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'Unlike Kahaani, there is no pregnancy element in Anamika'

April 30, 2014 09:33 IST

'Unlike Kahaani, there is no pregnancy element in Anamika'


Radhika Rajamani/ in Hyderabad

After directing his own scripts, Sekhar Kammula is now charting the remake path with Anamika.

This bi-lingual (in Tamil and Telugu) remake of the Hindi hit film Kahaani, is produced by Endemol.

In this chat at his office, Sekhar throws light on Anamika (Nee Enge En Anbe in Tamil), on his collaboration with well-known writer Yendamoori Veerendranath and the task of re-writing and directing the film.

Why did you want to re-make Kahaani?

Endemol had bought the rights of Kahaani and were looking for someone to direct it.

I am not for remakes. This is destiny and it came to me naturally.

The producers were from Mumbai and that is good for the industry here as it is an opening. And the subject was a woman. All put together I thought, why not.

 It is hard to sell in the Telugu market if there is no romance and no comedy.

The idea was to make it in Tamil. I felt in Hyderabad we have been through terrorist attacks. Location wise, the old city allows that grimness.

A Tamil girl coming to the old city has language problems, culture and food problems. This tension suggested itself for a good bilingual project and so it evolved into a bi-lingual film.

Image: Nayanthara in Anamika


'It was a challenge to remake a film'

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Is remaking a film a challenge?

It was a challenge. I saw Kahaani only once. It is loosely adapted. It was my kind of film as it falls into my kind of space.

So, you retained the essence and rewrote it?

Yes, it has the woman in search of her husband. Whatever I wanted to show about the woman and her strengths, I put in the thriller.

My central thread is a woman’s strength.

The woman is not pretending to be pregnant in Anamika as in the original.

Yes, there is no pregnancy element. I gave it a new spin. It’s my spin on woman - how she faces struggles and how difficult it is to overcome them.

A woman who is pregnant gets instant sympathy and is handled with care and given respect. If a woman is not a mother, one can do anything with her. She is vulnerable.

I would like to show other facets of a woman. At another level, I thought here I am making a film to show strength, so why show weakness. 

Image: Nayanthara in Anamika

Tags: Anamika

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'Nayanathara was chosen as she would fit the Tamil version too'

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Is there a difference between the Tamil and Telugu versions?

A couple of scenes are different. The film is richer in Tamil. The language and reason allowed for it.

In Telugu it’s the story of a Telugu girl in Hyderabad while in Tamil it’s about a Tamil Brahmin girl in Hyderabad’s old city. This added more depth. So, there were more scenes. We also put up a set of the old city. The film was shot as two films.

You got Yendamoori Veerendranath (well-known writer) to write the dialogues in Telugu? Why so?

I collaborated with him in the screenplay and dialogues. He is a master of thrillers. He has done everything. We grew up on his stories.

I wanted to get away from writing and get over the mental block.

 It was a good collaboration. In Tamil, two people reworked it. They retained my style of writing and did not overly dramatise it. It is real.

Wasn’t Anushka your first choice to play the main role? How was Nayanathara chosen?

There were a couple of choices. Endemol was looking for a star. I was not averse to Anushka and I could have done with a newcomer also though she would not have been fit for the Tamil market.

Finally, Nayanathara was chosen as she would fit the Tamil version too. 

Image: Nayanthara in Anamika

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'The film was shot in under 70 days in both the languages'

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What determined the casting of Harshvardhan Rane and Vaibhav Reddy?

We auditioned a lot of people and chose Harsh, Vaibhav and Pasupathy (who plays Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s character).

How was it working with Endemol who produced the film?

It’s an interesting trend. Corporates have money, the intent, the network. They can exhibit and get tie-ups done. I was given a free hand by the producers.

Why was there a delay in the release?

I was quite quick. The film was shot in under 70 days in both the languages. I don’t know why there was this delay.

We waited for the dates of some actors. I didn’t realise the post production of both films will take time.

Also, we wanted a simultaneous release and did not want to release it as two films. May 1 was free for both releases.

This is the first time you have worked with music director Keeravani...

And with lyricist Seetharama Sastry too!

How was it working with them?

It was great and very easy. Both are geniuses. Re-recording is most important in such a movie.

Keeravani did a great job. He is a master at that. We also came out with a music video of a song sung by Sunitha!

Image: Nayanthara and Harshvardhan Rane in Anamika

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'I'm curious how Telugu audiences will accept this genre, without comedy and songs'

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This film seems to be shorter than your other films.

Yes, it is two hours. The fact is, it is a remake.

Comparisons are bound to be made with Kahaani. How are you going to tackle that?

After the first ten minutes, you will get into a new space. I wrote it that way. Kahaani is only a vague remembrance. There will be no sense of deja vu.

Why has the film got a U/A certificate by the Censor Board?

Because of the terrorism thing. But it’s a family watch. It’s another new dimension and in a new thriller genre for me.

What are your expectations from Anamika?

I am eager to see how people will react. It’s a good, breezy film. I’m curious how Telugu audiences will accept this genre, without comedy and songs.

Have you thought about your next project?

Happy Days is finally happening in Hindi.

I am ready with a romantic Telugu film and I will be back to my genre!


Image: Nayanthara in Anamika

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