By the rule book

A still from the movie  

When Venu Udugula set out to direct his debut film Needi Naadi Oke Katha, he did not find producers. There were people who didn’t believe in him and those who did were not willing to invest money on his project so one can say he was driven by necessity to use the Dogme 95 technique. The director simplifies the process as he explains, “Dogme 95 is a filmmaking movement in Denmark in 1995 started by two Danish directors Lars Von Trier and Vinterberg. They came up with 10 points as manifesto which were to be kept in mind while making a film. Those days filmmaking was expensive, hence the alternative was to break the stereotypes in mainstream filmmaking. We made this film in that structure and followed seven out of 10 points. One major rule was to avoid cranes and trolleys. There shouldn’t be graphics and If a scene has to be shot in a hotel, we need to go to a hotel but not create a set.Lot of new age films have been made in Europe and I have been studying filmmaking process and thought we should do it. My producer was apprehensive initially and I shot a scene and showed it to him. It came out very well and he was convinced.”

Needi Naadi Oke Katha is the second film in India made on Dogme 95. The first was Karma Karta Kriya made in Kerala. Venu hails from Hanumakonda and he initially worked with Madan of Pellaina Kotthalo. He is basically a Telugu poet and evinced keen interest in a film career even while he was pursuing studies. He worked as an ad film maker before turning an assistant director to Madan. After a while he began making trials for a directorial chance. None in Venu’s family were interested in literature or films and post his graduation, he came to Hyderabad. About his attempts to bag an opportunity to direct he says, “In 2008, I had a story but that needed a heavy budget and it was science fiction. Since I knew it would be difficult to find a producer I moved to a simple plot devoid of heavy dramatic moments. There are books such as Chivaraku migiledi, Asamardhuni Jeeva Yatra. This type of psycho analysis genre is something you find in European films, not seen much here. I would write such stories but I never found audience for them. At that time the industry was going through a stereotyped or a formula phase but now the situation has changed and I finally got the chance.”

The story is about father and son relationship. ‘Needi Naadi Oke Katha’ is what the heroine tells the hero. The audience will identify with the characters and the film can be termed as a social satire. The auteur says the society creates a set of values and expects individuals to have long term and short term goals which is a misconception. He questions, “Why should one have a goal? Parents shouldn’t pressurise children by telling them that they have to become doctors and engineers. The hero here cannot adjust to these set rules and expectations. The conflict is between values defined by society and his mindset.”

The film is set in Chittoor and Sree Vishnu speaks the dialect. I wanted to place the story in a small town and Vishnu is conversant with the slang and I’m confident it works,” says Venu.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 4:03:52 PM |

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