Awe is not your regular Telugu film, said debutant director Prashanth Varma. “In fact it steers away from everything you would expect from a Telugu commercial entertainer,” he said.
The trailers reveal Kajal Aggarwal, Regina Cassandra in tight braids and bold tattoos, and Nithya Menon, and you wonder “What are three heroines doing in this story?”
Varma does not reveal anything about their roles.
In the trailer there are the voices of actors Nani and Ravi Teja as a conversation is played out between a golden fish and a bonsai tree.
Awe is a cocktail of drama, romance, horror and fantasy and cannot be slotted into any particular genre, said the self-taught filmmaker, who considers Google his tutor and the school where he picked up the ropes of making films.
Varma first pitched the story of Awe to Kajal Aggarwal. She was impressed by its bold content and suggested that it be made in Hindi.
It was only after Nani came on board that Awe took off.
Nani wanted to work with Varma after watching his short film Dialogue in the Dark.
Varma said that Nani never interfered with his creativity and it was the freedom that helped him achieve what he envisioned.
“Many a times Nani and I found ourselves in sync with each other,” Varma said.
Making a regional film for a Hollywood palette posed challenges. Shooting with an ensemble cast was another hurdle to jump over.
“There is no lead character here. The content is the hero. Everyone has equal importance in the story,” said Varma.
“Every 10 minutes, an awe moment will surprise viewers. Awe is Pulp Fiction [referring to Quentin Tarantino’s film] from Tollywood. Here I have broken all rules of screenwriting,” he added.
The supporting cast includes Eesha Rebba, Srinivas Avasarala, Murali Sharma, Rohini and Devadarshini.
Varma, a topper in academics, found his moorings on a turf unrelated to his engineering course. It began with directing a music video for a friend during the second year of college. His first short film, Deenamma Jeevitham got 1 million views on You-Tube. Silent Melody and Dialogue in the Dark, his subsequent short films, went viral. Despite producers approaching him with offers, a feature film did not happen until Awe.
In the meantime, this cricket fan’s most unbelievable moment happened when he was asked to make Brian Lara’s docu-drama 400 Not Out - Brian Lara. Filming in West Indies in the company of the legend is something he treasures fondly.
Awe, produced by Nani and Prasanthi Tipirneni, releases in the UAE on February 16.