After scoring a decent success with his thought-provoking debut film, Naandhi, director Vijay Kanakamedala has joined forces with his hero Allari Naresh once again for the soon-to-release action drama, Ugram. Produced by Sahu Garapati and Harish Peddi on Shine Screens banner and starring Malayalam actress Mirnaa Menon as the female lead, the film is slated for release on May 5. Vijay recently interacted with the Telugu film media and spoke at length about Ugram. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
How did Ugram originate?
The Covid lockdown was announced after we had wrapped up the first schedule of Naandhi. I was sitting idle for over 6 months and that’s when I penned Ugram’s script. I felt Naresh garu would be apt for this story. He had portrayed emotional characters in the past, but never played a full-fledged ferocious character. He loved the story and felt that it would be a different experience for him. We did extensive research for 6 months and began working on Ugram after Naresh garu wrapped up Maredumilli Prajaneekam.
What was the idea behind penning a story based on a missing backdrop?
I had Ugram’s idea in my mind while I was working on Naandhi. I used to read news about missing cases frequently. That’s when I stumbled upon a news article where the Telangana High Court had asked the police department to submit a report on the serial missing cases. I felt a strong urge to narrate the plight of the families of those missing people.
Why did you portray Allari Naresh in such a different role with mass elements?
Ugram is more intense, massy and emotional than Naandhi. We had to incorporate action elements as we chose a police officer character in the story. Ugram is a very good action thriller. It has several new elements in it.
What was your idea behind casting Mirnaa Menon?
Ugram’s heroine will be seen in three different avatars of a college student, wife and a mother. I was impressed with her performances in her previous movies. We invited her for auditions and asked her to perform a few crucial scenes from Ugram’s script. She was brilliant in the audition and we immediately decided to sign her.
How did Naresh prepare for his police officer’s role?
He understood the seriousness and intensity of his character when I narrated Ugram’s script for the first time. His character doesn’t require a six-pack body, but he did workouts to sport a lean and fit physique. We also discussed his body language prior to the shooting and did rehearsals before filming action episodes.
How did Ugram’s action scenes come out?
Ugram has several action sequences and they all have come out very well. There is a strong emotion in each action sequence. There is a valid reason behind hero’s decision to fight, and even the audience will relate to that emotion. Most of Ugram’s story happens at night and we shot a major portion of the movie during the nights.
How different is Ugram from your debut film Naandhi?
Both Naandhi and Ugram are quite different from each other. While Naandhi was a courtroom drama, Ugram is an out-and-out action thriller which moves at a jet speed. I usually prefer penning hero-centric movies laced with social elements but narrated in a commercial manner.
Will Ugram meet audience’s expectations?
Ever since the teaser launch, there has been a unanimous positive response for the movie. The trailer has clocked over 6 million views and expectations among audiences are quite high. We are confident that Ugram will definitely surpass their expectations. The film has several surprise elements for the audience.
What are your next projects?
I am currently working on a script for Naga Chaitanya. It is a very good social drama. I also have several story ideas in mind. I’ll talk about them at an appropriate time.
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