I want to prove myself as a storyteller: Harsha Vardhan
In the industry for more than two decades, actor-turned-writer Harsha Vardhan has finally canned his first shot as a feature filmmaker on January 30.
In the industry for more than two decades, actor-turned-writer Harsha Vardhan has finally canned his first shot as a feature filmmaker on January 30. His directorial debut, ‘Good, Bad & Ugly (working title),’ a romantic thriller, features Sree Mukhi in the lead. Currently on a mini break, he informs the film’s script has been in his head since the past eight years.
“It revolves around four characters (played by Sree Mukhi, himself, Kishore and newcomer Murali) getting trapped in an unusual situation and deals with love, lust and is verbose. It’s set in 1987-88 and unfolds in a fictitious village around Rajamahendravaram,” he says.
He admits to have left many biggies to have embarked on this project. “I don’t think any filmmaker on Indian celluloid has touched the point that I’m narrating through the film. It is an intense love story but at the same time is interspersed with humour and action,” he exults, pointing out that direction is not an unchartered territory for him. “I have directed my scenes for ‘Shanti Nivasam’, with SS Rajamouli helping me with the story links.
I’ve also directed close to 50 episodes of ‘Amrutham’ besides another TV soap ‘Sathya’. So I am new to feature filmmaking not direction at large.”
One of the writing assignments he left of late because of ‘Good, Bad & Ugly’ is Pawan Kalyan’s ‘Vedalam’ remake with AM Ratnam. “It was kind of a dream project but I had to overlook it to focus on ‘Good, Bad & Ugly’. Even if I started writing it, I might have left it mid-way,” he laughs.
He points out that when he decided to go ahead with his directorial debut, he wanted to shoot at least 50 per cent of what he imagined but ‘stunned’ with what he shot in the first five days, he decided to allocate more days to the film and shoot in better outdoor locations. “We’ve also decided to increase the budget,” he reveals, adding that Kishore, so impressed with the script, has decided to work free for the project.
“After producer Anji Reddy told him that he wouldn’t be able pay his regular fee, Kishore confided in him, ‘I am exploring myself in a new way because of the script, so give me whatever you want after the film is over.’ In fact, Kishore even told me that he’d allocate any number of dates that I want from him. The only condition that he imposed was that I should inform him a couple of days prior.”
So, why debut with a small film when he could have easily approached A-listers with a different script altogether? “First of all, I’m not happy with the present Tollywood cinema. People are not telling stories. I want to prove myself as a storyteller first and if the film hits the bull’s-eye, I’m sure of getting the freedom that I desire for my second film,” Harsha avers, quickly to add that with the next schedule, which will commence this Wednesday, the film will come to an end.
Harsha further adds that once he is through with ‘Good, Bad & Ugly’, he will shift attention to Sudheer Babu’s next. “It would be shot simultaneously in Telugu and Hindi and will be another period affair for me. A US-based producer is on board to produce it.”