Express press service
He is a director with the soul of an actor. He is clear about the kind of movies he would like to do. Experimenting with genres is his philosophy, treading uncharted territory is his goal and entertaining the public is his responsibility. Director Anil Ravipudi is determined to push cinema forward by telling compelling stories and says success has driven him to work harder. “I work with a great sense of responsibility and I always try to give the best of myself. As long as my films entertain audiences, I will continue to direct masala-laden and comedy-laden mainstream cinema,” says Anil Ravipudi, who is awaiting the release of his long-awaited sequel F3 on May 27.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Did you find it difficult to recreate the same characters?
The film does not pick up where the previous one left. The story, the situations and the approach are new and the web has just grown. The scenario also required additional characters and it was quite difficult to put all these things together.
What is the difference between F3 and F2?
F2 explored the conflict between the relationship between wife and husband. While F3 is about money and it tells the story of people who believe money is important and everything in their lives. It’s the story of every middle-class family caught in the race to make more money. Money makes the world go round. In fact, money helps businesses build everything around us and it’s the people who make money who make things around us. If we have enough money, our lives will be happier, otherwise you will feel frustrated. I tried to show how money is not important beyond our basic needs. I have enough space to weave my story around the money, and I found a perfect scene to tell it. I think I managed to play in the galleries again.
F2 was inspired by real content. What is the inspiration for F3?
The film focuses on different struggles and aspects involving money. The film draws you in, reflecting certain aspects of your life. Like F2, I tried to keep the processing real and relatable.
The F3 trailer shows Venkatesh’s character going through night blindness and Varun Tej playing a youngster, who stutters to convey his emotions. Why did you choose the handicap to represent these characters?
First of all, the movie isn’t about disability and it doesn’t portray the story or these characters in a negative light. Disability is part of the life of my protagonists and if you watch my previous film Raja The Great (2017) you will understand my intention. I tried to bring out two characters, who suffer from a certain handicap and who live in fear of being discovered. They go out of their way to keep their condition a secret in a humorous way. I’m sure the narration will leave the audience in two.
You must have been under a lot of pressure when you announced a sequel. Were you affected by the shadow of the predecessor during the creation of the F3 tribe?
There was no pressure, but I felt responsible for living up to expectations. I always aim to make a better film than the previous one. My only understanding was not to repeat the mistakes, if any, of the predecessor. Our team worked with double the excitement and enthusiasm that you’ll feel the F3 is better than its predecessor in more ways than one.
How is the process of writing a sequel different?
Whether it’s F2, F3 or any other film, I work with the same enthusiasm. There is nothing new in the way things are handled in the second part, except for the addition of some characters played by Ali garu, Sunil and Murli Sharma garu. All of these characters will have reasonable screen time and arrive with a purpose. The film boasts of a cast of dreamy stars and if you watch it, you will realize how difficult it is to blend all these characters into the narrative.
One of the reasons F2 worked was because of its comedy. Is it safe to say that comedy is your strength?
Yes. The success of F2 has earned me a name as a commercial director, who tells his stories under the guise of comedy. I have no qualms about accepting comedy as my strength and prefer not to repeat my stories.
Producer Dil Raju has decided not to raise ticket prices and is opting for standard ticket prices for F3.
Telugu governments have allowed us to increase ticket prices, covering all categories of theaters or multiplexes, for a certain period. Although it’s a big budget movie, we decided not to use this option just to make our movie accessible to all types of audiences.
Can we expect a sequel to F3?
Certainly, provided that F3 becomes a big hit at the box office. My idea is to make it a fun franchise and laugh club in Telugu.
What explains your interest in actors?
There’s a void in the comedy genre right now. We are starting to see all kinds of cinema, but we are missing the kind of films made by the late Jandhyala, EVV Satyanarayana, etc. We celebrated the films of these legends and still watch them at leisure.
I don’t live up to those pillars, but I want to explore that uncharted territory and I want to rekindle interest and bring people to theaters with my films. My intention is not to miss my target and try to create wonders in the future.
Where do you look for your stories?
Everywhere (laughs). Whether it’s a movie or a story around me, I try to explore the story behind it. I must admit that all my films come from my observations or from the image that my heroes have.
Do you write scripts for heroes or choose heroes for your scripts?
I feel the scripts are still the heroes. For F2, I prepared a scenario and when Venky sir came on board, I modified it to match his image. The idea is to avoid existing clichés and stereotypes to present my protagonist in a different way. If you look back, it’s been over two decades since we could see Venky sir making a wholesome artist like Intlo Illalu Vantintlo Priyuralu/Abbaigaru/Malliswari. My wish is to bring back the vintage Venky without missing my signature elements. This is why, I say, my new film will always depend on my last release.
Your journey as a director is what the film industry would describe as a dream ride. Do you think you have achieved all your dreams in terms of style of cinema?
I always feel like a newcomer and I work with passion to deliver a blockbuster every time. I always strive to achieve something with each film.
Cinema is now taking advantage of new platforms. How do you see these tracks?
The public has been demanding and they only come to the cinema if they like the content. Trailers are an integral part of opening a film and the production team must work hard to keep expectations alive. I believe that theater and OTT will co-exist and I can confidently say that the demand for the theater experience is intact! Nevertheless, I will always follow the pulse of the public and see how the trade reacts to our films.
What’s next after F3?
I direct (Nandamuri) Balakrishna garu in an action show. We plan to start principal photography in September.
What is your dream project?
If I have the chance, I want to direct an epic-fantasy artist like Mayabazar (1957) in the future.
Do you intend to try your hand at acting?
Not immediately, but maybe after about 10 years. Even then, I will only try my luck as a character artist if the script calls for me to act. Right now, I’m just focusing on making movies.