fter a host of commercial movies, Ananth Mahadevan now delves into the more experimental kind.
As he wraps up his new film Red Alert featuring Suniel Shetty, he talks about the difficulties he had to go through while the making of the film. “It’s a film based on a true incident during the recent Naxalite upheaval,” he says. Why did he suddenly change gears to such realistic stories?
“The whole attempt to do something on a true story is very challenging and exciting. It’s a territory which is not often tread. And very few people are brave enough and dedicated to filmmaking to take the trouble of doing their home-work in this category. When I read the news in the papers about the Naxalites, it somewhere tickled my curiosity and I started reading more about it. But all that knowledge had to be channelised somewhere. And I feel cinema is the best medium to share knowledge,” he says.
His film talks about the red corridor of India which is populated by the Naxalites. It’s based on a story from Telangana in Andhra Pradesh where this incident took place with a farmer and Ananth says he got a first-hand story from a person who preferred to remain anonymous due to political reasons. Suniel Shetty plays this farmer who was an onlooker of the whole uprising but eventually got pulled into the chaos. Ananth is all praises for Suniel and says, “Suniel had a frightening involvement and dedication in the film. He would be seen as never before. He has broken down himself completely and has given himself away totally to the character.” He shares with us that Mithun, who was once a naxalite himself, helped them with a lot of insights on the clothes and lifestyle of these people. Why didn’t he try any experimentation into reality in any of his previous movies? “I’ve taken a lot of pain, done a lot of research, experimented a lot and gone to realistic locales to shoot. This is my graduation and I had to take the commercial way to get here,” says Ananth.
About the experimentation, he claims, “The experimentation has always subtly followed in all of my films. Sad that no one really took any notice.” Maybe the subtleties were too subtle! “In my attempt to be different, there has been a grudging acknowledgement.” However he hopes that people understand his ideas and accept them.