Anish Kuruvilla, executive producer for Anand and Godavari, has made a 90 minute English and Telugu film titled – Naa Video Diary (Confessions of a filmmaker in English). It is set against film world especially Telugu cinema industry. The film has not yet cleared by the Censor Board; I believe it won’t be passed either. It was shown to the media and other selected persons at Prasad Preview theatre on Saturday (May 12, 2007).
Naa Video Dairy is more of a documentary than a film. Na Video Diary is essentially about Kamal Kamaraju (played by the actor by the same name. He is second lead in Godavari), a wannabe director’s vengeance against the star system in Telugu films, the nepotism, the fans culture, babugiri, etc. Such things are also dealt by Vamsi in Sitara and Krishnavamsi in Khadgam.
But Anish’s film is totally different. It is direct scathing attack on the system. He parodies, criticizes the stars by calling their names directly and attacks with expletive words. Shocking and outrageous at times, the film raises valid points and yet it doesn’t enlighten us. Moreover the narrative mode that he has chosen is also very modern (though such kind of films are nothing new those who are aware of world cinema). But you can’t completely agree with the film.
The protagonist who shoots himself (by a pistol) after he is ‘disgusted’ with the industry shoots his ‘story’ for 10 days. Each day is shown to us and in between he ‘confesses’ about his experiences and his general observations about Telugu film industry. In the process he attacks on Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Balakrishna, Venkatesh, NTR Jr, and Mahesh Babu (indirectly), Telugu heroines, producers and film press.
Some of his comments are go like this (I have avoided filthy language that he has used)
1. Here everyone calls a hero Babu. That means we are naukris of the stars
2. The star sons proclaim that acting is in thier blood. How can blood possess acting, yaar?
3. Nepotism rules. Chiranjeevi’s brother Pawan Kalyan came and a whole
others from the family have come now. From NTR family, Balakrishna, NTR Jr and From Akkineni family, Nagarjuna, Sumanth..etc
4. Pokes fun at acting styles of stars
Some of his placards (the scene of placards is superb technically and cinematically though), inserted comments, some of protagonist’s dialogues go like these..
1. The hero stands in front of Chiranjeevi Blood and Eye Bank and his placard says, “Open up your eyes for good cinema.”
2. Vajrotsavam = Bullshitotsavam
3. If I am shot, you know whom to blame..(it is about Balakrishna)
4. Are Movies made for us or for themselves?
5. Watching films may not be the best orgasm, it makes them get off.
6. Why don’t our filmmakers make films to that standard of world cinema
Anish points seem justifiable but they are contradictory in nature and perceived in myopic view and at times look perverted (pointing middle finger, using F word).
The film is technically superb. The editing and camera work is amazing. With liberal usage of several songs from all the musicians from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to Rehman, the music also is highly enriching. Anish really have knack for making audiences sit through the film. His dialogues are powerful and makes us think. His dialogues so casual and yet poetic in serious situations. As a director he shows promise as taking style is of superior quality.
It is tough for a single actor to carry off the entire film on his shoulders for 90 minutes. Kamal Kamalraj has done terrific job. It is clear that he has worked hard physically too for this film – he is shown as bald, with lengthy beard and with clean shave in the film in various stages. Kamal has shown the variations. His dialogue delivery is also very powerful.
The film gives some laughs as it is raw and totally earthy. But it is not genius work nor it is a path breaking film as it made out to be. The film’s hero fails to get a ‘break’ even after 10 years of experience and graduating to executive producer. So it is a loser’s anguish. It is his problem but the loser makes sweeping comments.
As I am coming out of Prasad’s preview theatre, a friend of mine who also watched made a comment - “Neeku kadupu noppi vaste, nannu tablets vesumantavenduku.” Yes, that sums up it.
The director should know that..
1. He should be remembered that Chiranjeevi had also done some meaningful cinema like Manchu Pallaki, Aaradhana, Rudraveena (he also produced it) earlier. It is not that he doesn’t have taste for good cinema.
2. People don’t come to have orgasm, man. Naval gazing is not sin as you made out to be. In Hollywood and matured World Cinema, they go further and show heroines naked.
3. Yes, quality of Telugu films is not good. It is not discussed in festivals circuit and world cinema. But why don’t make them yourself? If we send your Godavari and Anand to international film festivals they laugh at them too. It would have been good if you made such films and made comments. Any person can comment on the standards of Telugu cinema, and trying to make it good is welcomed by everyone but deriving enjoyment by making perverted comments on stars is highly deplorable.
4. The protagonist in your film makes heroes and producers as buffoons and undisciplined guys. What about directors. Aren’t they directors who make films going over budget? Many of them promise moon and dish out ‘Sh..”. It would have been if you have talked about them.
P.S: A placard says, "Press, stop lying." So we are not lying here. We have written what we felt.
By Navya Vaitla