'Konda Polam' will be released in theatres on October 8. In this interview, director Krish Jagarlamudi talks about the movie, the novel on which it is based, working with Vaisshnav Tej and Rakul Preet Singh, his future projects and more.
The film 'Konda Polam' is based on a novel by the same name. Book and film are two contrasting mediums. In the novel, you don't find Obulamma (played in the film by Rakul Preet Singh). When I read the novel for the first time, I could connect with the backdrop of shepherds and all. They have to confront wild animals as well. There is also the problem of stealing that shepherds face.
The original plan was to shoot in Goa. The forest officials there didn't permit us to bring lambs because that would attract tigers and other wild animals.
Every episode is very exciting, much like the novel, which is about an IAS officer protagonist. Everytime the results of the Civil Services Examination are out, we hear about candidates from humble backgrounds coming out with flying colours. I conceived the character Obulamma because I wanted to infuse a beautiful love story. She is a catalyst in the male protagonist's life. Sannapureddy Venkata Rami Reddy, the author who wrote the novel, himself developed the female character for our movie.
After I bought the rights to the novel 'Konda Polam', director Sukumar called me up to find out if I really have got its rights. If I didn't have the rights, he was interested in buying the rights.
I wanted to do the movie as a quickie amid the pandemic because I was not doing 'Hari Hara Veera Mallu' at that time. We shot it in 35 days. Shooting 'Konda Polam' during the pandemic was not easy. The production works required detailed planning. We had to shoot with minimal equipment, that too in the middle of the forest. We took 1000 lambs with us to shoot the movie. We had to trek deep into the forest bearing all the equipment. It was an exciting experience, whereby we experienced the joy of pure air and the food was great, too.
I had seen Vaisshnav Tej when he was in 10th class or so. Before 'Konda Polam' was planned, I happened to cross paths with him at a party. We had a general discussion and I really liked his eyes. I once told Pawan Kalyan garu that Tej has his kind of eyes. Pawan garu said that the eyes were inherited from his dad.
Vaisshnav Tej is always observant. He doesn't consciously feel that he comes from the Mega family. He has keen observation skills, and always wants to learn something new. He is passionate about story-telling and movie-making. That's why he took up a story like 'Uppena' and now 'Konda Polam'.
After Tej came on board, I was not decided as to who should be the female lead. It was my cinematographer's suggestion to cast Rakul Preet Singh. As I narrated the story to her, I could find my Obulamma in her. The character was evolved eventually. She slimmed down for the role. I am blessed to have worked with the Tej-Rakul duo.
The caption 'The tale of becoming' means that you have to boost yourself. Take the example of the pandemic. We have risen above fear eventually. The 'becoming' is a great term in itself.
'Hari Hara Veera Mallu' had completed two schedules before 'Konda Polam' went on the floors. About 25% of the shoot of 'HHVM' was over. The shoot was stalled on March 15, 2020. 'Konda Polam' went on the floors in July. The industry was still closed at that time. I made this film only because I was excited after reading the novel. I met with Pawan Kalyan garu before launching 'Konda Polam'. He told me he would be able to work with me on 'HHVM' only after November. So, I requested him to allow me to complete a small film in the meanwhile. It was kind of him to permit me to do so keeping in mind my constraints and the well-being of the film industry. Producer AM Ratnam garu too was okay with my proposal.
About 50% of the shoot of 'Hari Hara Veera Mallu' is over. The next schedule will start in the second week of November.
The team of 'HHVM' has worked on 'Konda Polam' as well, be it composer MM Keeravani garu, cinematographer Gnana Sekhar VS or others. Keeravani garu has attention to detail and it's always a pleasure to work with him. He has elevated 'Konda Polam' to the next level.
I and Rajeev Reddy garu are producing a web series for Hotstar. It too is based on a novel. I am fond of novels. We have a vast pool of novels from the Telugu States.