Srikanth Addala has impressed me with his perspective on socially-grey stories: Cinematographer Chota K Naidu

After 15 years, the duo have come together for 'Peddha Kapu 1' which is set against the backdrop of political rivalry and family feud.

ByPrakash Pecheti

Published Sep 14, 2023 | 4:36 PM Updated Sep 14, 2023 | 6:07 PM

Chota K Naidu

Do you remember Srikanth Addala’s on-screen magic in Kotha Bangaru Lokam (2008) starring two mushy-teenage faces — Swetha Basu and Varun Sandesh?

Nearly 15 years later, Addala and renowned cinematographer Chota K Naidu have come together to create another story; this time, with the backdrop of political rivalry and family feud.

Peddha Kapu 1, a Telugu-language political drama, is scheduled for release in theatres on 28 September. Starring Virat Karrna and Pragathi Srivastava in the lead roles, the film is directed by Srikanth Addala.

Close friends from past 15 years

Srikanth Addala

Srikanth Addala. (Srikanth Addala/ Facebook)

The success of Kotha Bangaru Lokam in 2008 catapulted Addala to overnight stardom and recognition.

Chota K Naidu, who happened to work with the director in the film as principal cinematographer, continued a close rapport with Addala since then. Both greet and meet often to discuss their work.

“We are close friends. Srikanth would discuss with me every story that he takes up. There have been many instances where we both agreed upon doing films together, but couldn’t manifest due to the clash of dates,” Chota K Naidu said.

He further added, “Like his soft-natured demeanour, his stories reflect the beauty of love, life and affection. Of course, Narappa (2021) is a remake. But Peddha Kapu is a strange contrast to the work that he has done so far.”

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A new storyteller

A poster of the film Peddha Kapu 1

A poster of the film ‘Peddha Kapu 1’. (X)

The senior cameraman found a relatively new visual storyteller in Srikanth Addala during the run-up and preparation for Peddha Kapu 1.

After understanding the concept, Naidu started noticing a change in Addala — the filmmaker.

“It’s shocking for me to see Addala helming a script with such a backdrop. Though he has been living with the script for several months, it was producer Ravinder Reddy who believed in the director’s vision. Thus, he could give whatever the film needed,” Chota K Naidu said.

Since Peddha Kapu 1 is a period drama, extensive research went into it before starting the principal photography.

“A girl hangs herself from a dead, dry tree in a village. That’s a crucial scene in the film. It was a challenging task to erect a dried tree in a field filled with a quagmire,” he explained.

“So no crane could get into the field. We had to engage men to put up a tree inside a wetland. The protagonist and his team would bring a tree from the forest to erect a flag post in the village. Shooting the sequence was a challenge. Working with action choreographer Peter Hein is another happy experience,” the cinematographer added.

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On hiring DoPs from other industries

When asked about the trend of roping in Directors of Photography (DoPs) from another industry, Chota K Naidu replied that he doesn’t want to find fault with anyone.

“The local cameramen can shoot way better than outsiders. We’ve good expert DoPs here in Tollywood. Hiring an outsider, I think it’s because of a lack of communication. A filmmaker usually searches for films that match his genre,” he noted.

He further added, “If the visuals of some OTT films match a director’s taste, he would immediately call the DoP and hire him. The process of selection through references is usually not advisable. If you search with the right focus, Tollywood has good cinematographers who could do a tremendous job.”

Chota K Naidu doesn’t see much difference in the modern-day, more technically-finesse equipment like lenses and cameras. “As long as moving images get correct in tune with the story, it has no problem.”

He hastened to add, “As long as the content is good, audiences will stick to their seats or else the whole thing goes for a toss. It doesn’t matter if it is 5D, Alexa or an iPhone.”

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