Tollywood is all set to be swept by a new wave of filmmaking, as Needi Naadi Oke Katha, directed by Venu Udugula, has garnered the interest of critics following the Telugu industry much before its release in theatres.
The film is said to be the first in Tollywood to implement the Dogme 95 manifesto and stars Sree Vishnu of Appatlo Okadundevadu fame and Satna Titus, along with a bunch of new artists. It is being produced by Nara Rohith.
Tollywoodâ€™s production cost for each movie has been on the rise, with filmmakers investing heavily in lights, modern cameras, epic settings and graphics. However, the content of these films still remains questionable, barring a few.
Trying to break away from such norms, is Venu Udugula, who has spent more than a decade in the industry in various roles, before making his debut as director.
What is the Dogme 95 manifesto?
The Dogme 95 manifesto, a revolutionary movement in filmmaking, began in 1995 in Denmark, with two veteran Danish film enthusiasts, Lors Von Triers and Thomas Vinterberg.
Triers's debut film Element of Crime and later, Epidemic , bagged him many awards, while Vinterberg, who is an alumnus of the National Film School of Denmark, shot to fame with short films and documentaries.
As part of the manifesto, the duo came up with 10 principles for a new wave of filmmaking, which prescribed doing away with the usage of cranes or machinery for shooting; it recommended the usage of natural settings, completely avoiding artificial elements like sets, colour filters and visual effects.
Soon, Feston by Vinterberg, The Idiots by Triers, and Mifune by Kragh Jacobsen which were shot adhering to the principles of the Dogme 95 manifesto, gained appreciation from critics.
Now, Venu Udugula, under the banner of the Nara Rohith-owned ARAN Media Works, wants to pave a new path in the Telugu industry by introducing the format here.
Malayalam director Vinod Bharathan was the first filmmaker to do it in India, with Karma Cartel in 2015.
On Needi Naadi Oke Katha
The journey thus far was no cakewalk for Udugula.
"It took me more than 12 years to become a director. I started by making advertisements, before becoming an associate director and script writer, while simultaneously working on several documentaries," he told TNM.
Speaking about how he was drawn to the Dogme 95 format, he said, "While working as an assistant director, I got to know about the different waves of filmmaking. I came across the manifesto, when I was thinking about making a movie with natural settings, on a low budget."
Having produced films like Banam, Prathinidi, Asura, and Appatlo Okadundevadu, Nara Rohith is already known for his interesting taste in selecting projects.
"He (Nara Rohith) is a very enthusiastic person. As soon as I approached him with a script and theme, he encouraged me to take it up. Our team went through a lot of hardship to give shape to our thoughts, and eventually, to the film," says Venu.
"We also have a highly content oriented story, as our metaphorical posters might suggest," he added.
One of the recent promotion posters of the film, portrays the protagonist as someone who is exhausted with existing formalities and stereotypes and struggles to find himself.