Dorasaani actors Shivathmika Rajasekhar, Anand Deverakonda on making debut with KVR Mahendra's film
Ghadi, which is similar to a manor house, was a symbol of power of the feudal lords in Telangana. Although the ghadis in various regions across Telangana have faded away with time, some have been turned into public schools and their remnants continue to live in the collective memory of the local people. KVR Mahendra’s directorial debut, Dorasaani, taps into this largely forgotten part of Telangana’s history and explores a love story between a feudal lord’s daughter and a boy from a lower caste.
While Anand Deverakonda, younger brother of Vijay Deverakonda, plays the lead role as Raju, the director chose Shivathmika, daughter of actors Rajasekhar and Jeevitha, to play Devaki. Ahead of the the release, the duo sat down for an interview with Firstpost to spill the beans about the film, how they transformed themselves to play the roles, and their biggest fears. Excerpts from an interview below.
Anand and Shivathmika, how long did it take you to find this script right from the time you wanted to get into movies? And what intrigued you to say yes to Dorasaani?
Anand Deverakonda: Dorsaani was the first script that I listed to. KVR Mahendra gave me a five-hour narration. By the end of it, I completely believed in his vision.
Shivathmika Rajasekhar: It was my first script too, where I was approached for a lead role.
Anand: I knew that I had access, but the other aspect of it was a doubt whether I could actually do it and be successful. I’ve to be realistic about my career and if I have it in me to be a good actor. I had all these fears prior to Dorasaani, and I told myself to go with the flow and figure it out. I didn’t face the camera before this film. My only stint with acting was doing theatre and skits post the acting workshop, but I wasn’t used to film camera. While we went for the recce along with our cinematographer Sunny Kurrapati and he clicked some pictures, he assured me that the style of filmmaking in Dorasaani will be quite different from the norm and that I didn’t have to be conscious of the camera. As an actor, I was free to perform and live the character. I learnt a lot and tBuzzughly enjoyed the whole experience.
Shivathmika: I have been dreaming about acting in films since I was five years old, and finally, I spoke about it to my parents when I was 17. It wasn’t a big revelation to either my father (Rajasekhar) or mother (Jeevitha). I think they were expecting me to become an actor too. Madhura Sreedhar, the producer of Dorasaani, wanted an 18-year-old Telugu speaking girl to play Dorasaani and they pitched the story to me sometime in June 2018. After doing a screen test, we worked on my look, dialogues, dialect and other things for about four months before we went to the shoot. KVR Mahendra was eager to capture the innocence of the relationship with Raju and Devaki share in the film, so Anand and I hardly interacted between the shoot began. He didn’t want us to become comfortable with each other because the characters aren’t like that. Since we had to shoot the film in sync sound, Mahendra was particular about how Dorasaani would talk or look at others around her.
Does the Telangana dialect come naturally to you?
Anand: The dialect is from Warangal from the ‘80s and it’s distinct from the one that we speak today. Mahendra grew up in that region, and he’s well-versed with the dialect and the way people pronounce the words. I studied in an English medium school in Puttaparthi and my Telugu is very anglicised. I learnt the language once I came back to Hyderabad, but that’s also quite different from the dialects spoken in other parts of Telangana or Andhra Pradesh. It worsened after I went to the US (laughs). That’s what I had to work on a lot prior to the shoot. The fear my director had was that when he heard me talk over the phone, he would think that Vijay was talking to him. And he wanted me to work on my diction so that people don’t get the same impression after the first few minutes while watching the film. I can’t blame him because we do have similar tone and voice. Vijay has this laid-back style of speaking and I’ve that in my real life, but I had to change it for the film. I have to pick up multiple things and make it different.
Shivathmika: When I was growing up, a lot of people used to speak the Andhra dialect and you would occasionally hear the Telangana dialect. In my home, we speak Telugu, Hindi, Tamil, and English. My Telugu was different from the Telangana-dialect. When I was 13-14, I picked up a few words from the Telangana dialect, and by the time I completed shooting Dorasaani, my Telugu had messed up. I would jumble words from different dialects and people were amused about how I was communicating with them. It wasn’t really hard to pick up the dialect but then, the character of Devaki is written in such a way that she doesn’t really speak much. Most of my performance is about reacting to others.
Since both of you come from film families, I am sure you have your own baggage and a lot of people are going to judge you instantly. What has been the best advice that you have been given by your respective families?
Anand: Personally, the talk of nepotism doesn’t bother me or anyone else in the family. Vijay’s only word of advice for me was to figure out my own journey, because that’s what he did and it has helped him immensely. The movies that he picked are his own choice. The speeches he says on stage is what he wants to say from his heart. All that adds up and makes you who you are. He wanted me to figure out my own path. If he was an overly protective brother, then everything would have been different. I didn’t want to go through the process. I just believed in the team and my conviction to do what best I can do.
Shivathmika: My father isn’t the kind of person who would call anyone for a role, so there was no question of him approaching for anything when it came to me. Everyone in my family kept telling me, “You are good, passionate and hardworking. Give you best and if you make it, then it’s great. If not, then have a backup option.” There has never been a discussion about what would happen if my sister or me don’t make it big in the industry. When the trailer came out, people had so much to say about my complexion, cheeks. I was affected by it and I’ve been insecure about it. But my family didn’t let me sulk over it. In fact, my father was adamant that if we don’t have successful careers then we aren’t even allowed to be depressed.
All images from YouTube.
Updated Date: Jul 12, 2019 09:05:15 IST