True cinema lover!
- 08 Sep 2018
"When I first moved to Hyderabad in 2009, I lived in Krishna Nagar for a long time. I remember getting into lorries with random people to work as a spot boy for 50 rupees. Almost 10 years later, C/O Kancharapalem happened. Yesterday I went back to the locality. It struck me that just because I’m a director now, my life hasn’t changed. I’m the same old Venkatesh Maha. Earlier, maybe 10 people knew me and today a 1,000 do. I’m not trying to be modest but that’s how I look at life. ‘No matter how far you go, don’t forget where you came from and your journey. In fact, this is one of the many lessons I learnt from my friend’s father in Kancharapalem. I remember my brief time with him, where he told me almost every story that existed in that village. Much later in life, I realized that every story had a lesson, a learning that would help me in life. When I decided to make a film, I couldn’t think of a better or stronger story. It might be simple but I thought it was a story to be told. I was also particular about shooting it there and having those people act. It was a major project for me and I can’t think of a better debut, honestly. It’s been my dream to be a part of Telugu cinema, all my life! I remember telling people in class 7 that I would grow up and be an actor.
I grew up in Gandhi Nagar, Vijayawada. That sums up why and how addicted to cinema I was. For the uninitiated, Gandhi Nagar alone had more than 20 theaters back then. So you know what I mean now! Even in middle school, I bunked classes and bought nela tickets to watch films on the first day. It was an achievement for me. I walked to school via roads with huge cut-outs of superstars. A lot of my classmates and friends made fun of me. Nobody believed me when I said I would really be in the cinema someday. A few years later, I stopped saying it. Words speak louder than actions and I wanted to do my work without much noise. I moved to Hyderabad and life wasn’t easy. Not one day passed by without wanting to get a job in the industry. A few auditions would give me great feedback, as if they would make me a star the next day. But it took me a few years to understand that, ‘Boss, nothing happens overnight’. Instead of giving up and going back home, I took up small jobs - co-director for TV shows, spot boy, set boy and more. I built contacts but nothing happened. I continued to make short and feature films. I never wanted a single day to be wasted. I would shoot something every day. A similar process led me to make C/O Kancharapalem. From wanting to be an actor, I became a director for a film produced by Suresh Babu garu. That seems like quite an achievement. Nobody back home believed me when I said my film is going to be out and is being produced by them. My brother realized what I meant only when he happened to watch the film with Rajamouli recently. I’m now being known as a director but hopefully, there will be some filmmaker in some corner who would want to cast me as an actor in his film. Now that's not too much to ask for! "