Devadas director Sriram Adittya on working with Nagarjuna and Nani: 'Magic happens when actors trust you'
Prior to making Devadas, filmmaker Sriram Adittya had already made a solid impression with his debut film, Bhale Manchi Roju, thanks to its quirkiness and approach to storytelling. His second feature film, Shamanthakamani, was a multi-starrer which told the story of a youngster’s desperate search for his car. And it turns out that Nani was so impressed with what Sriram Adittya had done in both these films that he gave him an offer that the latter couldn’t refuse, even though he was going to work on a concept that wasn’t his own creation. “I was really excited about the combination - Nagarjuna, Nani, and Vyjayanthi Movies banner. You don’t really get such opportunities every other day,” Sriram remarks as he starts talking about how the project shaped up.
The original story of the film was written by screenwriter Sridhar Raghavan; however, the team at Vyjayanthi Movies had been desperately looking for a director to rewrite the story according to the local sensibilities. For Sriram, the biggest challenge was to adapt and rewrite the entire story which would suit both Nagarjuna and Nani. “The original script had an interesting plot and characters, but it still needed a lot of rewriting. I had to approach the script as if it was my own story and considering that it was meant for two big stars, it had to fit everyone’s sensibilities. It was more about figuring out my perspective on what would suit them, moulding their characterisation and body language according to the script,” Sriram adds.
After working on the script for couple of months, he finally met Nani while the latter was shooting for MCA in Warangal. “He was surprised that I drove in the middle of the night to meet him at 1 AM. And before we got talking, all he said was, ‘If I don’t like it, let’s drop the whole plan’. Then, he patiently listened to the narration for two-and-a-half hours and he said 'Yes' immediately. Even Nagarjuna sir was impressed with the rewrites,” the director recalls about how it all started, adding, “It was quite challenging but fun. We had two big actors like Nagarjuna and Nani, and my job was to tell a good story, get their chemistry right, and ensure that I struck a good balance throughout the narrative. Devadas is the story about a relationship between two characters - Deva and Das, and it had to evolve quite organically. I hope I have achieved it.”
Ask him if he was under constant pressure considering that it was the biggest film he had done so far, Sriram says, “I was under constant pressure because I wanted to get it right. You really want to tell a story the way you envision, and that keeps running in your mind all the time. Almost every other day, before I go to the sets, I would keep thinking about the background score and how a scene is going to be edited before shooting it. That’s how I approach the shooting part and it has worked for me. The last few months of my life have all been about Devadas and I’m glad that people are liking it.”
The director credits the two lead actors – Nagarjuna and Nani – for the film’s success and says that it was their trust in him that helped him to make the film that he wanted to. “I’ve always believed that magic happens when actors trust you (director) a lot and I will never forget the support that both of them gave me throughout the shoot. For Nagarjuna sir, I’m always a kid to him and I had a blast shooting with him and Nani. There were times when I would ask him for multiple retakes, but he would never say no to anything. He had a lot of faith in me and I’m happy that I lived up to his expectations. And Nani was like my elder brother on the sets. He’s a phenomenal actor and he poured life into the character of Das. He had to look and behave in a different manner, compared to his previous films, and we had to set the tone right quite early into the shoot as well. Both of them might have made it look effortless, but trust me, they worked really hard to get it right,” Sriram signs off.
Updated Date: Oct 03, 2018 16:17 PM