A BFA student from Andhra University, Ramana’s interest in books inspired him to take up filmmaking as an art. “I came to Hyderabad to work as an Assistant Director, but I was shocked to see the treatment meted out. So I pursued a three-year filmmaking course in Mumbai during which I acquired knowledge in pre-visualisation — concept, art, storyboarding and visual development,” says Ramana, who managed to impress Bollywood filmmaker Shekhar Kapur with his scripting methodology.
“I was thrilled when he told me that my style of pre-visualisation is similar to that of Hollywood filmmaking, and asked me to join him as his creative personal assistant. I worked for 10 years on all his films including Hollywood films like Elizabeth,” adds Ramana.
Later, the Srikakulam-born filmmaker worked as a pre-visualisation artiste for Hollywood films like Puss in Boots, Madagascar 3 and Shrek 4, while working for renowned DreamWorks Animation in Bengaluru.
It was not long before director S.S. Rajamouli asked Ramana to assist him on his film Eega. “Rajamouli was surprised to know that I am a Telugu guy (smiles), and asked me to design the entire pre-visualisation for Eega,” reveals Ramana, adding, “I later worked for Nagarjuna’s films like Rajanna and Damarukam and NTR-starrer Dammu too.”
When Ramana felt that he wasn’t getting his due, he decided to turn a director and made a short film titled Living Idle. Describing his film, Ramana says, “When I was in Mumbai, I used to see Bengali idol workers, their hard work inspired me to make a film on their lives. The premise of the plot is how much the women love and care for the family. An idol maker carves a beautiful sculpture, but what happens if he doesn’t carve his life well?”
Six months of research, four months of pre-visualisation and a budget of `25 lakh went into the making of the short film. “But I could shoot the film in RED 6k digital in two days because of the thorough planning and pre-production. When I narrated the script to Gitanjali Mishra and Anil Charanjeet, they immediately agreed to do it. The team who have worked for Ilayaraja and A.R. Rahman earlier composed the music,” shares Ramana, who feels the most challenging part was filming the rain scene during the pre-climax. “The scenes had to come naturally and had to be high on emotions. The entire crew felt so emotional after seeing the edited version, and it was then I thought I was successful,” he says. Interestingly, the film has been screened 108 times in various international film festivals and received 47 international awards in various categories, apart from 6.6 million Facebook views.
“These awards only prove that if you make films with good content and standards, irrespective of the language, people will appreciate it. We can easily make films that match Hollywood standards, but all we need is encouragement and support. I stand vindicated and these awards have made me more confident,” shares Ramana, who is planning a short film on Gandhian principles next....