make viewers look back, ponder, and connect the dots.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 3:42:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/mohana-krishna-indraganti-discusses-the-nani-sudheer-babu-starrer-v/article32454677.ece

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