Pindam is a Telugu multi-genre horror film that is hitting the screens worldwide on December 15. Directed by debutante Sai Kiran Daida, the film is produced by Yeshwanth Daggumati under the banner Kalaahi Media. The film stars actor Sriram in the lead, while Easwari Rao, Ravi Varma, Srinivas Avasarala, Sriram and Kushee Ravi play key roles. In an interaction with media persons on Saturday, director Sai Kiran shared insights about his first debut movie 'Pindam'. Below are the excerpts from the conversation.
Q)Can you please give us a brief introduction about yourself?
From a very young age I started writing stories. I used to write a blog during my college. With the encouragement of my friends, I wrote short stories for short films. Then I ventured into writing scripts for feature films. I have an IT business in the USA. When I met producer-writer Kona Venkat in Dallas a few years ago, I narrated the script called 'Dallas Lo Desi Dongalu'. It is a crime comedy. We selected Siddu Jonnalagadda as the protagonist. When everything was planned and we're about to go on to the sets, the lockdown struck us. And the project got shelved. So after two years, I have come again with the horror script 'Pindam' with a different star cast.
Q) You called Pindam as the scariest movie ever. What made you choose the title Pindam to this story?
Very long time back, my grandmother narrated to me a spine-chilling story that happened sometime back in Nalgonda district. It got deeply stuck in my brain. It was the most gruesome and horrifying incident ever. When I thought I should tell a story on the screen taking this incident as an example, I started adding more fictional elements. That is how Pindam came into the picture.
Q) What is Pindam all about?
Pindam has two definitions in a broader sense. It is the foetus that grows in the womb of a woman. Pindam is a Hindu ritual, offered when a soul gets separated from the body of a person. Of course, the story doesn't take place in Nalgonda contrary to what I said earlier. This time we chose a place called Shankarampet in Medak district. Pindam has the scare element which makes the audiences come to theatres. I know as a newcomer I have the responsibility of giving entertainment to audiences. The strength of Pindam is its writing. How compelling the story is matters. Despite having no bigger star cast, Pindam banks completely on its screenplay. My primary focus was on the scare element in the film. I am confident that it got articulated very well in the end.
Tell us about the lead cast in the film.
When we were given casting options, I felt actor Sriram was the right choice for the role of protagonist in the movie. Unlike other actors in the industry, Sriram has a vintage look. There is no actor who could suit the 90s backdrop as much as Sriram does. He is also a good performer.
Teaser and trailer -- With the massive response we got from the teaser and trailer, a major part of the film's business in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana was closed within a few days after the trailer got released.
As a debutante, what are the most challenging aspects that you have faced on the sets of Pindam?
Nothing challenging as such, since we thoroughly prepared during the pre-production stage. It took three months for pre-production, similar to the time that a big-budget film would take. And another two and a half months for casting. Shooting took place very smoothly. We had to face troubles while shooting the climax. Accidents took place on the sets. Eshwari garu got hurt during the shoot. But then everything went on smoothly.
How different is Pindam compared to the horror films in Telugu?
It is going to be completely whacky. The film doesn't deliberately scare you. Pindam has an organic flow. It is a very intense story. The factor of fear can be built when people get connected to the characters in the film, I feel.
Does the film have any message?
I feel, message is not something that is forcibly preached to the people through films. A story should make you think involuntarily. I am sure Pindam will have that impact on the audiences when it gets released in theatres.
What is the reason to give the word as the film's title?
Actually, when I wrote the story, Pindam was the word that struck me. And I felt it would be the apt title for the film. When I wrote the script, my internal team itself was against the title Pindam. When the story is about a specific genre, it should have the right title to convey the message. The crux of the story is Pindam. I strongly believe that the title of the story reflects its true identity. Title should not be given randomly nor it should be given with the motive to derive fame.
What research have you done to make this film?
We have done extensive research before actually writing the script. Books, articles -- because I wanted to go deeper into the subject. How to present it with a fresh perspective? - is what I wanted to make. In fact, the story has a very intense climax. I even incorporated Jewish and Hebrew spells into the story to give an authentic touch to it.
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