Anant Mahadevan Interview-Filmmake and Actor
An intelligent filmmaker, a terrific story-teller and a brilliant actor; Anant Mahadevan has done it all. This persona has come a long way as he celebrates 20 years in Hindi cinema. Check out the intimate interview with Anant Mahadevan about his upcoming hHndi movie Red Alert-The War Within.
Anant has been a part of main-stream cinema throughout his career and he now steps in-to realistic cinema with his forthcoming directorial venture Red Alert-The War Within. The film stars Nasserudin Shah, Vinod Khanna, Suneil Shetty, Sameera Reddy, Gulshan Grover Seema Biswas, and Bhagyashree.
[ReviewAZON asin=”B000IZJRX8″ display=”inlinepost”]The film, based on the sensitive issue of Naxalism is going for a world premiere on July 19 at Stuttgart Festival and is slated to be release in India during September.
Anant Mahadevan talks about his latest venture and discusses the nuances of making Red Alert-The War Within.
Has the film shaped up the way you have envisioned?
Red Alert-The War Within, is something that has turned out to be a far-cry from the run-of-the-mill pot boilers, which was exactly the way we intended. It’s an uncompromising film, because we have not given-in to the dictates of the box-office. We knew that this was not a very ordinary subject for a film. However, by the grace of God we think we have done justice to Aruna Raje’s script and churned-out the film in the best possible way one could have thought.
Shed some light on the storyline?
Red Alert-The War Within, is like a mirror to all the unrest and violence across the world. It speaks a Universal language, yet at the core its original, uncompromising and a very Indian film.
Why this sudden inclination towards realistic films when you have been part of main-stream cinema all these years?
Red Alert-The War Within is my first step into realistic cinema. What inspired the jump after all these years was, when I came across an article in the newspaper which told the story of a man whose life turned upside down; due to these Naxalites movement. That article inspired me to make a film on this issue. Red Alert-The War Within is an autobiography of that man which is potrayed by Suneil Shetty.
Considering the burning issue that you have touched upon, what kind of research has gone for making the film?
As far as the research is concerned, lot of newspaper reading was needed. Apart from that, watching grass root documentaries, interaction with the people concerned was the homework that we did. In-fact, the research part was mainly handled by Aruna Raje ji. She and I would sit together to jot down the nitty-gritty of the issue so that we don’t hurt the sentiments of anyone. Lot of handwork has gone for the characterization of all the actors, the language and the dialogues. Whatever we had visualized has come true; and the credit for that goes to cameraman and art director. We could manage to pull it off and now the film comes across as very plausible drama.
Sameera Reddy has never ventured into such a serious a sensitive role like this…what would you say about her performance in the film?
Sameera Reddy has a great potential as an actor. The fact that her fans consider her as a glam doll is a brownie point. Not only, did she take up the challenging role; she also did justice to it amongst actors like Seema Biswas who is playing a more or less a similar role of a Naxalite. As far as Sameera stepping into serious acting is concerned, not many know that she has worked in a Bengali film with director Buddhadeb Das Gupta which was again based on a serious issue like this.
What kind of background music have you chosen for the film?
As far as the background music is concerned, the film has themed music. However, the music is something which is not a focal point as the temperament of the film does not need a background. The USP of the film is its storyline.
What are the locations on which this film has been shot?
The film has been shot a rough terrain in the dense forests of Karjat, Lonavala and Khandala. Our film has been set on the backdrop of a jungle from where these Naxalites operate. So, to get the perfect feel of such jungles we went to Tirupathi. We could not shoot there due to safety reasons (laughs).However; we managed to get the absolute copy of such jungles in Karjat, Lonavala and Khandala. The most interesting part was; we didn’t make a set where we could have controlled conditions.
Share your experience of working in non favorable conditions in jungle?
(Smiles) I remember as soon as we got acquainted with the forest area, we were bitten with adventurous insect. Suddenly, the rough terrain became friendly with us. Imagine, Suniel lying down on the ground and crawling on the thorns in an escape sequence. So, overall it was a never-felt-before fabulous experience.
What stand have you taken at the climax of film?
The film takes a stand, in a very interesting but rather offbeat way. Let’s see how our audience responds to that. (Keeps his finger crossed)
Are you worried about the critics or audiences reaction since they are going to witness a film with such a delicate issue?
I do hope they acknowledge our endeavors. To be honest, I want Red Alert- The War Within to be one of the most significant films of the year. Since the beginning of the film we made a point to make a product, which would cater to global or world cinema. We have avoided clichés in storytelling and characterization. As far as the audience is concerned I don’t see the reason why the morality or the journey of Narsimah will not pull the audience to the multiplexes. We have not made a film that detaches itself from the audience.
When are you planning to release it in India?
See, we have planned to have its world premiere on 19th of this month at Stuttgart Festival in Germany. We will be the closing film and also one of the competitors there. Thereafter, we will release the film for Indian audience at the end of August or early September.
Tell us about your projects in the pipeline?
Right now, I am concentrating on Red Alert-The War Within and Staying Alive. After these releases; I will get started with a new project titled Cotton Country. It is a true story of a man who fought almost for four years for the freedom for his county. Unfortunately, it took him 35 years to prove it to achieve the ‘freedom fighter certificate’.
– Esha Razdan /Sampurn