The Kartikeya, Neha Sshetty starrer releases in theatres on August 25
Director Clax, originally named Uddaraju Venkata Krishna Panduranga Raju, is all set to make his debut with the upcoming week’s release - Bedurulanka 2012. Kartikeya, Neha Sshetty play the lead roles in the doomsday comedy produced by Ravindra Benerjee Muppaneni under Loukya Entertainments. Ahead of its release, the filmmaker interacted with the media today.
Sharing the story behind his name, he shares, “When I was learning English after my tenth grade and couldn’t pronounce a few words, we made weird sounds - Clax was one such. My friends teased me about it but Clax stuck with me. I later also used it to open an account on Yahoo messenger. Gradually, many people called me by that name. Only later, did I realise it meant ‘nothing’.”
Clax grew up in a village near Bhimavaram and worked in several jobs before entering the film industry - software sector, selling credit cars, while his roommates were trying their hand in the film industry. He kept discussing stories with them but never had the intention to make a mark in films. However, the Italian film Life is Beautiful changed his view towards cinema.
“I wondered how could films make such a strong impact on one’s mind and asked my friends staying in the US to buy film-based books when they return to India,” he says. Reading academic texts on films helped him gain a deeper understanding of the craft. His friend Charan introduced him to filmmaker Sudheer Varma, with whom he initially worked on Veedu Theda, followed by Swamy Ra Ra.
The newcomer believes Sudheer’s strength is his understanding of filmmaking technicalities. He later worked under Ram Gopal Varma for six months besides Deva Katta’s (abandoned) Netflix show on Baahubali. Over time, Clax realised films are not science but art and that rules were meant to be broken. “This understanding liberated me. I had no stress directing Bedurulanka 2012.”
He approached Kartikeya for his film via Ajay Bhupathi, the RX 100 director who was also an associate of RGV. “I narrated Kartikeya a different story and he liked it immediately. I wasn’t confident to meet him after RX 100’s success. Some time later, I met him on the sets of Chaavu Kaburu Challaga and narrated Beduranka’s story but lockdown delayed my directorial debut.”
Clax suffered brief injuries in an accident that killed a filmmaker in a road mishap later. He met Bedurulanka..’s producer Ravindra through Sudheer Varma’s brother Phani and the latter said yes to his script. Though Kartikeya wasn’t their first option for the lead, he was destined to play it after all. They shot the film in a village titled Edurulanka.
“We intentionally reimagined the village’s name as Bedurulanka because the story revolves around fear and we thought it should be represented in the title too. I was inspired by the Hollywood film 2012 and dialogue in Seven Samurai where one doesn’t have fear when they realise there’s no tomorrow. This is a dramedy that’s high on entertainment and drama,” he avers.
The first-timer wanted Kartikeya to look more like a dancer than a fighter. The producer suggested him to rope in Neha Sshetty after DJ Tillu’s success. Despite initial apprehensions, the debutant was satisfied with the look test and ultimately bowled over by her performance. Getting Mani Sharma on board was a team decision; the composer also happened to be Kartikeya’s personal favourite.
“Many warned me against choosing Mani Sharma and it could’ve been easy for him to say no. I informed him that I had no prior knowledge of music but he made me feel at ease and came up with a great score,” Clax shares. He feels the time is ripe for him to try novel stories like Bedurulanka 2012. “We’ve only showed the film to the censors and they enjoyed it, certified it sans any cuts. It’s all in the hands of audiences now.”