Exclusive: I wanted ‘Pareshan’ to be original and authentic, says director Rupak Ronaldson

Hailing from a Christian background, the filmmaker surprised everyone with the way he portrayed pastors in the Thiruveer-starrer.

ByY Sunita

Published Jun 05, 2023 | 6:41 PM Updated Aug 10, 2023 | 2:56 PM

Director Rupak Ronaldson

Director Rupak Ronaldson has been in the news since 2 June, thanks to his latest outing Pareshan. The Thiruveer-starrer is running to packed houses in the Telugu-speaking states.

The movie faced the same problem as any small-budget film would initially face — publicity. But despite this, the weekend shows were full and more cinema halls are screening the flick now.

Further, the film evoked a positive response from critics and the crowds in theatres are enjoying it to the hilt.

In a tête-à-tête with South First, the young filmmaker reveals his take on religion and rural life, why he used his personal experiences to tell the story and what went into the making of Pareshan.

Portrayal of pastors

working still from pareshan

A working still from ‘Pareshan’. (Supplied)

A native of Ramakrishnapur in Telangana’s Mancherial (previously Adilabad district), Rupak Ronaldson hails from a Christian background. However, he took everyone by surprise with the way he portrayed pastors in rural areas.

He says he has been honest in the presentation. He also asserts that he respects everyone’s sentiments though he is not religious.

“That was what I observed in my native place and I resolved to narrate the same — a part of my story. My father, too, acted in the film; he was in the opening scene. I showed him how to fix a drink in a montage song,” Rupak quipped.

Despite being religious, the filmmaker’s family did enjoy Pareshan. “They encourage art and don’t mix it up with religion. I have seen a lot of pastors doing video songs and translations. So, I thought it would make for good entertainment,” Rupak Ronaldson added.

Related: ‘Pareshan’ is a madcap village story with the right dose of humour

On religion

Director Rupak Ronaldson monitoring the shot

Director Rupak Ronaldson monitoring a shot on the sets of ‘Pareshan’. (Supplied)

His elder brother is a pastor and his younger brother is a faculty in the Theosophical Society.

When Rupak wanted to join a film school, his father forced him to visit a pastor and listen to “what is good and what is bad”.

“Parents teach us religion. In Pareshan, Thiruveer’s father forcibly takes him to the church. Since it happened to me, too, I thought using personal experience would be the best way to narrate the story,” Rupak Ronaldson said.

Back then when he was taken to the church, Rupak recalled, he had many questions in his mind — like why were we made to sit in the church for three hours, made to read the same pages repeatedly.

“I even asked them if they would teach Mathematics or English in the church so students could excel in academics,” he guffawed.

Early career

After Intermediate, Rupak Ronaldson studied films hoping to understand the history. But he didn’t learn much about the craft.

“It was a five-year journey. I was simultaneously helping people in the industry and was being exploited. I was so frustrated that I decided to make an original film,” the director recollected.

Related: My dream to play a lead role came true in ‘Pareshan’, says Thiruveer

Initial hiccups

On the sets of Telugu movie Pareshan

On the sets of ‘Pareshan’ Telugu movie. (Supplied)

Rupak Ronaldson admitted that he did face difficulty while pitching for Parehsan.

As there were hardly any Telangana films at that time, he shot a few scenes as a test shoot in a village (the goat scene in the intro).

“When I showed the trial shoot to the producers, they approved the movie in a single meeting. My pre-production was strong. I auditioned the local actors, and the post-production took me two years,” the director revealed.

Interestingly, Rupak did not narrate the story to the actors. But they all expressed their willingness to be part of the project by giving an audition. Since he doesn’t like forced comedy, he included real-life incidents and scenes in the movie.

“Villagers, by nature, are not complicated. They are simple, innocent and have no agendas. The flaws arise from situations. No one has any problem with anyone actually. It is a simple life I lead and this is how see the world,” he said.

Shoot during the pandemic

Thiruveer is the lead actor in Pareshan

Thiruveer is the lead actor in ‘Pareshan’. (Supplied)

Since it was pandemic time and there was no public transport, Rupak Ronaldson had to lock the artists in a couple of apartments and work.

There was a question mark on human existence. “I told the artists that we might die. If so, why sit at home and do nothing? Let’s do a film. As they too were bored, they all jumped at my idea. As the cops were friendly, we got necessary permits for shooting easily,” he recalled.

Yashwanth Nag, who came up with a music band called “ChowRaasta” in Hyderabad, scored the music for Pareshan.

Rupak approached Yashwanth as he follows ChowRaasta’s work on Instagram. The music composer got the instruments from the band and also roped in original band members from Kurnool. This is precisely why the song “Velugu” is so much fun to watch.

And guess what? The song is written and sung by Rupak Ronaldson!