Director Dr Sailesh Kolanu, an erstwhile associate professor in medicine at the University of New South Wales, chose to let his passion for all things cinema lead him.
Today, he is a director and writer known for his 2020-film Hit, which was produced by actor Nani, and 2018-short film Checklist. With Hit well-received, Dr Sailesh is now headed to remake it in Bollywood.
As soon as the announcement around the Hindi remake was made on social media, we got in touch with Dr Sailesh regarding his Bollywood debut and his plans hereafter.
Excerpts from the interview:
Is Hit in Hindi going to be exactly as it was in Telugu? Are you considering a special mantra to engross the Hindi and possibly world-wide audiences?
We will obviously tweak a few sensibilities so that the movie appeals to world-wide audiences, but the film’s core remains the same. I’ll also use the feedback from my Telugu audiences to improve the Hindi version.
As for a mantra, I believe a story needs to be told engagingly with a proper screenplay structure so that people can connect to it. If you get those aspects right, I think people from anywhere in the world will remain connected to it.
Even Hit, the story of a believable police officer, which was narrated realistically without succumbing to cinematic liberties, found love from Punjabi and Malayalam audiences among others.
We hear you’re yet to decide on the female lead, while you have zeroed in on Raj Kumar Rao for Hit in Hindi.
We have a wish list for the female lead from south and Bollywood, though the contemplation is still on.
As for the male lead, Raj Kumar’s name came up during the initial discussions itself. For starters, we wanted someone who could pull of a dark character — the protagonist in Hit is battling for his past in the present while he is very uncertain about his future.
Simultaneously, we didn’t want him to be portrayed so darkly that the audiences disconnect with him. And only someone who rakes in mature performances could do justice to the duality of the role.
And thus Raj! I have been watching his works and especially liked him in Trap. I believe he’s an actor of great calibre, and I feel blessed to have him in this project.
However, as the narration wasn’t possible because of the pandemic lockdown, we sent him a bound script.
We had detailed discussions over the phone before he gave us his nod. We hope to start shoot once conditions improve and are considering a 2021 theatrical release.
Do you have a HIT 2 coming, perhaps a franchise in mind?
When I started writing Hit I knew it was going to make for a great franchise, which is also why I left a few questions unanswered in the first one so that the emotional arch of the protagonist will continue in Hit 2 as well.
We will add new conflicts to subsequent sequels, for which I have already added cases by taking inspiration from real-life intriguing crimes from around the world, which I’ve collected from various papers and magazines.
But besides that franchise, I’m also working on a love story set in a college backdrop, but I cannot yet divulge details of that for obvious reasons.