'I didn't give up on my dreams'

Debut project

'I didn't give up on my dreams'

Sankalp Reddy is still basking in the success of his directorial debut ‘The Ghazi Attack’. Sankalp was sure that he didn’t want his first project to be a ‘masala’ film but one through which he could convey, inform and educate people about a real incident that was lost in the pages of history.

He has watched the film at least seven times and feels that the audience in single-screen theatres is more open and honest when it comes to judging a film than those who go to multiplexes.

In an interview with Nina C George, Sankalp talks about the initial struggles and how his dream project took off.
Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

I never set out to be a filmmaker. I was pursuing an MBA from Griffith University, Australia. When I was about a semester into the course, I saw a big hoarding on the campus about a course in filmmaking. I took a chance and applied and surprisingly, I fulfilled all the requirements and completed the course successfully. I returned to India and worked in an IT firm for a while but I knew that IT was not my calling. When I finished the course, I was confident that I was capable of directing a film.  
What was the trigger to make ‘The Ghazi Attack’? 

I had to stop by at Visakhapatnam and that’s when I spotted a model of the INS Kursura (S20), displayed at Kurusura Submarine Museum in Hyderabad. The sight of the submarine sowed the seed of a possible story and I began exploring the same. I got the script ready but didn’t have a producer. Everyone I approached wanted to know who I had worked with before and what background I had in filmmaking. With no help in sight, I decided to set up a computer graphics studio, hoping to make contacts. The film wasn’t turning out the way I wanted it to but I didn’t give up on my dreams.

We hear that you created a model of the submarine...

With help from my family and a few friends, I managed to raise some money and built a model submarine just like the INS Kursura (S20) I saw at the museum.

 I thought I would make the film on a small budget and release it on YouTube. With this idea, I created a submarine set atop an empty space on the fifth floor of a commercial building, located 15 km from where I stayed. I made the submarine using wood and metal. I first created a two compartment set and increased it to five only after I found a producer. Then I created an additional functional hall as well.

How did you get Rana Daggubati to accept the script? 

The idea was narrated to Rana by another producer whom I met and discussed the script with a while ago. Rana was excited by the idea of the submarine and agreed to work on the project almost instantly. When Rana came on board, people began to take notice because they knew that Rana wouldn’t settle for something small. Everything slowly started falling into place.  

Are you happy with the outcome?

On a personal note, it’s like joining the dots and bringing together moments that I had left behind. After the release, I realised that people have finally started believing in me. They now call my film a trendsetter of sorts and a film that has changed the way movies are being made in the Telugu film industry.  

Your next project...

The script for my next project is ready but I’ve told the producers that it will not be a mass entertainer but one that will explore the real issues at hand.

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