'Addham': How the Telugu web series on moral dilemmas was made

Directors Siva, Barath Neelakantan, Sarjun KM and editor Sreekar Prasad speak on the making of the anthology.
Addham poster
Addham poster
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Addham, an anthology series in Telugu, is premiering on Aha, an Over The Top (OTT) platform, on October 16. Ahead of its release, TNM caught up with the team of the directors who have made the different segments of the film and the editor who put together the series.

Addham has three episodes of 20 minute each, with the common theme of ‘Morality is a changing goalpost’. According to the makers, each of these episodes makes one wonder what is right and what is wrong and it brings alive a variety of situations which take the characters on a journey of self reflection. Addham has Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, G Kishore Kumar, Arjun Chidambaram, Prasanna  Dr Pavithrah Marimuthu, Abirami Venkatachalam, Rohini Moletti and Praveen in significant roles in different episodes. The series was shot completely during the lockdown in less than a week, by following COVID-19 norms.

Though the three tales revolve around the common theme of morality, each episode has its own perspective too. The entire script for the series was authored by Siva Ananth, who regularly collaborates with ace director Mani Ratnam in his projects. Siva is known for Tamil movies such as Vaanam Kottatum, Soorma, Chekka Chivantha Vaanam among others.

Speaking to TNM, Siva says, "My episode, The Unwhisperable Secret, deals with the theme of forgiving and moving on. This story is about a mental health counsellor, who has to come to terms with her past."

Siva has directed a Telugu project nearly 15 years after Chukkallo Chandrudu, starring Siddharth, which came out in 2006. Asked about the gap, Siva says, " It was just the turn of events. After that film, I was caught up mostly with production work and was then into writing. So it just got postponed."

Another segment titled Road That Never Ends, has been directed by Sarjun KM, who is known for movies such as Airaa, Echcharikkai and short films like Maa among others. The segment deals with the theme of what is wrong and what is right, as per the director. The story is about a lorry driver who gets caught up in an accident. 

Commenting on the casting, Sarjun says, “We have senior actor Prakash in the role of a lorry driver, who is usually seen in ‘elite’ roles. But we wanted to break the stereotype and have cast him for this role and he did brilliantly. Rohini is seen as his wife, she was also amazing. Meanwhile we also have a boy, Praveen, though he was there in small movies previously, in this project he shone as an actor.”

One may soon see director Sarjun with his next Telugu project, as he is in talks with Geeta Arts for a film which might be confirmed by the beginning of next year. 

Meanwhile, the third segment is Crossroads, which deals with the theme of justifying oneself. It has been directed by Barath Neelakantan. Barath made his debut with the Tamil film K-13. The director says that this part of the series is kind of set in a suburban setting.

“The episode is going to be a one night mystery. This is about a man in his late 30s who walks into a pub after something happened in his life. We don't touch upon his profession or anything about the characters. It's just that situation and what happens that night.”

Talking about shooting during the lockdown, the director says, “It was almost like a surgical strike, shooting in the lockdown with all the rules and restrictions in place. We had to prepare everything in advance, no waste of time, the scene would be ready, the actors would come, shoot their part and go.”

Sreekar Prasad, renowned film editor, has worked on the anthology. Sreekar is currently working on SS Rajamouli’s RRR and Virata Parvam along with other Tamil projects.

Speaking about Addham, Sreekar says that he chose the project on his own. “Siva and I are closely associated with each other. He keeps sending scripts for my opinion. Likewise, he gave me this script and I liked it very much. When he asked to assign him some video editor, I told him that I'll do the editing part myself.”

Sreekar says that unlike any other short film or web series, the theme of this project, which is morality, grabbed his attention. He added that the project breaks the monotony of the shows in Telugu. “Usually it's about either love or crime, but Addham has more to it, I felt like I saw a different product. The character portrayals were also very sensible,” says Sreekar.

Watch Addham trailer here:

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