Rashomon Effect dominates my film ‘Changure Bangaru Raja’, says Satish Varma

His upcoming directorial debut — a crime comedy — revolves around the perception of three people present at a murder scene.

ByY Sunita

Published Jun 19, 2023 | 4:00 PM Updated Aug 10, 2023 | 2:28 PM

Director Satish Varma

Writer-assistant director Satish Varma has been in the Telugu film industry for a decade now. And he is all set to debut as a director with Changure Bangaru Raja.

When he began working as an assistant director initially, he was summoned for one project after another. In the process, he never got time to write and direct his film. Those days, opportunities to direct were fewer!

But when Satish Varma resolved to start his work, post-Narappa (2021), Covid-19 struck and he had to take a sabbatical for three years.

Earlier, producers used to prefer genres that were trending. But now, they prefer unique subjects as boundaries. Also, nativity factors have been erased.

In a freewheeling chat with South First, Satish Varma recalls that there was no objection when he embarked on a crime comedy.

Cinema as career

Satish Varma monitoring a shot

Satish Varma monitoring a shot. (Supplied)

So, what made him choose cinema as a career?

“I treated cinema as entertainment and noticed the crowd cheering while the film was being screened. I thought becoming a director and narrating a story was a cakewalk,” Satish Varma quips.

He studied law and then began pitching his stories. It took him two-three years to hunt for opportunities. “Those who know me pushed me aside but random people encouraged me,” he recollects.

Director Satish Varma on the sets of a film

Director Satish Varma on the sets of a film. (Supplied)

Asked if learning the grammar of cinema writing in the process was easy, Satish Varma asserts that compared to the others, his grasping power was far less. Hence, he took more time to learn.

“However, the directors with whom I worked were intelligent. I happened to internalise a lot of stuff and acquired a fair knowledge of the craft. I worked on Chal Mohan Ranga (2018), Rowdy Fellow (2014), Narappa, Savitri (2016), Prema Ishq Kadal (2014), etc as an intern.”

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‘Don’t over analyse’

Satish Varma behind the camera changure bangaru raja

Satish Varma behind the camera. (Supplied)

Born and raised in Simhadripuram in Andhra Pradesh’s Chodavaram area, the director says he gained a lot of confidence after getting involved in the process of filmmaking.

“Literature helps us in writing and it is mandatory for a story writer to have knowledge of literature. Either we write or the knowledge we already have help us in judging someone’s work,” he clarifies.

He also points out that the depth of literature helps us in judging cinema, or it won’t go to the next level. “A visual is created or imagination triggers when you start reading a script. We initially imagine how a character looks on screen and put the same in words. Literature helps us this way.”

Satish Varma changure bangaru raja

Satish Varma directing a scene. (Supplied)

The director opines that one can’t specify why a film tanks at the box office and a post-mortem is only of little help.

“In the beginning, I would analyse and do a post-mortem. But, in the process, I learnt that it is a waste of effort. In a theatre, you can’t predict which scene would go down well with the crowd and which won’t. It could be a silly scene but the crowd may react differently,” he explains.

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On Changure Bangaru Raja

Directing an action scene changure bangaru raja

A working still from ‘Changure Bangaru Raja’. (Supplied)

Satish Varma is always sure of narrating his story authentically. In his directorial debut — Changure Bangaru Raja, a murder takes place and the situation changes based on the perception of the three people present at the scene.

After the killing, each individual tells one’s story and the crux is how the three are interlinked. This is called the Rashomon Effect in physics.

What’s the story behind the title? Well, Changure means “ultimate” and “Bangaru Raja” is the name of the hero in the film. Goldie Nissy is debuting as a heroine.

Karthik Rathnam of C/o Kancharapalem (2018) fame plays the lead here. Karthik Kanteshwar, an assistant of Peter Hein, composed the fights in the flick.

Director on the sets

Director Satish Varma on the sets of ‘Changure Bangaru Raja’. (Supplied)

Renowned DoP Natti’s assistant Sundar is the cinematographer. Krishna Saurabh scored the music. Baba, who assisted Shekar Master in the past, is the choreographer.

Asked why the gemstone backdrop in Changure Bangaru Raja, Satish Varma elucidates: “A part of Narsipattanam has been termed as a restricted area as it is a place where gemstones are found. My village is close to this area. I know for sure that no filmmaker used this as a backdrop for their movie. We didn’t shoot in the area, but put up a set in Hyderabad.”

Changure Bangaru Raja is a joint collaboration of Frame By Frame and RT Team Works.

Senior actor Ravi Teja set up his own banner (RT Team Works) to launch and encourage young directors, especially local talent, with interesting stories.

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