Following in the footsteps of director Sukumar, a former mathematics lecturer, Sanjana Reddy has donned a director’s cap. She is all set to make her debut with Rajugadu, a film that has been in the making for nearly two years.
“I first worked as a mathematics teacher, then I joined a software company, and then became a journalist. After working with Ram Gopal Varma for a week on his film Rowdy, I realised that I had a strong inclination towards directing films. I learnt a lot in that one week, and RGV continues to be one of my biggest inspirations. He never panics; he just completes his work in a calm and composed manner,” Sanjana says.
Still uncertain after experience on set, Sanjana decided to take a solo trip to figure out what she wanted to do.
“I had saved some money from my various jobs, and I decided to travel alone. I went to Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok. There, I read a lot of books on cinema and met members of the local film industry. After I returned from holiday, I decided that I would direct a film,” she says.
When she met with writers and directors in India and told them about her plan, they all told her that it would take her at least 10 years to make her first film — five years to write a script, and another five to get an actor for it.
“At that time I met Amala Akkineni, and through her, I got the chance to direct a TV commercial. The success of that project actually gave me the confidence to pursue direction,” she says.
Sanjana met with Raj Tarun and the two started discussing potential characters and storyline. It was around the same time that Bhale Bhale Mogadivoy, a film in which the lead character suffers from memory loss, released and became a huge success. Discussions about the film sparked a promising idea.
“The idea of a kleptomaniac character came to our minds, and we developed a storyline around it. We wanted a subject that would be interesting, and so we chose this,” she says, adding that one in every ten persons is a kleptomaniac.
“The tendency is most pronounced in school kids. They steal each other’s pencils and erasers. I have car logos, Harley Davidson bike logos and keychains that I have stolen,” the director says.
Talking about her experience being a woman in the film industry, she says that she hasn’t faced any discrimination.
“People look at the brain behind a piece of work and not whether it was made by a man or a woman. It all depends on how you project yourself,” she says.
Sanjana’s film, which is due to release on June 1, will be competing with RGV’s Officer.
Talking about the clash, she says, “My film was supposed to release some time ago, but it is only releasing now. I hope both our films do well at the box-office.”