Anand Deverakonda just couldn’t wait to join the sets of his next film, Highway — and finally, it has happened. Shooting commenced with a limited crew, and is being done in line with all the health protocols. “There’s beautiful chaos on the sets,” says Anand. After being away from work for about six months, he says, “Though I was relieved to be back to work, I had mixed feelings too — there was anxiety, nervousness, and excitement.”
“I have been talking to the director, production people, and the crew for over two months, discussing various aspects of the film. And when the director finally says, ‘camera...lights...action... rolling’, suddenly you realise, ‘Oh yeah it’s finally happening,” shares an excited Anand.
He is sure working with a director like Guhan will be insightful. “His ability to read the actors and the film well is incredible,” says the actor, adding that Guhan has a knack for reading the visual language of the film brilliantly.
“The new normal has certainly changed the approach to filmmaking and the way films are being shot. As actors, we can’t wear masks when the camera is switched on, so the best we can do is to wear masks at all other times on the sets and maintain social distancing. Discussions with co-stars and technicians on how to lock the scenes, etc., can be done from a distance,” he notes, adding that he also tries to stay away from crowds.
“I believe it is my responsibility to keep my co-star and people on the set in high spirits and in a good space. But the possibility of someone catching the virus is always there. As it is, filmmaking is a tough job, and I can imagine what the producers and production managers go through during these trying times,” Anand notes.
Highway is a crime thriller. Anand says the film will show him in a new light. “It’s a different role and offers me a very interesting side to explore within myself. Since this is my first thriller, I am all the more excited,” beams the actor, adding that he has done quite a bit of homework on the part.
“Right from my character’s look, to the way he walks and talks, I have done considerable research.” The actor says he takes conscious effort to break away from the clutter and pick out-of-the-box plots. And he’s game to take the unconventional path too. While Dorasani, Anand’s debut film, was a rustic period drama, his Middle Class Melodies was a comic drama. His upcoming Pushpaka Vimanam is an entertainer.
“Luckily, I am not going out in search of these films, they are coming to me, and it’s happening organically. I have to say that it is rewarding, irrespective of the box office results,” says the actor. Anand admits that there’s always pressure to excel and do things differently. “I want to be remembered for my roles and films, that’s the reason why I always aspire to present myself differently,” he concludes.