HEADLINES:
September 18 2018
Meet Sashi Kiran Tikka, the director of ‘Goodachari’
07 August 2018

Sashi Kiran Tikka discusses his journey from New York Film Academy to directing the cutting-edge ‘Goodachari’

Watching Sashi Kiran Tikka’s directorial debut Goodachari, which has surprises at every turn, especially in its second half where it’s tough to take your eyes off the screen for fear of missing out pivotal clues, it becomes imperative to ask him if every actor involved knew the entire puzzle and how it gets solved. Was there any fear of critical details inadvertently being leaked? The director laughs heartily and says, “We (co-writers Adivi Sesh, Sashi Kiran and Abburi Ravi) disclosed everything so that each actor is super clear about their character.”

Amid congratulatory calls, the director steals time for an interview to discuss his journey from New York Film Academy (NYFA) to directing his first film in Telugu. He and Sesh have known each other for a few years now and hit off well with a shared interest in writing. “Sesh’s writing is plot-driven while mine is character-driven. The synergy helped,” he says.

Character stories

Brainstorming went into detailing each character with their respective back-stories, irrespective of whether those portions make it to the film. For instance, who is Nadiya Qureshi? (essayed with aplomb by Supriya Yarlagadda) What makes her a tough boss and what’s her family background? When did she learn krav maga? All these are detailed during character development.

This detailing will also come in handy when the team decides to take the series further, as hinted by the open ending. “We always thought of Goodachari as a series. We don’t know when the next film will materialise. Sesh is busy with acting assignments and I need to have the right plot to take it forward. Everything has to come together well,” says Sashi Kiran. In this film, he’s glad things came together. “We spent ample time choosing the actors and didn’t compromise. The same went for locations,” he avers.

 

Sashi Kiran Tikka

Sashi Kiran Tikka  

Sashi Kiran graduated from NYFA in 2008 and assisted Sekhar Kammula for Leader. In 2010, he ventured out on his own. He got acquainted with Adivi Sesh when the latter was releasing his first film, Karma (2011). The duo wanted to work together for a while but the process took time. “Towards the end of 2015, I got an opportunity to direct a pilot episode for a web series in the US and had booked my tickets. When I conveyed this on phone to Sesh, who was in the US that time, he discouraged me from doing it. Had he met me face-to-face, he would have torn my tickets. He was sure I can direct a feature film here,” he recalls.

Then Kshanam happened and Adivi Sesh had made the audience and the industry take a fresh look at him. The time was right for Sesh and Sashi Kiran to collaborate. After considering a couple of other stories, they zeroed in on the story Sesh had written as a teen, titled Goodachari. “But it had to be updated. That was an early draft and resonated with Bond films of the Sean Connery era. We spent eight to nine months in writing the story and screenplay. One of our friends Rahul helped us and so did Abburi Ravi; the key line about Sesh’s character discovering what he thought is his strength is actually his weakness stemmed from Ravi.”

A lot of reading also helped the core team understand the functioning of intelligence bureaus. “People who work in these bureaus lead highly stressful lives and are prone to smoking or a few drinks. I had to show that subtly through Anish Kuruvilla’s part,” says Sashi Kiran. “Their terminology is different; they observe everything even when it looks like they aren’t paying attention. All this went into the story.”

Vennela Kishore, says Sashi Kiran, was a sounding board for ideas: “Everyone knows him as a comedian, but there’s a good filmmaker in him.”

Ode to spy films

The Tailorman store as a front for the secret service might remind us of Kingsman but this, says the director, wasn’t intentional. “At the time of writing, it was a Raymond showroom and later Tailorman was established. We realised that people might think of Kingsman, but went with it because it was a cool idea. We didn’t reference any international work, however, there are odes to iconic spy thrillers,” he says. Alongside paying homage to international spy films, Goodachari also doffs its hat to actor Krishna’s Goodachari 116 and AgentGopi.

Sashi Kiran credits his technical team for helping him deliver a sleek product within a limited budget. He calls composer Sricharan Pakala “a goldmine” for delivering an impeccable background score and hails cinematographer Shaneil Deo and editor Garry BH for their prowess. “We lost count of the hours spent at the editing table,” he laughs.

The tricky part of the story was the father-son bond. (Without giving away spoilers) the director sums up, “We trod carefully and went over it several times to see that we got the emotions right.”

 

 

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