Debutant director Ramesh Samala is on a roll ever since his movie released. Ramesh worked as an assistant and an associate director for many years but turned writer for the Nithin – starrer Ishq. Writing was never on his mind but when director Trivikram Srinivas said he should seriously pursue writing, he did. With Ishq becoming a hit, producer M.S. Raju gave him an opportunity to direct and Columbus happened.
Apart from directing Columbus, he has also written the dialogues for the film. After his Masters in Theatre from the Central University of Hyderabad (gold medal), he wrote poetry and many dramas which supported him while he was struggling to find his ground in the film industry. He visited Annapurna College recently for a Guest Session and interacted with the students and shared his thoughts on the film industry.
Here are the excerpts of the Q & A that followed:
If you have to balance art with commerce, if we are translating a big film script (like The Godfather) onto the screen, do you think it is possible for a first-timer?
It is very much possible. It all depends on the passion that you have for direction, how much of enthusiasm and zeal you have for telling your story. Is it just an ambition, an infatuation or a fascination? Only you will know in your heart.
For a standard to be set in the Telugu film industry, it took a Bahubali to come forth. 15 years after Rajamouli entered the industry he could make Bahubali. If he had directed Bahubali instead of Student No. 1, would he have been given the big budget money?
No he wouldn’t have been given that much of a budget. It all comes down to credibility. Nobody would risk so much money on a newcomer.
How was your journey in gaining a foothold and getting an assistant director job in the industry?
After my masters I went to a lot of people for many months and then finally I got a chance. Nuvvu Naku Naccahvu was my first film as an apprentice. Then Ishtam was my first film as an assistant director, later on I worked on Manmadhudu and Malleshwari.
Before getting your next film; after been an assistant director, was there a state of uncertainty or confusion as to what will happen next?
I faced a lot of struggles. In fact, there is a struggle for every film, even as an assistant director and even for a director. You have to decide for yourself – What is your driving force? Is it your love for cinema? Is it fame? Is it glamour? If you have the clarity then you will not be scared and unsure. I worked on 13 movies before my directorial debut but not one day was I unsure about what I was doing and I never felt that I was going to ‘work’.
It is your passion that drives you, everything else seems small. I have seen that only people with passion for cinema have become successful in the Telugu film industry. There are no directors who have not struggled; famous or otherwise, novice or veteran. For every film it is a struggle. Don’t feel that it is a struggle and that you are working. When you write a scene and you see it live on the screen, the satisfaction that you get out it – if that drives you then it does not matter even if you make a film at the age of 60. You should make that one film. Age is not a factor, money is not the factor.
Your love for cinema is the main factor and you will never regret it. Later on in your life if you feel bad that you did not follow your passion, then it is of no use, do it now. Tomorrow if I die, somebody will write about it. That is the greatness of any art form. If you want be an artist then you should not be scared.