Home / Interviews / Interview: Director Pradeep Madugula talks about his debut film ‘Billa-Ranga’
pradeep advaitham

Interview: Director Pradeep Madugula talks about his debut film ‘Billa-Ranga’

Pradeep Madugula is busy with his debut Billa-Ranga‘s release, audio of which is being released today at Taj Deccan, Hyderabad. Pradeep once again collaborated with Santosh Narayanan, who was an assistant to AR Rahman, for music to Billa-Ranga after their stint with ‘Advaitham’. The film stars Alias Janaki fame Rahul Venkat and another newcomer Pradeep Ryan and promises to be a roller-coaster ride of laughter and satire set in a small town. Artists and crew associated with the movie say the movie could be ground-breaking in Telugu films for at least one reason, which can’t be disclosed before the release, as it would be a spoiler!

BILLA RANGA2Pradeep won the National Film Award for Best (Educational/Motivational/Instructional) Film in 2010 for his amazing 20 minute film ‘Advaitham’, which Telangana Talkies has shared earlier. From a humble beginning in Warangal, where he studied in the St. Gabriel’s High School and did his LLB in Kakatiya University, Pradeep is driven by passion for movies. Advaitham shows that with a touching story treatment to a relationship of friendship between two men, from 2 communities distanced by caste hierarchy, in a village. Abetted by soothing music and stunning visuals, the short film transports us into an island of humanity, unadulterated by man-made divisions and would be hard to shake off when it ends. Pradeep lost his father, who wrote that story, at 14. Perhaps Advaitham was Pradeep’s way of paying tribute to his father. Cinematographer Shamdat said in an interview, when that film released, that the entire technical crew worked for free, seeing the sincerity of the director and the potential in the movie and that Advaitham could be completed in just under Rs.6 lakhs! This is all the more reason to believe Billa-Ranga would be a honest film and that Pradeep is on the cusp of an eventful career. Telangana Talkies interviewed Pradeep to discuss his journey so far.

Share with us your journey in filmmaking – how you have started and what all did you work on.
I am a Law Graduate. I worked in the animation industry for 6 years where I worked for companies like Walt Disney, EA Sports etc. and this experience helped me as a gateway to join teams of Mr. Chandrashekar Yeleti and Mr. Deva Katta. Autonagar Surya was my last film as an associate.

How did you end up with BILLA RANGA project? What are your future projects?
I planned to make my own picture within a minimum budget. I happened to meet one of my producers and narrated the script of Billa Ranga when Autonagar Surya shoot was going on. He immediately accepted but as the production team was completely new to industry, it took them more time to understand the functioning of industry and to start the movie. I finished the movie within the prescribed budget limits and on time. We are planning to release it this December. We are doing the audio release today.

My next project is a Romantic Comedy – Maine Pyar Kiya, set in the IT backdrop. Shooting is starting on Nov 25th. I would like to thank my new producer’s trust on me for starting a project with me even before the release of my first movie.

How and when were you inspired to get into movies?
From my very childhood days, watching the big screens I got attracted to the way cinema could entertain and reach large number of people. I started thinking seriously about movies in my 10th class. I studied in a gurukulam, where we used to collect all the pictures of our favorite heroes. We used to compete among ourselves to collect more and there I started observing the difference between the posters, knowing about the names of movies, actors, directors etc. RGV was a sensation, so his posters were very different from others’. To know more, I started watching his movies and others with a new perspective. Later I came to know about Mani Ratnam and his movies through my father, after watching them I started understanding direction as a craft in my own way.

What motivated you for the story of short-film ‘Advaitham’?
It’s my father Late Madugula Malla Reddy’s short story.

Whose works in movies inspires you?
In my early days it was Maniratnam’s works, now it’s no single person. Any director who gives a good movie or concept has something or the other to inspire me.

What do you think are the major challenges Telugu film industry is facing now? 
Lack of efficient writers is the biggest challenge.

What is your working experience with Deva Katta for ‘Autonagar Surya (ANS)?
Deva is friend of mine since Prasthanam, when he asked me to work in Direction dept. for Auto Nagar Surya.I immediately jumped into it. He is so passionate about making movies. He is a good filmmaker but I adore him more as a writer. I learnt many script writing techniques from him.

Are there any specific subjects, themes that attract you to base your stories on?
There is no specificity. I believe in variation, subjects and themes of my movies vary with varied requirements. I am a sci-fi guy. I worked in animation and gaming industry for 8 yrs and have a very good knowledge of animation film-making. I want to make a totally unique sci-fi animation film some day.

Whether you watch western movies and what you like about them. Some favorite filmmakers and films
My all-time favorite is Roberto Benigni’s Life is beautiful. The first film maker I have watched, like most other kids, was Charles Chaplin. He is my all-time favorite director. Next comes in the list – Spielberg, Giuseppe Tornatore, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, François Truffaut and the list goes on.

What according to you are basic things needed to be done by Telangana government to encourage Telangana film artists and technicians?
Be it Telangana Govt. or for that matter any other Govt, It should provide the right platform and environment supportive to small budget movies just like in Maharashtra where any any multiplex should make at least one show provision for Marathi (regional) films. When you safeguard small films with these kind of regulations, it encourages local talent and gives alternate meaningful cinema. Inspite of being one of biggies of the film industry, Telugu film industry does not even have any film school in Andhra Pradesh. The business of Telugu movies is like a ball-game of only a few. At least I hope Telangana Govt would take some initiatives to change this game and I also wish we have our own film school soon.

Telangana Talkies wishes Pradeep good luck with Billa Ranga and Maine Pyar Kiya and hope his work would inspire many aspiring youngsters.

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