#Behind the camera! Interview with director Ravi Kiran Kola: Southern cinema has been a game-changer in the last two years by offering phenomenal content | Telugu Movie News

Building on the success of “Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam”, Ravi Kiran Kola’s debut film “Raja Vaaru Rani Gaaru” has gained cult film status over the years. He provided the story, screenplay and dialogues for the recent “Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam”, which left audiences and critics impressed with his unconventional storytelling and performances. We caught up with Ravi Kiran Kola on a zoom call to discuss his highly acclaimed film, his journey in films, his take on the Hindi-South film debate, and more.

How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to become a director?

Yeah, I told them I wanted to be a director and my dad didn’t believe me. But my mother always supported me. Unfortunately, my father died before I became a filmmaker. I started making a film after his disappearance. It still hurts me because he couldn’t see my success.

Have you encountered financial difficulties?

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Yes, I went through financial difficulties even after the release of my first film Raja Vaaru Rani Gaaru which became a success. I didn’t even earn a single rupee from this movie. Not just me, my team either. But we tasted success on our first attempt. I have a younger sister and a brother. No matter how many problems I had, I never asked them for anything. We used to go to a park in Hyderabad everyday. One day we saw that there was an entrance ticket to enter the park. I only had 13 rupees and couldn’t afford to enter. We decided to go back to the room as we needed to buy a packet of curds for that night. The roof of my room was always leaking from rain water. We used to sleep on one side of the room to avoid getting wet in the rain.

How do you assess the success of the film?

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I got a good reputation in the industry for doing a feel-good artist like ‘Raja Vaaru Rani Gaaru’. Now we are enjoying the real success with ‘Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam’. Everyone applauded our movie “Raja Vaaru Rani Gaaru” when it was released. Now we are enjoying something new that we have never experienced before. I have never experienced this type of pleasure before.

Why didn’t you make ‘Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam’?

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There’s no big reason. To give the assistant directors working with me a chance, I didn’t direct ‘Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam’. But I provided the film’s story, screenplay and dialogues. Also, I want my second movie to be huge. I have a political subject in mind, and it is my ambitious project. I’m going to direct this film.

What is your first priority for the character of Arjun in ‘AVAK’?

While writing the story for ‘AVAK’, I had a few names in mind, but we didn’t approach anyone. Director Viday Sagar Chinta Garu suggested Vishwak Sen’s name, and I approached him to explain the story. Earlier, me and Vishwak Sen wanted to work on a movie, and I told the same plot before. He didn’t like it. This time he was shocked to hear the same story and wasn’t ready to do it. But when my narration reached the interval, he was already involved and decided to do it without a second thought. He liked the entertainment quotient in the subject and did. And the rest is history.

How was the selection of heroines?

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For the female lead, we scoured thousands of profiles. Our first priority was a Telugu actress. Beauty is not enough, she must be a good artist. There are several Telugu heroines. But we had a problem with their busy schedules. So, we finally cast Rukshar Dhillon to play the female lead named Madhavi. I mean one thing, no language should be an obstacle for an actor.

Do you plan to release the film in other languages?

Everyone says it would be nice to do it in different languages, especially Malayalam. We have no plans to dub it into any other languages, but there might be a chance to do it again in Mollywood. We are sure it will work even in Tamil and Malayalam. But I have no idea if I will cross or not.

When did you shoot ‘Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam’?

We fired
Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam’ during the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic. I wrote the story during the first confinement. Pre-production work was done during the second lockdown. The film passed on the floors during the third wave. We have taken the necessary precautions to protect ourselves from the COVID-19 virus. We had a little trouble taking good care of everyone on the sets.

How did you convince all the actors to come on board?

We managed to convince the whole cast to join us because they all loved their respective characters so much. And I’m very detailed when it comes to characterization. Each character in the movie has their own priority. There are meaningful dialogues for each character in the film. We love each character and how their characterization has been developed. Initially, they were unhappy with what was happening in the background. But gradually they realized how very important their character is in the film.

Have you watched ‘RRR’ and ‘KGF: Chapter 2’? What is your opinion on them?

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The nation was shocked by the overwhelming response from “RRR” and “KGF”. There are films that have grown much larger than the worlds they inhabited. They have inspired, touched and entertained us so deeply that we hold them closer to our hearts. ‘RRR’ and ‘KGF’ are the same. These two are very good films that overflow with multiple emotions.

What is your vision of Southern cinema conquering the Hindi film industry?

It’s pretty common for people like that to have a sense of identity. There’s nothing wrong with uplifting your place or your actor, but understating another place isn’t so human. It’s not really a healthy vibe for movie people. Whether it’s region, language, or actor, every film industry produces movies that influence audiences around the world. Southern cinema, in particular, has been a game-changer over the past two years and has delivered phenomenal content. It’s something everyone has to admit.

Who is your favorite filmmaker?

My favorite filmmakers are Mani Ratnam and Rajkumar Hirani. I really like their stories. But I think there is no one better than Mani Ratnam Garu when it comes to making movies. One day, my desire is to take a single shot like him. He is one of the best directors to script his films and knows exactly where to place a camera. He’s a genius at his job.

Who is your favorite actor?

My favorite actor of all time is megastar Chiranjeevi. I’m a big fan of him. I grew up watching his films. There are so many actors that I love, but Chiranjeevi has been my hero since childhood. He has everything I want in an actor because he is capable of being both a movie star and an actor. It is not possible for everyone. I believe he is the most charismatic actor in Indian cinema and his magnetism is unmatched.

What advice would you give to young directors to flourish in the cinema?


There are so many young budding directors and I’ve seen talented young people among them. I’ve also seen people who aren’t serious about their careers. Learn something every day related to your job. We must learn to think carefully about what we want to do. Don’t wait for someone to come and give you a chance. Don’t waste your time on the odds. Whatever you do, do it according to a plan.

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