It’s rare to find a Tollywood debutant director who’s not worked as an assistant director (AD). Director Damodar Attadda, who’s making his debut with the forthcoming film Pushpaka Vimanam, believes that if you know the technicalities of filmmaking, you needn’t work as an AD.
“Moreover, I have experience of making short films, which came in handy,” adds Damodar who, incidentally, even got an offer to work as an AD, which he did not take up. Interestingly, Damodar had a regular 9–5 job in Bengaluru for several years before this. But he found his job tedious and decided to follow his childhood passion, setting his eyes on filmmaking.
“While in IT, I made short films in Vizag. In the process, a few years ago, I got in touch with actor Vijay Deverakonda. He liked my work and wanted to know if I’d be keen on working as an AD for a film. This was even before Yevade Subramanyam (2015) had been released,” recalls Damodar, who wasn’t keen on the AD’s role and continued making short films instead.
Even so, he stayed in touch with Vijay and the duo worked on several ideas. Around this time, Damodar quit his job and relocated to Hyderabad. Vijay’s father Govardhan Rao even called Damodar to direct a web series, which however, didn’t materialise.
“But I had already developed the plotline for Pushpaka Vimanam and narrated it to Govardhan sir, and he was instantly hooked to it and asked me to develop it further,” recollects Damodar. “Then, after the release of Dorasani in 2019, Govardhan sir shared with me the idea of casting his younger son Anand Deverakonda for my story.”
After a quick trial photo shoot, the makers found Anand to be perfect for the part in Pushpaka Vimanam, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Damodar tells us that the plot and the characters in his upcoming film are inspired by real-life incidents. “We’ve all witnessed lavish weddings, but within no time, the wedded couple break up. The trend has been on the rise, so I decided to make a film around the situation,” elaborates the director.
“Pushpaka Vimanam indicates a journey; my film also chronicles the journey of a newly-wed guy who was about to jet off to his honeymoon. But then there are some twists that come in his life a month after he gets married.”
The director also points out the film’s plot has multiple layers. So they held workshops and script-reading sessions before taking the film on the floors.
Anand, who plays a government teacher in the film, apparently observed the body language and dressing styles of government teachers as a part of his research.
“And Anand could emulate them exactly. In fact, Anand pulled off the role with élan; he’s very open to ideas and is easy to work with,” adds Damodar.
Although Pushpaka Vimanam is narrated in a comical manner, the director uses his film to reinforce that marriage is a sacred intuition. So also, he remained cautious while illustrating sensitive aspects of relationships.
However, something we are curious about: being a debutant, did Anand’s dad, who’s bankrolling the project, even intervene in the filmmaking? “Neither Vijay nor Govardhan sir ever came to the sets; in fact, they always encouraged fresh ideas. I’m glad they believed in my directorial skills and the script,” reveals Damodar.