Originally from Siddipet, Jeevan Reddy — a prodigy of Ram Gopal Varma — made his debut with the critically acclaimed Dalam. But it is the trailer of his second film George Reddy, a biopic on the former slain Osmania University student leader that is presently trending, and that has cast the director into the limelight even before the film releases.
“I completed my graduation from Siddipet but have always been passionate about films,” says Jeevan, who took up a career in films thanks to his family’s support. “I liked Ram Gopal Varma a lot, so I met him and he took me on as his assistant for the film KSD Appalaraju. That’s the only film I ever worked on as an assistant director,” recalls Jeevan, who calls RGV his guru. “He encouraged me to direct a film and I have stayed in touch with him all throughout,” he reveals, adding, “I learnt a lot from him and his films. In fact, that’s how I started my first film Dalam.”
On how he zeroed in on the story of George Reddy, Jeevan narrates, “Over the last fifteen years, I have spent a lot of time at Osmania University since I have so many friends there. And one of the stories that remained with me over the years was that of George Reddy.”
The director says he was inspired by his protagonist’s dynamism. “This is the story of his life. Not many know that he was a gold medallist who was called Einstein here in OU and that professors from Mumbai came to meet him. But I did extensive research on him and met some of his friends too,” says Jeevan, who believes in making realistic films.
“I want to make useful cinema, so I choose subjects from society. Even if it takes time, I am not in a hurry,” he says, which could explain the gap of five years since his debut film. For his upcoming film, the director painstakingly recreated the 1975 Osmania University building. “It was a campus atmosphere and every day, nearly 600 to 1,000 juniors worked on this film. Since I wanted to shoot unhindered, I decided to go for a set,” he explains, adding that all the junior artistes were hired through the Film Federation Employee Union.
Interestingly, the titular role is being played by Jeevan’s long-time friend, Sandeep. “He worked really hard for nearly one and half years, even learning boxing along the way,” reveals Jeevan.
With hundreds of junior artistes and big sets, the film’s budget is naturally a bit high. “Yes, we put in a lot of money and I should thank Damodar Reddy, Appdi Reddy and Sanjeev Reddy for their constant support,” says the director, listing cinematographer Sudhakar Reddy as his other big support. “He got a National Award for a Marathi film and is now working for my film,” shares the 38-year-old bachelor, who has chosen to remain single thus far. “Cinema is my passion and I have forgotten everything else since I took it up,” he says with a smile....