Sep 16, 2008

Telugu Movie Black & White Director Sreekanth Vemulapalli Interview

When I heard about Black & White with Rajeev Kanakala and Sindu Tholani, I haven't thought much about it, feeling only that it was just another run-of-the-mill movie. And the film released without much publicity too, but when I heard the film is really good and different from routine films, I tried to call the director and congratulate him. After few calls, he picked up the phone, apologized for not picking up earlier as he was busy in promoting the film, giving interviews to various news channels. He did make time for this short interview, which is presented to viewers of TeluguCinema.Com exclusively.

What's your profession before becoming a director?

Sreekanth: I am an M.Tech (Civil Engineering) graduate, and I am a Software Engineer by profession.

How did you become a film director, being a software engineer?

Sreekanth: (Laughs) I am fascinated by books and movies since my childhood. Thus, I involved myself in screenplay and story discussions for many scripts during the last two years. I also did a diplomla in Film direction...

What did you try to convey in the film?

Sreekanth: Black & White movie underlines the need for self-policing to safeguard our society from terrorists. The heroine in the movie is a sleeper-cell (terrorist). She becomes part of our society with a plan to assassinate our President.

How is it different from other films that were made with the same subject?

Sreekanth: The play is very different from all the terrorist-based movies made in various languages. In movies like Dil Se and Fanaa, the terrorist character falls in love with his/her counterpart and the play underlines the character's conflict between love and his/her philosophy. In both movies (and many others), most of the play is open drama. Audiences know who the characters are by the middle of the movie.

In Black & White, the only intention of the heroine is to destroy the society, and she chose the path of sleeper-cell to meet her purpose. The play is completely hidden drama till the climax. Throughout the movie, the terrorist character behaves as a girl next door, and even marries Rajeev Kanakala as a part of her plan. Every move and every decision made by the male lead character is dictated by the game plan of the female lead.

What are the plus points in your movie, you feel?

Sreekanth: The theme, story's relevance to the present day, Sindhu's character graph and performance, and the screenplay.

The flashback episode (just before the climax) of Sindhu has come out very well. Three and half minute flashback has the gist, the purpose and the central point of the entire movie. Sindhu's lifestyle, her surrounding characters, her engagement ceremony ...everything else is there in the flashback, but visually only Sindhu is shown and everything else/everyone else is shown as reflections of the happenings.

The movie has all the ingredients and all the colors. It has got hook in the beginning, perfect midpoint and a very logical conclusion.

What according to you did audience like in the movie?

Sreekanth: The tempo and the thrill of the naxalite episode in the beginning of the movie got huge applause. The story begins on January 26, 2007 and ends on January 26, 2008. The way the dates were presented during the run of the movie is exemplary.

What are you personal favorites in the movie?

Sreekanth: In the climax, the way I presented heroine's emotions is my personal favorite. Particularly, in one of the shots, I visually presented the mindset of the heroine, just few seconds before her attempt to assassinate the President is mind-boggling. ...No terrorist blasts and destructions, but only the reflection of all the emotions pertaining to terrorism are presented in a very sensitive and sensible manner.

The optical and graphic work during the titles, flashback episode, and climax is on par with any Telugu movie made in the recent times. I worked very hard to present my thoughts and have done it beautifully in 35 working days and with a budget of 1.5 crore rupees.

Every dialogue, every scene presented in the first half has relevance in the second half. Every frame in the movie is related to the central theme. Even the comedy scenes and the lone song in the movie are related to the central theme. Editing, camerawork, and background music are big plusses.

Your final word here would be...?

Sreekanth: My sincere and humble request is "Stop piracy!" It's killing small films like ours. I got good response and we thought of releasing the film overseas too. But, by then, the movie was already on the Internet (WWW) and people already watched the pirated version, which killed the potentiality of the movie!

...I thank and other websites, The Hindu, Eenadu and many others for recognizing my hard work! And, your encouraging words will definitely motivate me to do much better movies in future. Commercially, the movie is a 'paisa vasool'.