Debutant director Buchi Babu Sana awaits the release of 'Uppena' on February 12. In this interview, he talks about the film, what makes it special, working with Vaisshnav Tej, Vijay Sethupathi and others, his guru Sukumar and more.
I start searching for stories right at my home. I look for stories around me. When I wrote the story of 'Uppena', I felt it befit my status as a student of Sukumar garu. I narrated the story to him during the making of 'Rangasthalam'.
We see the Seatown backdrop only in Tamil movies. I always used to wonder why such a backdrop is not explored in Telugu. I have done it because it suits the story.
I used to be a student of Sukumar garu while doing Intermediate. Back then, he shared with me that he will be entering the film industry. If Sukku sir teaches Maths, no student will not understand the subject. Such a director shouldn't ever make a flop.
I have done MBA in Hyderabad. I have used my marketing skills in the film industry, too. Bringing in a Mega hero and an actor like Vijay Sethupathi is all a part of the strategy to broaden the appeal of 'Uppena'. Unless the story is good, they wouldn't have come on board. Vijay garu has said that this film will be as big a hit as '96' was in Tamil.
The story I narrated to Jr NTR as an assistant director was not 'Uppena' but something else. I worked on 'Nannaku Prematho' and developed a rapport with him during that time.
'Uppena' doesn't feel like a film. Right from the third minute, you will be sucked into the proceedings. This is a love story plus a family drama. I am sure that the climax will touch the audience, especially women. There is the woman's perspective, too.
The film says that love is limitless. The format of the story may be old but the situations, the dialogues, the sensibilities, the ending are fresh.
Sai Chand garu's character will be a highlight. He doesn't act in more than one movie at a time. In some of the scenes, you will see that he is dominating Vijay Sethupathi. It's no exaggeration!
The censor board has not muted even a single line. I was a bit apprehensive but they didn't want any cuts. There is a take on casteism. Compared to 'Rangasthalam', 'Uppena' is very direct about caste.
This story is apt only for newcomers, established actors wouldn't have been suitable. The film begins with Vijay garu's character and ends with his character. By the time the climax pans out, the audience will understand why I chose him for the role. I was always certain that he will surely do the film.
The male lead in 'Uppena' is a fisherman. A lot of my classmates were from the fishermen community. They are very soft and are not caste-conscious at all. They get along with everybody without bothering about so-called caste distinctions.
As many as 70 people have watched the movie. Not even one of them has told me 'Uppena' is bad. Most of them have found it very good. Some girls even cried.
I love Sukumar so much that I would be proud to be called his assistant than director Buchi Babu Sana. There is so much that you can learn from him.
'Uppena' is a rooted story. There is no fake emotion in the film. That's what we mean by 'Matti katha'.
My next film, too, will be produced by Mythri Movie Makers. The story is ready.