Antariskham director Sankalp Reddy on his upcoming space film, taking cinematic liberties, and plans for sequel
Sankalp Reddy, who took a leap of faith with his highly ambitious war drama The Ghazi Attack, hopes to fly high with his second Telugu film Antariksham
Filmmaker Sankalp Reddy, who took a leap of faith with his highly ambitious submarine war drama The Ghazi Attack, hopes to fly high with his second Telugu film Antariksham, which marks the industry’s maiden attempt in the space genre. Featuring Varun Tej, Aditi Rao Hydari and Lavanya Tripathi in key roles, the film is gearing up for a 21 December release. Days ahead of the release, Reddy opens up on the inspiration behind making Antariksham, plans for a sequel, why he can’t make formulaic films, and his Bollywood dreams.
If you thought it was gutsy of him to mark his debut with a film based on the disappearance of a submarine, you’d want to know what gave him the confidence to make something even more ambitious as his second film. He said the inspiration behind both his films came from certain events. “If it was a trip to Vishakhapatnam to see and learn about submarines which inspired me to make The Ghazi Attack, it was a newspaper article on space that impressed me to make Antariksham. I can’t divulge information about the article because then I’d be giving away the plot. I wrote a story around the incident in the article and gave it a cinematic adaptation to match our sensibilities. People have been asking me if films like Gravity and Interstellar have inspired me to make Antariksham, and I have to say, they haven’t. You won’t find any connection to these films in my film,” Reddy said.
After the release of The Ghazi Attack, Reddy had planned to work on a mythological project. “After making such a big film, I didn’t want to make anything smaller. I had plans to work on a mythological project but when I stumbled upon this article about an incident in space, I decided to make a space film. Initially, I pitched a two-line story idea and showed Varun a picture and four months later narrated the entire script. It’s a science-fiction space thriller that will also be quite emotional and patriotic.”
Asked if he cannot make formulaic films, given the scale of his two outings, Reddy said: “If I run out of ideas to make, then probably I will consider sticking to formulaic films. There are so many ideas that can be made into films with proper support from a committed team and Antariksham is one such project. Also, I don’t like to repeat my stories. If I make two love stories in a row, then I lose the excitement of making films. An idea has to excite me first and only then will I want to make it into a film.”
Talking about the making of Antariksham, the director said it was shot in 70 days. “Out of the 70 shooting days, we shot for 40 days in zero gravity conditions. The actors were on ropes for 40 days and this was easily the most challenging phase of the shoot, because there was always the risk of them falling down and things turning worse. Thankfully, everything went on as planned and I need to thank my actors and stunt team for the planning and execution. A lot of research went in to the film. We met a few scientists from ISRO who helped us conceive the characters. We also gathered a lot of information from the NASA portal and other space-related documents on the Internet. Today, a lot of information is available online and that has made lives easy for us.”
Reddy unabashedly admits that Antariksham is not fully logical. He said certain cinematic liberties were taken to make the experience exciting. “Even Ghazi was not logically foolproof. In the climax, you see the submarines go up and down to avoid contact with the missiles but in reality submarines can’t move like that. If you can engage your audience, the story will overpower logic. Audiences will find loopholes and make a fuss about it in a very boring film. The reason I’m saying Antariksham is not 100 percent logical is because if you achieve that kind of accuracy, the film might feel like a documentary. If that’s my intention, I might as well make a documentary and save my producers the burden of spending so much money.”
Reddy, who has two Bollywood offers in his kitty, also confirmed he has plans for a sequel to Antariksham. “I have two Bollywood offers from RSVP Films and Vipul Shah Productions. If I head to Bollywood, I’m sure it will easily take me two years to make my next film. I have plans for a sequel to Antariksham with Varun, and I’d love to make it before I take a temporary break from Telugu industry to make films in Hindi,” he said.
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