Yatra, the biopic on former Chief Minister of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh YS Rajashekara Reddy, is gearing up for a February 8th release. On this occasion, we had a brief interview with the film’s director Mahi V Raghav. Here is the transcript.
Q) How did the film materialize?
A) It was not an intentional decision, but it happened eventually. I prepared the script over a period of eight years. In the meantime, I interacted with many people and took inputs from them. While making Anando Brahma, I thought of making a film on YSR by utilizing the information I had collected and tried to showcase YSR’s greatness once again. So I took his historic Padayatra as the main theme and inserted all the emotions in the script.
Q) Did you mert YSR’s family members while preparing the script?
A) No. As I’m making a film based on his Padayatra, I thought it won’t hurt anyone. After announcing the film, we released the first look poster and went to Jagan anna and showed it to him. He encouraged us and asked us to go ahead.
Q) Choosing Mammootty for YSR’s role?
A) Mammootty is one of the finest actors in India. I saw his films like Ambedkar and Dalapathi and decided to cast him. Actually, we didn’t want him to look like YSR, but make people feel that they are seeing YSR while watching the film. We initially had a fear that whether Mammootty will accept the role or not because he was last seen in Telugu cinema decades ago, but he immediately said okay to the project after listening to the script.
Q) Is it a conscious decision to release the film ahead of general elections?
A) I don’t believe in it. Earlier, the public used to have political films impacting them. But this generation is wiser and it will decide according to its aspirations. Our film is a tribute to the great leader YSR. If it influences anyone, we will feel grateful. Coming to the release date, political films garner interest only in the political season, so we are releasing it now.
Q) Will the whole film deal with Padayatra?
A) No. It has many sub-plots and an intriguing drama in it. By taking a specific time period, we narrated the film in a cinematic manner. The film technically ends with the end of Padayatra but I briefly narrated the consequences with a song during the end titles.
Q) How difficult was it to shift yourself from a horror-comedy to a realistic narration?
A) Not really. Once the film is done it’s done, and we again have to start a new journey with another film. For every film, the core point should excite me to work on it for more than a year. Only then I can give the film some shape and present it to the audience. Initially, I never had a good opinion on horror films, but while making Anando Brahma, my perception changed. In the same way, I don’t know much about YSR, but I came to know about his life story during the making of Yatra.
Q) About YS Jagan’s cameo?
A) No. Jagan garu will not be in the film. At the script stage, I wrote his role. But later, I felt it will deviate the emotional connect in the film and removed it. Our film only focuses on YS Rajashekar Reddy’s life and his emotional bonding with the people.
Q) Next projects?
A) As of now, I’m looking forward to Feb 8th. I will decide after this film’s release.
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