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Patriotic theme

This period film is veteran director K. Raghavendra Rao's 101st venture



Venkatesh takes on Imperialistic forces.

AFTER A ninety-minute drive from Tirupati we reached Talakona where the shooting for Vyjayanthi Movies', `Subhash Chandra Bose,' is taking place. The setting seems to be from the pre-Independence period. At the helm is veteran K. Raghavendra Rao. A few yards away the actual action is taking place with the film's hero Venkatesh and principle actor, Prakash Raj listening to the fights director, Vijayan as cinematographer Bhupathy looks through the lens. Both the actors were attired in traditional rural costumes with Venky sporting a red headband and long hair. Prakash Raj is wielding a bow with junior artistes in the guise of `British soldiers' behind him. Venkatesh faces them with valour as a patriotic song is played.

As we neared him, Rao welcomed us and the auteur believes that instead of him his films speak.

As close up shots of Venkatesh with the British soldiers and others pouncing on him are being taken, Vijayan orders for the giant propeller connected to a motor to be switched on. A storm like atmosphere is created. Since Prakash Raj is not in the scene he joins the conversation. "There is space for me and I have accepted the role," and adds that they were shooting the pre-climax scene that comes as a flash back in the movie.

It is lunchtime. Both the director and the executive producer, Saibaba invite us for lunch. We bargain a quote from the director. He relents. `Okay. I will put it in three sentences. Venkatesh made his debut under me (the film: "Kaliyuga Pandavulu").

Again he is the hero of my first film," makes a deliberate pause and with a broad grin adds, "This is my 101st film. So I am counting the numbers again from 1. And Prakash Raj suits any role." After the lunch break the unit shifts to a lower plane on the opposite side.

Amidst the tall trees are a score of horses with `soldiers' and `freedom fighters' mounted on them. About forty men and women clad in white khadi holding the tricolour are waiting for their turn to face the camera. The director orders them to form a circle as Bhupathy and his unit position the crane mounted camera in their midst. Rao is not happy with the formation and instructs them over the megaphone. This time it is Vijayan's voice that booms over the mike and says to the director `ready sir,' and then sets his eyes on the actors and orders them to go down further and hold the flags tightly as the giant propeller is at work again. In the background S.P. Balasubrahmaniam's high-pitched voice renders `Vandemataram' (written by Suddala Ashok Teja and composed by Manisharma). Venkatesh is getting ready for the shot. "The character of the protagonist is inspired by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

It is not a real story," he smiles. Besides studying the role he had to undergo workouts at the gym as his biceps indicate.

"To give the character a different look, we went for the long hair and a robust physique. It is a commercial film with part of it set in a period backdrop," he says as he moves towards the circle of freedom fighters. The sun is still shining through the thick forest. Producer Aswini Dutt has gone to Hyderabad to make arrangements for the next and final schedule (now in progress). "We will be shooting a song and some scenes to complete the film's shoot by March 20. Venkatesh essays two dimensions in the movie with Shriya and Genelia. We have Gulshan Grover in a major character. The film is slated for release on April 15," says Saibaba.

M.L.N.

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