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Director Vamsee: Tiger Nageswara Rao was dangerous but also had a big heart

The filmmaker opens up working for Tiger Nageswara Rao, earning a nod from Ravi Teja, and recreating Stuartpuram

Director Vamsee: Tiger Nageswara Rao was dangerous but also had a big heart

Vamsee; (right) Ravi Teja in a still fromn Tiger Nageswara Rao

Last Updated: 06.34 PM, Oct 17, 2023


Director Vamsee, who last worked on Lakshmi Manchu’s Dongaata, is making a comeback with a biggie: Ravi Teja’s pan-Indian film Tiger Nageswara Rao, the biopic of the notorious thief from Stuartpuram. Ahead of its release on October 20, the filmmaker throws light on the film’s world.


Why a biopic?

Every director aspires to do a biopic; Nayakudu is a personal favourite, and I hold it close to my heart. I always wanted a biopic in my filmography. Generally, storytellers focus on the lives of sportspeople, political leaders, and film stars for biopics. I sensed rthat people, despite not being aware of Tiger Nageswara Rao, are curious to know his story.

A still from Tiger Nageswara Rao
A still from Tiger Nageswara Rao

Discovering Tiger Nageswara Rao

We researched for over 2 years. Tiger Nageswara Rao, as a character, haunted me. He is undoubtedly a thief, but how was he otherwise? I wanted to bring his persona to life on the big screen. Tiger Nageswara Rao is an emotion; the role has two shades. He is an intense person, looks dangerous, and is also a man of a big heart. It was challenging to tell his story and ensure an emotional connection.

Based on 'true rumours'

It was believed that Tiger Nageswara Rao ran as fast as a train. He reportedly warned people before the burglaries. Such accounts are quite interesting, but we don’t have evidence to support them. Hence, we chose to caption the film: 'based on true rumours.’ The characters in the film are all real, and it’s made for today’s audience. There are extraordinary events in his life that merit a big-screen viewing.

Earning a nod from Ravi Teja

Ravi Teja initially listened to the first half and went back to the shoot of another film. I thought I wouldn’t receive a call from him later. By the next narration, when I had reached the climax, he was already giving his input on the looks and lens. He had okayed the script a long time before in his head, and it was immensely satisfying. There was no stress after he and Abhishek Agarwal said yes; they trusted me fully with it.

Reel vs Real: Ravi Teja (left) and Tiger Nageswara Rao (right)
Reel vs Real: Ravi Teja (left) and Tiger Nageswara Rao (right)

The inspiration behind Nupur Sanon and Renu Desai’s characters

Tiger Nageswara Rao needed a place to sell the gold he stole. Several Marwaris stayed in the region, and he shared a good rapport with one woman (played by Nupur). This isn’t fictional, and Nupur portrayed the part beautifully. Hemalatha Lavanam is another powerful character, and Renu Desai really liked it. I had even talked to Hemalatha garu’s family, and it has come out quite well.

Renu Desai in the film
Renu Desai in the film

The most challenging aspect

The train sequence shot at the Godavari bridge was the most challenging part of the shoot. The cinematographer, stuntmen, and art director understood my vision and executed it perfectly. The CG work took us a year’s time. There’s a port sequence in Chennai and another jail escape sequence that the masses will enjoy at the theatres.

Ravi Teja in Tiger Nageswara Rao
Ravi Teja in Tiger Nageswara Rao

Association with GV Prakash Kumar and Avinash Kolla

GV Prakash Kumar is someone who follows the script. He understands the soul of the story and knows how to blend it with the right commercial appeal. We vibed very well, and the communication was seamless. It was a joy to work with him. Production designer Avinash Kolla was instrumental in creating the world of Stuartpuram. Every technician has added value to the final product.

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