Anand Deverakonda’s recent film, Middle Class Melodies, showcased the beauty of Guntur town, receiving much appreciation from critics and viewers alike. Similarly, Payal Rajput’s November-release crime-thriller, Anaganaga O Athidhi, explored the simplicity of a village populace to perfection.
Young director Vinod Ananthoju, who arrived in T-town with a bang with his Middle Class Melodies, tells us about what helped his directorial. “I believe a new location offers a refreshing look and feel to a movie, and as expected, it received phenomenal response in this film too,” explains Vinod. Talking about his experiences while filming, he says, “I hail from Guntur, so I was familiar with all the important spots in the town and could exploit it to the hilt in the film. I am also a foodie, as are most Guntur citizens, so all the food joints shown in the song I had visited them several times.”
Another new-age director Karuna Kumar, who rose to fame with Palasa 1978, which also released this year in March, doesn’t believe a director needs to be born in a particular place to be familiar with it.
“I was born in a village 20 kilometres away from Palasa in Srikakulam District, but I chose Palasa because my story demanded a small town,” he explains. “I also chose the place to showcase the caste-discrimination prevalent in 1970s while highlighting the beauty of the North Andhra Pradesh dialect. I think the combination really worked wonders.”
Incidentally, his upcoming film Sridevi Soda Center, with Sudheer Babu in the lead, is set to capture beauty of the dry lands of East Godavari District.
“I have chosen to shoot in dry lands to give a refreshing look to our film. And to take the audiences on a new visual treat, our film will be packed with goli soda carts, earthenware and roadside stalls akin to Godavari Delta,” he adds.
Bringing in the rural audiences
It’s not surprising that movies set against the rural background are doing well; moviegoers’ fascination with ‘rustic’ has been demonstrated time and again, especially over the last decade. Some phenomenally successful movies woven around such stories, which rocked box-office collections, include the 2018-action-drama Rangasthalam, Soggade Chinni Nayana, Sathamanam Bhavati, Middle Class Abbayi and Srimanthudu.
“Rustic is never out of vogue,” states producer Anil Sunkara, who’d captured the elegance of Konda Reddy Fort in his last release Sarileru Neekevvaru, which released in the beginning of 2020. “The backdrop of Kurnool added zing to our story of a valiant soldier who arrives from Kashmir to take on an arrogant factionist-turned-politician.”
Stating how Tollywood has started making charming rural stories on par with Tamil and Malayalam movies, the producer also points out how shooting in rural towns and villages has a dual advantage.
Despite the simplicity of the landscape, preparing for villager roles has its set of challenges. Payal Rajput, shares some of her thoughts when she played the role of a simple village belle in Anaganaga O Athidhi. She says that the film conjures up the idyllic charms of the verdant countryside, the simplicity of a village life, the innocence of the rustic populace and the values that even the urban crowds swear by.