Creating ethereal sets for dream sequences in films was an art director’s domain until recently. But Tollywood’s art directors are now extending their skills to personal living spaces of the filmmakers too — designing concepts for houses, living spaces, offices and farm houses.
Renowned art director Narayana Reddy, who has been in the industry for a long time, feels that only an art director can give a filmi makeover to an otherwise ordinary abode.
“I have designed homes of filmmakers Surender Reddy, Srinu Vaitla, and several others. Basically, even the house or an office (of a filmmaker) should look like a film set so that they can retain that filmi experience even while they are away from a set. And only the art director, through his vision and experience, can give you that feel and carry forward a director’s visualisation.”
National award-winning art director Ravinder Reddy, who did a Masters in Architecture from IIT Delhi, is currently designing the abodes of Trivikram Srinivas, S.S. Rajamouli and Sukumar’s office space. “I was given the opportunity because of my unique style and understanding over the quality, technology and tastes of the existing art practices. Since we work with filmmakers closely, they believe we can effectively carry out their vision in designing their workplace or living spaces,” explains Ravinder, who is a very close aide of Rajamouli.
Another art director, Rajeevan, who designed Gautham Menon’s office space, believes his bonding with the ace filmmaker got him the opportunity. “We work very closely, so naturally our thought process is similar. When he (Gautam) thought of having an innovative office set up, I chipped in with the designs.”
However, designing a house is completely different from designing a film set. In fact, working on a house is a lot more challenging. “Both are completely different when it comes to sustainability and practicality. While a film set is instant, the challenge lies in looking into the practicality while designing a house since it has to sustain for long term. Things like maintenance, cost effectiveness, etc. should be looked into.”
“We have to design such a house that people should be able to live in it, even without a servant maid,” adds Ravinder. Concurring is senior art director, Ashok Kumar, who has designed Film Nagar Cultural Club (FNCC) and Film Chamber, “Interior designing is a time-consuming job and takes more than a year, but for films, an art director’s work takes just a few months. We need to look at the long term benefits and not short term (like a filmi set). Also, the interiors we design should be sensible and not outdated.”
Art director Johny Basha Shaik recently designed Puri Jagannadh’s office. The art director, who is currently working for Puri’s films, says that the filmmakers’ faith in the art director is the key.
“Everybody wants a unique concept to make their homes or office special. We, as art directors, can imagine the bigger perceptive and create the ambience of exotic landscapes. However, the satisfaction of making a house memorable to people is special,” he says.
Interestingly, not just filmi personalities, but businessmen and politicians too approach art directors for design. “I have designed convention centers in Vizag, apart from designing a lavish house for businessmen. I also worked and created designs for Amaravathi,” says Narayana Reddy, adding, “I have designed and executed MLA Revanth Reddy’s daughter’s wedding mandap.”
Telangana Chief Minister, K. Chandrasekhar Rao entrusted the responsibility of designing the temple architecture at Yadagirigutta to art director Anand Sai. His design plan for Yadadari was also approved.
“The unique Vaishnava weddings I designed for Rameshwar Rao garu impressed him. KCR garu gave the opportunity to design the master plan for Yadadri temple,” says Anand, who has designed the wedding sets for Ram Charan and Allu Arjun.
“We work very closely, so naturally our thought process is similar. When he thought of having an innovative office set up, I chipped in with the designs,” says Rajeevan who designed Gautham Menon’s office space
“Since we work with filmmakers closely, they believe we can effectively carry out their vision in designing their workplace or living space,” says Ravinder, who is currently designing the homes of S.S. Rajamouli and Trivikram Srinivas
- Ravinder Reddy
“Even the house or an office (of a filmmaker) should look like a film set so that they can retain that filmi experience even while they are away from a set,” says Narayana Reddy, who has designed homes of filmmakers Surender Reddy, Srinu Vaitla, and several others
- Narayana Reddy