Adivi Sesh pushed us to do our best despite constraints, says Goodachari director Sashi Kiran Tikka
I have dreamt of directing a film and worked hard to achieve it. Now that Goodachari has released, it feels good, says director Shashi Kiran Tikka
Spy thrillers are a rarity in Telugu cinema. However, all that might change with Adivi Sesh, Sobhita Dhulipala-starrer Goodachari, which released on 3 August. Directed by newcomer Sashi Kiran Tikka, the film delves into the story of a spy, Arjun, and his journey to step into his father’s shoes and serve the country.
Soon after its release, the entire team was hailed for their ingenuity for pulling off a high octane spy thriller within a limited budget. At a recent event, Adivi Sesh, who also co-wrote the script along with Sashi and Rahul, even quipped that he got one-fourth of the budget that he had asked for. Sashi Kiran Tikka elaborates: “That was our biggest challenge. A film like Goodachari can be done within a budget of Rs 40 crore or even Rs 1 crore. We did get a decent budget, to be honest, but then, there were plenty of challenges at every step. Adivi Sesh kept pushing all of us at every stage to deliver our best within the constraints we had, and I believe all of us had the same mindset while working on the film."
Although he refuses to divulge what the exact budget of the film was, Sashi reveals that it was shot like an indie film. Right from choosing a location to getting some of the guns and rifles designed locally, Sashi and his team had to use every trick in the book to bring alive this story. “Every time a film crew shoots abroad, they keep saying that even the actors would lend a hand to carry the equipment around. We did all that while shooting in Hyderabad,” Shashi laughs, adding, “We were so focused on getting the film made that each member of the crew did three times the amount of work that they would have usually done.
Even a low budget film will have 70 people, at least, on the set and this number can shoot up to more than 200 for a big star’s film. Our film had, at best, 25 people on the set during the shoot. And it was even lesser when we had to go for outdoor shoots. We pulled in a lot of favours from friends and even strangers whenever we needed a location or even an expensive car. It’s absolute madness when you think about how we shot the film, but it was totally worth the effort. We had to prove a point that the film can be done given the circumstances we were in.”
More than a decade ago, Sashi began his career as an assistant to filmmaker Umakanth Thumrugoti when the latter directed 7 Days In Slow Motion. It was at Umakanth’s insistence that Sashi applied for a writing course in NYFA in New York. “When I came back from the US, I got a chance to work as an assistant to Sekhar Kammula for Leader. It was around the same time that Adivi Sesh came to India when his first film Karma released. His brother was my neighbour, so I kept meeting Sesh quite a few times and one day, I ended up watching his film. I liked the theme of the film, although the genre wasn’t really my cup of tea. Ever since, we have been trying to work on several ideas to collaborate for a movie,” Sashi recalls.
It took them nearly six years before they decided to work together on the story of Goodachari, which was originally conceptualised by Adivi Sesh several years ago. “The journey of the protagonist in his spy drama was pretty interesting, but it didn’t have a proper beginning and an ending that I was looking for. A lot of segments from the original story were retained in the final script, but after working on few drafts, the film grew both in terms of its scale and ambition. Production designer Shivam Rao was a wonderful addition to the crew because he really pushed the envelope to create the world of Goodachari. It’s fiction, but also feels quite authentic at the same time.”
Later, Sesh and Sashi, along with another close associate and writer Rahul, sought the help of prominent writer Abburi Ravi to give a definite shape to the script. At numerous events, Sesh addressed Abburi Ravi as his ‘guru’, and Sashi Kiran Tikka too confesses that collaborating with Abburi Ravi for Goodachari was almost like going to film school once again. “He’s phenomenal with his work and he helped us find the emotional core of Goodachari. The best part about him is that he won’t tell us what needs to be changed, but during the course of the discussions, we start seeing the story and the drama from a different perspective. And once we began discussing some ideas about how the journey of the characters should be, Abburi Ravi would help us strike an emotional balance. He’s an expert at writing dialogues and we ensured that there was no lag in any segment of the film. Another major challenge was to define the scope and boundaries of Goodachari because there’s no end to our imagination,” the director adds.
Ask him if he always dreamt about making a spy thriller one day in his career, Sashi says, “Almost everyone is fascinated with the idea of a spy at a young age and I was no different. But later, my interest expanded to other genres as well. Adivi Sesh wrote this when he was really young and he has a childlike enthusiasm even now. "Almost everyday of my life, over the past 10 years, I have dreamt of directing a film and worked hard to achieve it, and now that Goodachari has released, it feels good. I don’t know how many films I’m going to direct in my career, but I’m proud of this film. We all are,” Sashi Kiran Tikka confesses.
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