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Exclusive! Director Krishna Vijay: Parampara is a story of internal conflicts in a family that are blown out of proportion

The director of films like Asura, Thippara Meesam, holds forth on his next release, Parampara, a Telugu web show on Disney+ Hotstar

  • Srivathsan Nadadhur

Last Updated: 01.15 PM, Dec 23, 2021

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Exclusive! Director Krishna Vijay: Parampara is a story of internal conflicts in a family that are blown out of proportion

Terming filmmaker Krishna Vijay L a risk-taker is an understatement. He not only left a flourishing corporate career to make his presence in the film industry but also produced films for himself and his friends. One look at his career graph (both as a director/producer) with films like Asura, Thippara Meesam, Appatlo Okadundevaadu and Needi Naadi Oke Katha, would tell us that he's not the one to fall prey to commercial pressures. He's here to make films that he completely believes in. 

His next step as a director is Parampara, a Telugu web show starring Jagapathi Babu, Naveen Chandra, Sarathkumar, Ishan and Aakanksha Singh in the lead roles. Ahead of its release on Disney+ Hotstar on December 24, we caught hold of Krishna Vijay for a free-wheeling conversation.

A major part of your career, be it Asura, Thippara Meesam or Appatlo Okadundevaadu, had you balancing production and direction simultaneously. Doesn't that complicate your approach to filmmaking?

Yes, you are quite right about the fact that juggling between both can invite a lot of confusion. Direction is about executing your ideas onto the visual medium. As a film person, I am equally excited when someone tells me a good story. I tried to bridge both these interests in my path and that's why I took up film production, direction simultaneously. The support of Nara Rohith, Sree Vishnu was crucial to making it happen.

What lead you to your first film as a director, Asura?

My career took off with Prasthanam, for which I was an executive director. I was supposed to direct Nara Rohith in a film for another producer, which couldn't progress owing to miscellaneous issues. I didn't want the actor's dates to be wasted and decided to start my banner to make Asura.

Were films always an integral part of your life?

I was less interested in films and more of an artist, coming up with my sketches, artworks and had a career as an architect before venturing into filmmaking. I studied architecture at Andhra University, Vizag, after Intermediate. Even after completing the course, art was something that captured my fascination. I worked in a corporate firm for a few years. Architecture-related jobs also have an artistic dimension but films excited me more. We enjoyed watching films, they made us think a lot and now we're even making them. One step at a time!

Did your artistic sensibilities with architecture prove to be an advantage in films?

It was an advantage to start off. The basics of art and design are more or less the same regardless of the field we work in. This knowledge offers us a scope to take care of visual aesthetics with more maturity. Being an architect helped me view the craft differently and gave an artistic bent to my work in films. Even with storytelling, it helps you tell the story in a more impactful manner. I may not have written Parampara, but I tried my best to bring my learnings to the fore for the web show as well.

Parampara is your first attempt on an OTT platform and you'd co-directed it with Vishwanath Arigela. Was it an exciting prospect?

I was initially roped in as a dialogue writer and eventually ended up directing it. Unlike feature films, web shows have a duration of over 4-5 hours and it can get very exhaustive for one filmmaker alone to direct it. There were instances where one director took charge of the entire show in the past but more often than not, production houses have multiple directors for web shows. I and Vishwanath Arigela have jointly directed this. Both of us deserve equal credits to have pulled this through.

When two directors are in control of the proceedings in a web show, isn't consistency in the tone an issue?

The consistency factor is a challenge but the process can get smoother with enough groundwork and provided, we share a similar wavelength with our co-creator. We try to interact with each other regularly, communicating what's being shot for a particular day and bringing in seamlessness to the process. No two filmmakers think alike nor have the same sensibilities. We got enough freedom to trust our instincts here and we kept track of what we shot in our schedules. Regular communication and mutual trust helped us get our act right for Parampara. 

In your opinion, why is OTT labelled a writer's medium and not a director's medium?

Making a film is completely different from making a web series. Films are an experience that takes us on a rollercoaster ride for two hours. Web shows, however, need to be strong at the writing stage. For a viewer to engage with content spanning four-five hours, invest in characters, it has to be written very well. In mainstream films, the format is set. Within the first hour, we are often told to divide our scenes in such a way as to introduce characters, create dips, ensure emotional highs, leading to an interval bang. 

With web series, the structure takes a backseat whereas the characters, their interpersonal relationships attain precedence. Establishing a deep connection with the viewer is important and the audience is generally kinder to the issues with shows as long as they relate with characters. Writing a web series is way tougher than writing a film. 

What would excite audiences to watch Parampara on Disney+ Hotstar?

Every family has its share of internal conflicts but what if they blow up on a different level altogether? That's what Parampara is all about. There are strong characters, immense drama and it's shot on a massive scale. The story revolves around three generations of a family and the cross-over drama among them will be engrossing. Working with senior actors like Jagapathi Babu, Sarathkumar was quite exciting and they, along with Naveen Chandra and Ishan are the backbone of the show. They have come up with fiery performances and actors Aakanksha Singh, Naina Ganguly and Murali Mohan are solid additions to the cast.

It must have been a relief to only direct it and forget about production. Wasn't it?

Yes, totally. Making Parampara was an exciting journey and I wholeheartedly thank Arka Mediaworks for the opportunity. Associating with such a huge banner is indeed a big deal. All through my career, I've worked on films made on a shoestring budget. Going from that stage to directing a show for Arka is a giant leap. Arka is a very organised production house that functions with the meticulousness of a corporate firm. The filmmaking process is completely transparent and nothing is left to doubt. It makes our work more comfortable. The focus is on ensuring a quality product minus any constraints.

How did you come to terms with the modest response to your both directorial efforts - Asura and Thippara Meesam? Would you term it a struggling phase?

It wasn't exactly a struggle because I produced both of my films. I would even say that Asura did very well critically and commercially while we knew that Thippara Meesam was a risk right at the inception. Some subjects, sentiments need to be handled delicately and are better left untouched otherwise. Telling the story of a guy who hated his mother was never going to be easy but we tried to go against the wind and experiment with something new. No regrets there! As a producer, I took those risks and the result didn't work in my favour. I never take success to my head and failure to my heart.

(Produced by Arka Mediaworks, Parampara streams on Disney+ Hotstar from December 24)

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