On Friday, Ghazi, India’s first underwater war film, won the National Award for the Best Telugu film. Directed by Sankalp Reddy, the film stars Rana Daggubati, Atul Kulkarni and Kay Kay Menon in the lead roles. The film, taken from a real-life incident that happened near Visakhapatnam involving Pakistani warship Ghazi, was not only critically applauded, but also changed the technical face of Telugu cinema.
“There was hope that the film would get a National Award, but I never expected it because of the stiff competition. But today, everybody is happy, especially the writers, the cinematographer, technicians and the artistes,” says Sankalp, adding, “I met so many producers with the script but they were not convinced. Many questioned who would even watch this kind of film. This award is hopefully an answer to all those questions.”
“When I narrated the story, Rana believed in it and helped the other actors and producers,” says Sankalp, adding, “Now we can say that Ghazi is a National Award winning film and the entire team feels very proud about it.”
The Joy of Baahubali has been going on for the last five years. It has been hailed as a spectacle in India. And now the National Award is like icing on the cake. Ghazi is an alternate genre of film, which I am very proud of. It was a film that had a lot of resistance when I was trying to make it because it was a submarine war film and did not have a love story, songs or anything that a regular Telugu moviegoer would normally watch. We believed in the story’s potential and we stand vindicated with this National Award. The award was so important because it now gives us strength to make more such films
— Rana Daggubati, actor
(As told to Sashidhar Adivi)
However, Sankalp adds that the National Award has not put any pressure: “For my first film, I struggled to get a producer, but I already have one for my second film, so I am working harder now than ever before! However, the National Award has not put any pressure or hype on my second film.”...