We catch filmmaker Sandeep Reddy Vanga at a small apartment in ‘Buckingham’, Road No.12, which he had rented as his office when was working on Arjun Reddy. He tells us that he had arrived at the apartment three days ago, almost one-and-half year later, to clean it up, we can see, still has in it the blackboard he’d used while making Arjun Reddy. “I shot some of the key scenes in this apartment, including the classroom episode and scenes involving Vijay’s house. It took me nearly 15 days to do those,” says Sandeep even as we wonder how he shot those scenes in these compact rooms.
Sandeep, who hails from Warangal and completed his medicine course in Dharwad, says he was always interested in filmmaking since his childhood. “But my parents wanted me to complete my graduation first. So after that, I joined a Film School in Sydney, Australia. And that has been the best decision I’ve taken in my life. I got a chance to discuss and exchange views about cinema,” he adds.
The story of a lifetime
Sandeep had already worked on a storyline while at the film school. And when he returned, he narrated that story to Allu Arjun. And though the actor liked the narration, he refused to take it up as he was looking at working in another genre.
The director also tried to work as an assistant director to directors such as Puri and Rajamouli. “But when I went to meet Puri, I was told to leave my resume at the watchman’s, which I didn’t. I couldn’t meet Rajamouli either but he, too, had no vacancy,” says Vanga, who ultimately worked as an AD for the film, Kedi and Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju.
Then when no projects materialised, Sandeep began watching films from his DVD collection. Three months later, he decided to write another story around the emotional love story of a doctor in in 2013.
“On my brother’s advice, I watched Akkineni Nageswara Rao’s classic Devadas a few times before writing the story. That probably had an influence on Arjun Reddy because many have come up to me, saying that they thought the film was a modern rendition of Devadas, and I couldn’t agree more,” he reveals.
Finding a fit
However, Vijay Deverakonda wasn’t Sandeep’s first choice for the role. The director had met Manchu Manoj and Sharwanand separately, and though both of them liked the story, he couldn’t get a producer. “Swapna Dutt was the only producer who clapped for my script,” says Sandeep.
Then one day, writer and director Kranthi Madhav introduced Sandeep to actor Vijay Deverakonda in a coffee shop. “He’d come to know about my story through Swapna and asked me about it. He expressed his interest and we decided to collaborate. And I decided to even produce the film,” says Sandeep.
But the Arjun Reddy director believes that some people are born with some traits. “And I think I’ve been an angry person from my childhood. And I put all that anger into the character of Arjun Reddy in that film,” he reveals.
So who would he like to work with in the future, we ask him. “It’s my dream to narrate a story to Chiranjeevi whether he decides to act in it or not. I have a story that suits to his age,” says Sandeep, who says he’s a hard-core fan of the megastar and claims to have danced to Chiranjeevi songs when he was a child.
Incidentally, Sandeep used to store Chiranjeevi’s photos in his family album. “Recently, I saw an old family album and found two of his photos in them, so you can imagine how much I like him. In fact, at the launch function of Rangasthalam, I even told him that I am his number one fan,” says Sandeep with a smile as he signs off....