Pataas, ‘Raja The Great’, ‘F2’, ‘Sarileru Neekevvaru’ – director Anil Ravipudi has delivered back to back hits over the last few years. Each of his films scaled new heights, as he went about casting big heroes, handling bigger budgets, and delivering what he knows best to do – make films that deliver on Entertainment, Entertainment and Entertainment.
It’s like he always knows the pulse of the people, and he surely knows to make the cash registers ringing. From the time he began to not just write but direct his films – he has been clear about the kind of films he would like to make. “Mass Commercial Entertainers!”
“It’s not that I don’t experiment. Making a full-length film with a lead hero, who is visually challenged and making it a fun entertainer with ‘Raja The Great’ was indeed an experiment that paid off. Each of my film is different, but I leverage on my core strength, and when I work with a big hero, I get into his world, his earlier films, understand his strengths, and make my film around it,” Anil shares his film making process, in a nutshell.
Having grown up on a diet of blockbuster Telugu films with their ample dose of mass elements, hero worship, comedy and punch dialogues many of which continued into common language – for Anil Ravipudi it’s the weekend cinema watching ritual that was sacred and exciting. These films have been his education over his younger days.
“As far as entertainment goes, my Gurus are Jandhyala, EVV Satyanarayana and Krishna Reddy. They have made amazing movies. I hope to do the same,” he shares.
And, if there is one film of his that falls completely into the slot – it is ‘F2: Fun and Frustration’ – a family entertainer. ‘F2’ released during Sankranthi, 2019, that time of the year when in the two Telugu States – watching a film together with family is almost part of the festival rituals. The story of two men (Venkatesh and Varun Tej) who get bogged down with marriage and run away – but soon realise their folly, come back to win over their wives (Tamannaah and Mehreen) all over again – peppered with ample dose of comic situations and humourous dialogues. The film struck the right chord with the audience, and gained such cult status that Anil Ravipudi saw the makings of a Franchise.
“F2 became a film that remained in the library of Telugu people to be revisited often. I wanted to make a franchise, which is going to be a fun ride, and ‘F3’ is the result of this decision.”
“While the template is the same, we are attempting another kind of script and genre. The cast is the same but the subject is going to be different. ‘F3’ is about the role of money in people’s lives. And it is going to be a hilarious fun ride,” he states.
The film is going to have an expanded star cast, and the challenge is going to be to balance the cast, the screenplay and keep the audience engaged for two and half hours. “It is easy to laugh at someone, but difficult to make them laugh wholeheartedly. Writing a serious film is relatively easier. When I write the dialogues timing is very essential, and so far, I have not missed that timing,” he explains.
“I gain my experiences by watching people, and by learning from each and every one I meet. I approach a day by opening a plain page in my book ready to make notes from young, old – everyone will have something to share. And I share what I know with them. I try to stay grounded and connected to my roots.”
Some of the top heroes that Anil Ravipudi has worked with include the likes of Ravi Teja, Mahesh Babu, Venkatesh. His next is going to be with Balakrishna. “You are going to see a different side of him in my film. I want to show to the audience that Balakrishna can do any kind of role.”
“On the sets I don’t show any tantrums. Like every film lover I worshipped my heroes, which is what I do even now. When I am around the heroes, I am their fan, and I guess even they feel the vibe, and they love me for it and trust me. This is the reason I never had difficulty in getting what I wanted from them when on sets.”
The women in Anil Ravipudi’s films too get their fair deal. “I try my best. Wherever there is an opportunity I try to make the character strong. In ‘Sarileru Neekevvaru’, I tried to mould Vijayashanti garu’s role into a powerful character. But my dream is to make a complete woman centric film, which I will definitely do one of these days.”
At present Anil is gearing up for the release of his much-awaited film ‘F3’. “People, who will be watching the film, two years after pandemic are going to forget their troubles when they watch this clean entertainment,” he promises.
“I thoroughly enjoy making films. I enjoy each moment from the scripting process to shooting, editing, mixing until it gets out. There are these four days just before the film release, which is like an empty space spent waiting, and hoping this is over. This is the time when the body is present and mind is absent,” he confesses as he awaits the release of his film on May 27 this year.