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Different strokes

Meet Chandrashekhar who tasted success with his debut venture "Aithe"



Photo: P.V.Sivakumar

AITHE, THE much-talked-about slick thriller, is one of those quiet successes that crossed a milestone by celebrating its diamond jubilee recently. Its Hindi remake, titled Pachaas Lakh is soon going to hit the screen. But, mention about the film to its debutant director Chandrasekhar, and he surprises you saying, "Out of ignorance, I went for the theme. Of course, I thought it would click commercially and it did."

"The movie was made for an urban audience," he says about Aithe, calling his film "different, but definitely not an offbeat venture. I was a part of the audience before becoming a director. As a viewer, I never watched a film for the sake of songs or fights. The mindset of today's audience is changing. With exposure to English films, they are willing to experiment," he says.

"The $100m reward on Osama Bin Laden following the WTC attack inspired my film. The whole idea sprung from my imagination of what I would do if I earn $100m," he smiles.

Watching the rushes, Chandrasekhar felt the film "was pretty long for a one-song film. So, we cut a few scenes. And, I felt some parts should have been worked out better. But, on the whole, I was happy."

The reason for casting newcomers, says the director, was "the audience cannot accept four heroes running away from the villain. The only option was to go for newcomers. And, we also made the movie in Hindi simultaneously with the same cast. So, we selected northerners like Pawan Malhotra and Virendra Chauhan too."

Before entering films, Tuni-based Chandrasekhar did a Marine Radio Officers' course, after schooling in St. John's School, Gannavaram. After writing the Morse code exam, he came to Hyderabad in 1995, and started his career as a copywriter for Font Cards, his cousin Gangaraju's (producer of this film) business venture. Soon, realising that copywriting was not his cuppa, he was about to pack his bags when producer-director Gangaraju ventured into filmmaking with the award-winning film Little Soldiers, a Just Yellow production. Chandrasekhar worked as his assistant director for the film. "That was it. I realised I belonged here. But, it is my cousin's inspiration all through. He is everything to me - friend, senior, boss and guide. Raju is very creative. I mould myself along his lines," he says. Chandrasekhar believes that "from the outside, things appears larger than life and filmdom may look bad. But, the field is not as bad as people perceive it. Films can be taken up as a serious profession," he says.

Did the field change him? "It did, in a way. Of course, I took some time to get adjusted. I'm shy. I don't talk or party much. While some think I'm arrogant, many, including bigwigs like Chiranjeevi, are quite supportive and encouraging. I'm still not comfortable with the publicity angle of it as I'm with the creative part," he smiles. On projects in the pipeline, he says: "In December I'll start shooting my next venture. Next March, I'm doing another film for Just Yellow. I'll give my best to each film I work on - which will all hopefully be `different' like Aithe."

Apart from movies, Chandrasekhar enjoys reading. "Earlier, I used to read fiction. Nowadays, I read a lot of books on the advancements in the field of science, biographies and sometimes, philosophy. Recently, I read this book on Saddam Hussain," he says.

Any favourite food? "I'm not a foodie actually. And, I like home-cooked south Indian food. I don't enjoy seafood much. I enjoy eating at Dakshin at ITC Kakatiya Sheraton, and I like Dum Biryani at Dumpukht. I frequent Shikaar restaurant, mostly to avoid traffic," he says.

Director cool

WHAT'S A day in Chandrasekhar's life like? On a day he is shooting he wakes up by 4.30 a.m. in order to reach the location at 6 a.m. He just manages about three-four hours of sleep just because of tension and not on account of lack of time. But he does not let this affect him on the sets where he is cool.

Like most people Chandrasekhar gets up late (8 a.m.) on the days he does not have to be on the sets. He is relaxed on such days and spends them watching TV, reading a book, thinking of subjects and story ideas and catching up with meetings.

Chandrasekhar is at his creative best from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. when everything around him is calm and quiet.

SHANTI NANISETTI

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