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'It was challenging to get Ko Ante Koti together'

Last updated on: December 28, 2012 11:13 IST

'It was challenging to get Ko Ante Koti together'


Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

Anish Yohan Kuruvilla's last film Avakkai Biryani, which released four years ago, got a tepid response at the box office, even though it was a good film.

His new film Ko Ante Koti, a 'pulpy crime romance' is told in an inventive narrative style though it has all the ingredients of a populist film.

The cast has Sharwanad, Srihari, Priya Anand and some newcomers. The film is produced by Sharwanand himself under his newly set up Sarvaa Arts banner.

Anish took a short break from the DTS studio to speak exclusively to about Ko Ante Koti, which releases on December 28.

Why did it take so long for you to make your third film? Your last film, Avakkai Biryani, released in November 2008.

The script of Ko Ante Koti took a lot of time to write. I wanted to write the script in an inventive and participative way, I wanted to get people involved in the story. That took time.

Also getting it together was a challenge. It was a challenge writing the screenplay in an inventive, different narrative style which is yet commercial.

Image: A scene from Ko Ante Koti


'For Telugu cinema, Ko Anta Koti is an inventive, new narrative'

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How did you get the idea to make Ko Ante Koti? It's supposed to be a crime comedy. Is it inspired by real life or is it a work of fiction?

It's completely fictional. The idea came from wanting to write about a redemption story where the central character embarks on such a path.

It's a love story told in the backdrop of a crime. There are hints of a retro flavour, a hint of new cinema. It's part-retro, part-commercial and part-wannabe cult film. It's a nice package.

I felt like this character after Avakkai Biryani. I wrote this to prove a point. Though there are new elements, there's a hint of the stuff I've done before too.

For Telugu cinema I can boldly say Ko Anta Koti is an inventive, new narrative.

Image: Anish Yohan Kuruvilla

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'It's a pulp-retro film blending with mainstream Telugu cinema'

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The trailer was very slick and gave the feeling of something stylish and new...

The film will live up to expectations and more. It's both a crime drama and a love story with a wry, dark, sarcastic humour. There's a lighter element throughout the film. The film is very self-aware.

I'm paying homage to kitsch novels. It's an amalgamation in some way of pulp comic books and detective stories. The presentation and feel is larger than life. The characters have a comic-book feel.

Is it inspired by noir cinema too?

There's a sort of reference to Rififi, a French film. Stylistically, certain portions may seem so.

Certain portions may look like Edgar Wright's movies, while certain elements are desi (Manmohan Desai, Prakash Mehra).
It's a mish-mash in a subtle way. It's a homage to all that I love watching though not overtly visible.

Ko Ante Koti is Telugu cinema's pulp-retro film blending with mainstream Telugu cinema.

You read comic books then...

Yes, mostly desi ones. Nowadays you get translations in English. The foreign pulp comic book's narrative style has larger than life characters.

I'm hoping people will have a jolly good time watching the film and the characters -- their trials and tribulations -- and will be emotionally connected to them.

I am hoping that people will root for the dongres (rascals) which will be my biggest achievement. My narrative style will keep audiences guessing as it's full of twists and turns.

Image: A scene form Ko Ante Koti

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'I thought Priya Anand was good in Leader'

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What's the film all about then?

It revolves around four male characters Vamsi (Sharwanand), Mayaluri Madan aka Maya Master (Srihari), PC (Nischal) and Chitti (Lakshman). 

They are all dongres -- on the wrong side of the law and there's Sathya (Priya Anand) who is on the right side of the law.

Besides these characters there's Finger Frederick (Prabhakar) who is the villain, Puranik his right hand man, and Inspector Ranjit Kumar (Vinay Varma). This melange of people is caught in this crime drama and they affect Sathya's life.

How did you manage to cast Sharwanand and Srihari? You also got Sharwanand to produce the film...

Sharwanand was looking for something different. It occurred to me I should speak to him. He liked the script so much that he said he would produce it.

He saw the passion and conviction in the story and loved it and I felt he was the right person to produce it. Then his brother Kalyan and cousin Sirisha came on board as producers.

Sharwanand suggested Srihari's name. After listening to the script he took a day to say yes. What both Srihari and Sharwanand brought to the film was so much more than the written word.

How did you cast Priya Anand?

I thought she was good in Leader. The energy and belief she brought to her role was great.

How different was it shooting this film as compared to Avakkai Biryani which was of a different genre?

For a company that was into production for the first time it was amazing. There were several locations, tight schedules, and yet they pulled it off.

They were aware what needed to be done to get the vision through. Their business background helped there.

I'm happy at the way they made it happen. The film was collectively made.

Image: A scene from Ko Ante Koti

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'I was impressed with Shakti Kanth's talent'

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What challenges did you face?

They were many. This was a very difficult film physically and emotionally too. The logistics involved multiple locations, continuous schedules which were intense and done on a war footing, shooting them in limited time.

We shot all over Hyderabad and Secunderabad in new locations and parts of coastal Andhra. The film was shot in natural real locations and the sets too looked natural.

Why do you have two cinematographers, Erukulla Rakesh and Naveen Yadav? 

They work together. I came to know of them through a friend. This is their first film. They have done some ads and music videos before.

I was impressed with their eye for detail. This film needed a new eye and they brought what I wanted on celluloid.

The music of Ko Ante Koti has been termed refreshing. How did you rope in Shakti Kanth Karthik to score the music?

Shakti Kanth is a keyboard programmer who did background scores for music directors.

I met him during Avakkai Biryani and was impressed with his talent. We have a similar taste in music. I made him switch over to compose music.

Image: A scene from Ko Ante Koti

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'I am not a genre specific director'

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How do you see your growth as a director over the three films you have made?

If I made films for myself earlier, this one is for the audience. That is the learning curve.

I want the audience to be excited watching the film. I've written this film keeping the young people in mind.  

How did you decide on the title Ko Ante Koti?

The title just came to me. I was struggling to find one. Then a song from Kshanam Kshanam stuck in my mind even though it was one of the lesser known songs. 

What next after Ko Ante Koti?

It will depend on what happens with this film. There are lots of ideas. I am not a genre specific director.

Image: A scene from Ko Ante Koti

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