When cinema grows, the audience grows along with it. Though it is very easy for audience to grow/develop taste, it is extremely difficult for a filmmaker to grow on par with the audience. So, obviously, unlike other fields, it is quite difficult to prove yourself as an intelligent creator. Now, what can prove a filmmaker as an intelligent guy? I guess, surpassing audience intellect without them even realizing, can brand a filmmaker as a genius. Chandra Sekhar Yeleti has done that long back and I’ll tell you why.
Anukokunda Oka Roju is basically a Drama-Thriller based in a busy city. Now, for any movie, it is very important to set up the mood and tone of the film as soon as possible. It’s importance is even more in a thriller. After all that is what takes audience into the film.
Take a look at AOR’s opening shot. It looks so simple, but it is not really that simple. It opens up in traffic. Camera runs backwards.
Don’t you think that it is a strange camera movement to take you into the movie? If that is not enough, let me segregate the mastery.
**In the opening scene of Sahasra, she is told that, the music director is calling her into his room but only after 10 minutes. So, within that time, she gets all excited and calls up her mom and explains what positive could happen. But when she enters the room, she’s rejected in a very simple manner. Don’t you think that is a metaphor to the entire story? Because, after all, the biggest mystery in her life is striked out by a very simple act called sleeping.**
Color Sense : So, in AOR, there are basically three prime characters. Jagapathi Babu, Charmee and Shashank. Take a look at these pictures first. These are the introduction frames of these characters. What do you notice? Yes, all of them are in Red. But of different intensities.
It subconsciously plants an idea into the audience that, all of them are equally powerful in their own fields. Take a look at this now. A closing frame of all the three characters. Now, colors are different for all of them. But, if you follow the color palette of cinema, all these three colors are from the same side of the wheel. It subconsciously relieves the audience that all the mystery is solved. Colors play such important role in etching a thriller.
Traffic : If you notice, almost every scene and every transition shot in AOR is pictured in traffic. Why? What does that signify? It is so simple. Traffic is chaos. If you’re searching for an answer in chaos, it becomes almost impossible to crack it. So, Chandra Sekhar Yeleti, intelligently put every audience into the traffic through out the film. Now, we’re stuck in traffic and Mr. Yeleti drives this beautifully designed vehicle. So, you believe that, Yeleti’s characters are finding a way to take you out of the mess. Such is the set up.
Sound Design : As the movie is deeply associated with chaos, every sound you listen in the movie has that messy touch. When Suresh Reddy reveals that Sahasra has missed out on a day in her life, impact was created by a lorry horn. Not by rich orchestra. Even when Sahasra is surrounded by a large group of men, it is that same noise which makes Suresh Reddy’s entrance grand. Such is the design.
**When Sahasra is chased by a group of people for the second time, why do you think she enters a musical intruments store? Think about it.**
Detailing in writing all the characters : Unlike any other genre, thrillers will have less time to establish a character. So, it is very important to get the characters of a thriller very close to the audience as soon as possible. A brilliant trick that Mr. Yeleti has used here is, getting the audience used to the properties used by those characters. It is Real drink for Suresh Reddy, Ambassador taxi for Rajesh and Stage Drama setup for Abbulu. So, from next time on, when audience see a Real fruit juice or a Ambassador, we unknowingly anticipate either of those two characters to appear. That anticipation is what makes this film a thrilling gem. Such is the detailing.
Editing : For a thriller to be exciting, every shot should have that sharpness. I think, any experienced editor could do that. But, what makes this editing Trio (Mohan, Rama Rao and Chandra Shekar G.V.) different here is a pinch of creative cutting. Take a look at this shot. Sahasra walks into the darkness and the very next frame is a hand rose into the brightness.
That signifies a serious change in the mood of the film. To support that further, as soon as she wakes up, she finds a cap without pen which indicates the audience that something went missing woohoo!
In fact, that is where the movie starts to get serious. So, in a way, edit has brought in that seriousness into the film just by a single cut. There are so many such brilliant cuts through out the film. We can actually watch AOR once again just for this craft. Such is the intensity of Edit.
I can actually talk about each and every craft in detail. But, if I get deeper, it all gets technical. But, I have to tell you about why AOR is a book for all the young filmmakers who wants to make a damn good thriller. It is a book because of its simple way of narrating a story. Like many thrillers, AOR does not go about investigation to unwrap the story. Infact, investigation does not add the thrilling flavour to a thriller. It is that drama that takes or leads the story to investigation is what makes a thriller exciting. Investigation is just a portion of the cake. It is that simple. And that simpleness of AOR reserved a place for itself on a top layer in the library of telugu cinema.
All in all, Anukokunda Oka Roju is a rare kind of cinematic experience Mr. Yeleti has given us back in 2005 when the audience were not ready for a game changing story-telling. Because, honestly, name another thriller which can get you equally excited even if that is your nth watch?
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