25 Years of Aditya 369
When it was released on 18th of July, 1991, many knew that this one was ahead of its times. The versatile filmmaker in Singeetam Srinivasa Rao once again proved that he was the quintessential director with a difference. 'Aditya 369' was the title. As the film celebrates its 25 years, we bring you interesting details of what went into making the movie, and what followed its release.
Then budding producer Sivalenka Prasad (who recently made Nani's 'Gentleman') had got the call sheets of Nandamuri Balakrishna with the help of his close relative SP Balasubramaniam (by the way, Prasad is also a close relative of K Viswanath and actor Chandramohan, who is his elder sister's son). As luck would have it, SPB happened to be seated next to Singeetam on the flight aboard Bangalore. The two well-read went on to talk about many things under the sun. It was in the course of this conversation that Singeetam happened to tell the singer about the ideas around time travel he had had in time ever since he read HG Wells's novel during college days. SPB was immediately attracted by the thought and told him that Sivalenka had Balakrishna's dates, if he so wished to make a movie.
Everything started falling in place after that fortuitous journey. Sivalenka met Singeetam in then Madras (Chennai) and they both were now ready to make a movie based on the concept of time machine with Balakrishna as the hero.
Eventually, SPB would become the film's presenter.
The experimental filmmaker in Singeetam was motivated by the response of the producer as well as Balakrishna to his fresh idea. Losing no time, he went about doing research. While the idea of going back to Sri Krishnadevaraya's time was in place, Singeetam wanted to be meticulous about the futuristic episodes, which was an unexplored idea on the Indian screen. He curled up with Futurology at the American Library, Madras. He spun entertaining ideas and scenes around what he read about future.
Why Balakrishna loved it:
The Nandamuri actor was thoroughly impressed by the idea of recreating the times of the Vijayanagara king. More so, he was proud to play Krishnadevaraya, a role his father had played. As Balayya would say later, 'Aditya 369' fulfilled his desire. "It is Singeetam garu's cup of tea to elect such distinct concepts. He was inspired by Hollywood movie 'Back to the Future' only for the basic concept. Since Nanna garu had played the role of Krishnadevaraya, it's natural that the audience wanted to see me in that role too.These episodes were the main success pillar of the film."
Where it was shot:
The episodes pertaining to Krishnadevaraya's time were shot at Annapurna Studios in Hyderabad. All sets were created by Peketi Ranga. As for the episodes of the future, they were shot at VGP Golden Beach, Madras. The time machine set was erected at Madras' Vahini Studios. he set was shifted in a huge lorry to Talakona forest.
Here are some exciting details about 'Aditya 369':
1. Chiranjeevi, impressed by the pathbreaking movie, praised the film through a trailer for Dooradarshan. In fact, he personally involved himself in the trailer's design. It was meant to advertise the film to children.
2. It was Vijayashathi who was in Singeetam's mind for the heroine's role. But the makers couldn't secure her dates as she was too busy. It was then that cinematographer PC Sreeram introduced then budding Kollywood actress Mohini to the director.
3. Guess why the title was chosen as 'Aditya 369'? Many had speculated that 'Kala yantram' or something like that would be chosen as the title. However, the makers thought creatively. Aditya in the title stands for Sun. It's Sun who travels with time. His existence spans millennia. As for 369, it's the time machine's number. Interestingly, this is Singeetam's 36th movie. As for 9, it is the favourite number of the Nandamuri clan.
4. It was to shoot the future-related episodes that took the maximum time, given the novelty of the concept as well as practical difficulties.
5. Initially, there were apprehensions that C class centres' audiences might not understand the future-related episodes. However, they were entertained by ideas like a machine decoding what people think within them.
6. The film was made on a budget of Rs. 1.60 cr. It was shot for 110 days. It was given a clean 'U' certificate.
7. Remember the child artistes? They both went on to make a mark in the film industry. They are Rashi and Tarun.
8. The film's Tamil avatar, too, went on to become a hit. It was released as 'Apurvashakti 369'. Later, it was dubbed into Hindi as well.
9. Bollywood actor Tinnu Anand in the role of the Professor was a highlight. He was dubbed by SPB. Mohini was dubbed by SP Sailaja.
10. Maestro Ilayaraja's music was the film's backbone. 'Janavule.. Nerajanavule..' was a major hit. To suit the semi-historical ambience, Jakki was chosen as the singer.
11. The film was shot by three cinematographers - P C Sreeram (he shot for few days only), Kabir Lal and VSR Swamy (Vijayanagara period).
Cast & Crew of Aditya 369
Cast: Nandamuri Balakrishna, Mohini, Silk Smitha, Tinu Anand, Chandramohan, Gollapudi, Velu, JV Somayajulu, Brahmanandam, Subhalekha Sudhakar, Amrish Puri, Master Tarun, Baby Raasi, and others
Lyrics by Veturi, Sirivennela, Vennelakanti. Playback: Jakki, S Janaki, Chitra, SP Sailaja, SPB, Sunanda. Special Effects: Eknath. Dances: Sundaram, Prabhu. Fights: Vikram Dharma.