Vijay Kanakamedala awaits the release of 'Ugram' on May 5. He says that he doesn't prefer to make hero-centric movies. "I like to weave the story around a real issue," the second-time director says, adding that the film's trailer has organically clocked nearly 7 million views.
In this interview, Vijay asks the viewer not to expect another 'Naandhi' in 'Ugram'. He adds that Allari Naresh, who is an all-rounder, has played a ferocious character. Right from the colour palette to shot division, everything was planned in detail ahead of the shoot.
After the first schedule of 'Naandhi' was over, a pandemic-induced lockdown came about in 2020. I was sitting idle and wrote 'Ugram'. Later, I felt that Allari Naresh would be apt to play this aggressive, rage-filled character. After 'Naandhi' became a hit, I firmed up the project. By then, I had done enough homework.
I came to know that the Telangana High Court once asked the police department to submit a report on what happens to missing persons. How do so many individuals go missing all of a sudden? That made me write an emotional story revolving around missing persons and the trauma undergone by their families.
This film is more intense and emotional than 'Naandhi'. Since the hero is a cop, the quantum of action is higher. Rehearsing the action scenes helped the hero. Safety measures were undertaken during their shoot. We have discussed relevant legal issues in the film. Every scene is purposive. The audience will feel like they want to kill the villains. Most of the story takes place at night time. 'Naandhi' was more of a courtroom drama. 'Ugram' is a racy action thriller. You won't find lengthy shots here. Action is the wow factor in 'Ugram'.
'Viduthalai' in Tamil was made with comedian Soori as the hero. The audience accepted a comedian in an out-and-out serious role. You have to convince the audience in the first 10 minutes itself. If they connect with the hook of your story, they will watch anybody in any role. Allari Naresh will be liked in the action-heavy role in 'Ugram'.
Mirnaa Menon is apt to play a role with three shades. There is a key scene wherein she must emote four different types of emotions. She aced the scene on the audition stage.
The budget of 'Ugram' is three times that of 'Naandhi'. The producers (Sahu Garapati, Harish Peddi) didn't compromise on the budget. My next film, too, will be with Shine Screens. There is a story meant for Naga Chaitanya. It's a huge-canvas film with a touch of the social.
I worked under Harish Shankar from 'Mirapakai' to 'DJ'. I like to read more and watch fewer movies. That's why I am inclined to take up real issues. Audience engagement can be achieved in a number of ways. I like the school of realism. I don't prefer melodrama.