Art directors are the heart and soul of every film. They are instrumental in giving the project a rich look and today, we bring you an exclusive interview with art director Sahi Suresh, the man who has worked for films like Kanche, Karthikeya, Malli Malli Idhi Rani Roju and Raju Gari Gadi. Let’s see what he has to say.
Q)Tell us about your background ?
I have no background in the industry. Balakrishna’s Bhairava Dweepam inspired me big time as I watched that film nearly 100 times. The set work, huge royal backdrop and lavish taking made me desperately get into films.
Q)Tell us about your film journey ?
After my father expired, I came to Hyderabad in 2010. As I was fond of films, I used to land up on film sets every single day. That is how I got to know a guy named Murali. He took me to the famous art director Pekati Ranga. I joined him as his assistant and worked for many films and learned so much about art direction.
Q)How did you get your first break ?
As time passed by, I met a budding art director Narayana Reddy and worked on films like Chitram and Nuvve Kavali. During that time I got introduced to Gemini Kiran who in turn took me to Ashok Kumar. I worked under him for Anaganaga Oka Dheerudu and there I met renowned art director Anand Sai. Once again, I shifted base and assisted him for NTR’s Shakti. That is the time I got introduced to Aswini Dutt and it was him who gave me the big break.
Q)What was your first film as an art director. Share your experience ?
As I told you, Aswini Dutt called me and offered Ravi Teja’s Sarocharu. I was very happy and worked night and day for the project. I can never forget the way the entire Dutt family helped me in my career and I will always be indebted to them.
Q)Tell us about few of your projects ?
After Sarocharu, I got recognized well and was offered films like Venkatadri Express, Karthikeya and Malli Malli Idhi Rani Roju. As the films did exceptionally well, my work was also appreciated. From there on there was no looking back and touch wood, I have some interesting projects lined up.
Q)How did you bag Kanche ?
I knew Krish from a long time and that is how I got the project. The moment he narrated the story, I was speechless and felt that this is one film where I should prove my potential. The work on Kanche began right from the time Krish was directing his Hindi film.
Q)Kanche is a period film. What kind of research went into the making ?
Kanche was shot in only 4 months and the entire credit should go to the superb pre-production work. We did a lot of research and read a lot of books on war. The film also had a village backdrop setting which we put up in Tatipaka, Palakollu. We adopted the village and modified it completely to give the 1935’s look. We destroyed all the new roads and made certain changes to get the old and genuine look.
Q)What was the toughest part of working for Kanche ?
Krish is a tough task master and wanted everything to be quite realistic. We did a lot of research and used some real life weapons for the war episodes and also put up a place set for the film. Right from the clothes to the things in the background, everything was created with a lot of care. The toughest part was to give the film a pre-independence look which we managed with the stunning camera work.
Q)How do you approach a film for its sets ?
After getting a detailed narration from the director, I Google for a lot of references and watch films with the same concept. After getting an idea, I put my creative thoughts and go for the set work.
Q)Can you recollect any memorable incident during the making of Kanche ?
As I told you earlier, I was hugely inspired by Bhairava Dveepam. Incidentally, the director that film, Singeetham Sreenivasa Rao plays a small role in Kanche. During the making of the film, the legendary director called me and specially congratulated me for my art work. That was the best moment of my life.
Q)Art director’s job is a very tough one. How do you cope up with it ?
If anything goes wrong on the sets, we are to be blamed. We need to present on the sets all the time to ensure a smooth flow. There is a lot of tension and insecurity in this field. Luckily, my family is a huge support as they always encourage me to give the best.
Q)What are your upcoming projects ?
I am working on Boyapati Sreenu’s flick with Allu Arjun and Omkar’s Raju Gari Gadhi is also up for release.
Q)The sets of Raju Gari Gadhi look cool. Tell us about that ?
The film is made on a very low budget and required some weird sets. I feel that we have got the essence of the horror comedy right with some interesting sets. My work will be appreciated even more once the film releases.
With that we wrapped up the interview with Suresh and wished him the best of luck for the future.
Interviewed by Avad M