Sandhya Raju’s upcoming film Natyam is nothing like her real life; but she admits that it deals with a reality that she has many a times been fearful of.
The 40-minute independent film traces the journey of Kalyani, a Kuchipudi exponent who has to give up her dancing after she gets married only to find her way back to the medium that helps her to be fully alive.
“I have met so many performers who gave up dancing after they got married or were instead forced to take up subjects such as engineering or medicine that left them with little or no time to pursue dance,” says Sandhya, who runs the Nishrinkala Dance Academy here.
“Though my life has been quite the opposite of what Kalyani had to go through, it was a story that I could relate to. I have always wondered whether 10 years from now, if I had to give up on dance, how would I cope with it,” says the Kuchipudi dancer, who has always maintained that dance is her lifeline.
The film is being directed by Revanth, who zeroed in on Sandhya after coming across her YouTube dance videos.
“Four years ago, I was part of the film titled Devasthanam where I performed on the title song. But this subject is something that I have never worked on before,” she says.
“I am excited because the film is going to release directly on YouTube and the ‘digital space’ is the future. If Natyam was released in theatres across AP and Telangana, very few would have had access to it. But the digital space is where anyone across the world can be a part of and I, too, am excited to be a part of it.”
From learning how to cry to expressing herself and even deliver dialogues in Telugu, Sandhya admits how the shoot over the past two months left her with absolutely no time for anything else.
“We were shooting from morning to night at locations across the city,” says Sandhya adding, “It was quite difficult, especially the scene where the protagonist is looking at her reflection in the mirror and recollecting her love for dance and the situations that made her give up on it.
"Even the climax of the movie, where Kalyani gives her final performance is choreographed by me, which I have never done before. I usually followed steps that my gurus give me. So it was quite an overwhelming experience for me.”