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'Jai Bolo Telangana is a realistic film'

Last updated on: February 3, 2011 10:39 IST

'Jai Bolo Telangana is a realistic film'

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Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

Director N Shankar's filmography in Telugu includes Jayam Manadera, Raam, Bhadrachalam, Yamajathakudu to name a few. His films are focused on themes/concepts. He has now helmed Jai Bolo Telangana (releasing on February 4), a film based on the current statehood issue rocking Andhra Pradesh.

Shankar chats about the making of the film which is close to his heart.

Did you make Jai  Bolo Telangana to highlight the current political scenario?

Yes, I want to focus on the current problem, the sacrifices made by people. I am depicting the struggle through the eyes of an artiste; through an art form.

How long did it take you to make the film?

On the 30th day ceremony of Srikanth Chari's suicide (for Telangana), I announced the project. It has taken a year to make the film right from scripting, casting, shooting to post-production and completion.

What is the kind of research you did for the film?

I met people involved with the movement. I saw people's enthusiasm and sacrifices. The film is shot from the people's angle. I must say I had the support of all people from all regions of the state while making the film.


Image: A scene from Jai Bolo Telangana. Inset: Director N. Shankar

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'I cast Smriti Irani to add an element of freshness'

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What is the format you have used considering the film is based on a serious issue?

It's a feature film. In the past too, I did concept-based feature films. Jai Bolo Telangana is a realistic film. It's a running movement and I ran along with it to capture it on film.

How did you choose Jagapathi Babu to play a role in the film?

He has a special appearance of about 15 minutes. He plays a character who sacrificed his life.

Why did you cast Smriti Irani in the film?

She fits the character, plus I wanted to add an element of freshness. She plays a pious, noble character.

What have you tried to convey through the film?

The pain, the human drama, the human relationships, the sacrifices made by the people.


Image: Smriti Irani in Jai Bolo Telangana

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'I won't get another opportunity to record this movement'

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Why were you passionate to make this film? It is said you were ready to even sell your property to make it...

I won't get another opportunity to record this movement. Even as a child, I used to read about historical figures like Alluri Sitaramaraju and their struggle.

Did you finance the movie on your own?

I did it mostly on my own while some friends also helped out.

The Telangana problem has been simmering for many decades. Do you depict the struggle from the beginning?

The past (events in 1948, 1969, 1997) occupies 10 per cent of the footage, while 90 per cent of the film is based on current footage.

Does Jai Bolo Telangana offer a solution?

One must watch the film to see if it does or not.


Image: A scene from Jai Bolo Telangana

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'Gaddar is acting after three decades'

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Are you expecting any repercussions as a result of the film?

It may not. We have not hurt anybody. We have presented the matter from the people's point of view. It has shown the sufferers and will touch people when they see it.

The film ran into problems with the Censor Board and was given an 'A' certificate. Did you have to compromise?

Yes, I had to compromise to some extent. The Board wanted intellectuals to see the film, hence the 'A' certificate.

The movie also stars Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leader K Chandrasekhara Rao and revolutionary ballad singer Gaddar. Gaddar has even sung a song. How did you get them to agree to the film?

The concept of cinema brought them together. I am only an instrument. In fact Gaddar is acting after three decades.

What was K Chandrasekhara Rao's reaction after seeing the movie?

The reaction was positive. He was moved.

How do you expect the audience to react?

I think it will be positive. It will touch people.

Image: A scene from Jai Bolo Telangana

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'My thoughts are reflected in the film'

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Do you feel a short time of two and a half hours is enough to tell a more than 40 year old struggle?

Yes, it is a short time. It is not easy. Within the limitations of time, we have shown important junctures.

Where did you shoot the film?

I shot in Nagarjuna College (Nalgonda), Osmania and Kakatiya Unviersities and villages in Mahbubnagar, Warangal and Ranga Reddy districts.

Crowds must have thronged the spots where you shot the film. How challenging was it to shoot the film?

I am used to working with the crowds as I did so in my earlier films. It was difficult controlling them but they co-operated and I fulfilled what I wanted to do.

What are your thoughts on Telangana?

My thoughts are reflected in the film.  

Image: A scene from Jai Bolo Telangana

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