Vamsy about his 'Anveshana'
Director Vamsy, one of the best directors Telugu Cinema has created, is penning down his experiences - how his movies were made, how the ideas came, the result, etc. He has been writing them on his facebook in his beautiful Telugu. This is article is English translation of his piece about 'Anveshana', a trend setting horror thriller he made with Karthik and Bhanupriya in the lead roles. The movie was released in 1985 and it had super hit songs composed by Ilayaraja.
The following article is written in first person by Vamsi.
By Director Vamsy
I have liked suspense since the time I used to read by borrowing on rent detective novels even as an adolescent at Pasalapudi. When he approached me after 'Sitara', Kamineni Prasad garu, while giving me advance money, without specifying about what kind of film he wanted me to make, told me that all he expected from me was to tell him the subject in a few words.
His words caused mirth in me. I told myself that since I had just made 'Sitara', this time I should make a suspenseful movie. 'Aparichitulu', a Kannada film I had watched some time ago, came to my mind two days later. The entire story takes place in a forest in this film. I too thought of making one. However, I felt that since there are not script writers in Telugu who could write the script for such films, the director himself must write one. I had drafted a few writers, some of whom left mid-way, on the task of script-writing. Some of them completed it. But it was not turning out as I visualized.
Finally, I myself started writing a script. But even though the story was there in my mind, I couldn't express it. Not just then, I can't do it even now. Then how to tell it to a producer? It takes a lot of time to write it as a novel. The shoot was to commence from the end of the month. Meanwhile, the assassination of Indira Gandhi and a calamitous cyclone happened. With that, all shoots were cancelled for a few days. It was then that I burnt the mid-night oil to write that story into a novel. The producer and his partners who read it said they liked it.
Since the flow of the novel was very good, we decided to commence the shoot without writing a separate script. The novel was to be divided into episodes and adapted for our film. Art director Thota Tarani garu erected a set in Talakona near Tirupathi. The unit were to stay in a village named Nerabayalu in that forest. Each of us had a house to stay. But there were no facilities. A house with bathroom and lavatory was somewhere at a distance. We didn't care. We didn't feel uncomfortable. In the first place, when did we have to stay in the houses allotted to us for more than ten minutes?
Cinematographer MV Raghu garu's three assistants used to be with me always. As we used to make a rece of the forest without regard to the time of the day, the weather or anything else, we spotted a variety of living creatures. On one occasion, as we were travelling, we crossed paths with a tiger which was lying in the middle of the road. We literally shivered.
That was a heroine-oriented film. She was ready to give a shot whenever she was asked for, whatever be the time, whatever she might have been doing. When I asked a local villager who was with me as a help as to why the forest was named Talakona, he told me, "There is a huge hill in the middle of the forest. Water flows like a fountain from it. It's a place where Lord Shiva lives. How come you haven't been there all these days," he replied.
I asked him if it's a very long. He said that it takes walking through the forest. We started going too that place to shoot 'Yedalo Laya' song. Wading through darkness, small hills and all, we reached the spot. But when we reached the spot, we forgot all the hardships we had to go through. The water appeared like flowing out of Shiva's head. We could take two or three shots, but it was an experience.
We had no script in hands. We used to go and shoot in places where none could reach. I had no sleeps for whole days. Sometimes, the Moon used to be seen through the window of my house. He was never in the same colour. Was it because my eyes and the heart used to dream?
Loki, a cameraman, used to fight with us and leave the forest in the night. He used to return in the morning. He was a source of comedy for us. Some of the birds brought from Madras for the shoot became food for the boys in the unit. After much noise, we experienced silence in the middle of the forest. We heard wonderful music in that silence. Sometimes, we heard Ilayaraja's wonders in that silence. In a forest where day time was like night, we shot there not for one day or two days, but more than a month.
Usually, RR (background score) takes not more than four days for a film. For this one, it took seven days. Less dialogues and more silence. Ilayaraja garu filled that silence with his music. There is no language to describe his music.
Everything done, we called it - 'Anveshana'.
On the last day of RR, Ilayaraja garu complained of illness. He asked me to accompany him to one Major Sundar Rajan. When the Major asked him as to who I am, Ilayaraja garu told him that I had made a film titled 'Anveshana', which is like a Hollywood movie. I thought that since Ilayaraja garu likes me as a person, he was being partial. If anything, it's because of his BGM that 'Anveshana' can be like a Hollywood movie.
If I told you people what different people said to me about 'Anveshana', it will be akin to blowing the trumpet. As much as there were nice memories related to 'Anveshana', all of them have since lost their sheen.
It's true that past is always sweet only in memories. If little pain adds to those memories, it wets the heart like the colour of 'Charukeli'. So many memories related to that 'anveshana' (search). 'Anni lethaku pacchani kadu, muduraku pacchani gnapakalu'.