Exclusive interview: ‘Ugram’ is the story of a good cop, says director Vijay Kanakamedala

After super hit 'Naandhi', the filmmaker is teaming up with actor Allari Naresh for the second time in 'Ugram' which is releasing on 5 May.

ByY Sunita

Published Apr 16, 2023 | 10:00 AMUpdatedAug 18, 2023 | 3:15 PM

Exclusive interview: ‘Ugram’ is the story of a good cop, says director Vijay Kanakamedala

Director Vijay Kanakamedala is teaming up with actor Allari Naresh for the third time but not immediately. The winning combination is coming with Ugram (Ferocious) on 5 May. This is Vijay Kankamedala’s second project.

Their first film, Naandhi (Beginning) came out just a couple of months before the Covid-19 second wave hit the country.

On his directorial debut Naandhi

The director recalls the making of his debut Naandhi: “Despite the pandemic, the film worked well in theatres, OTT platforms and also on television. When Naandhi’s story was getting ready, I approached Naresh. Everyone likes him, be it the multiplex audiences or the audience from the single-screen theatres.”

Vijay says Allari Naresh was his only choice as he was confident that the actor was apt for the role from the beginning.

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Director Vijay Kanakamedala (right) with actor Allari Naresh (left). (Supplied)

“I researched a lot and met many lawyers, ex-CBI director JD Lakshminarayana, etc. The script of Naandhi was developed during the research. We planned to shoot the film in January and release it in May,” he said.

After shooting the first schedule, a lockdown was announced. But Vijay Kanakamedala felt no anxiety, whatsoever, and he was confident of the film’s outcome.

Naandhi not only fetched us critical acclaim but also performed well at the box office.”

On how Ugram came into being

Why did he think of Allari Naresh again for his second project Ugram?

Vijay came up with Ugram’s concept during the lockdown. He narrated the story to the actor and they were mentally prepared to go for a shoot immediately. Since Naandhi wasn’t out yet, the filmmaker was hunting for a producer.

Ugram’s budget was three times more than that of Naandhi. Naresh said if there is a delay in finding a producer, they could make a film on his home banner EVV Cinema,” the director recollected.

Meanwhile, Naandhi released in theatres. They attended a press meet and a party to celebrate the success. “That’s when Allari Naresh reminded me that I would be working with him again.”

Allari Naresh’s role in Ugram

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Vijay Kanakamedala on the sets of ‘Ugram’. (Supplied)

While Naandhi deals with an undertrial prisoner who is abused in judicial custody and what he does to prove his innocence, Ugram is this time about a role reversal.

Allari Naresh is not a victim here but he plays a cop. Is he a bad cop?

“No. While the previous story was about bad cops, there are stories where cops are good, too. Ugram is an action thriller. You’ll be surprised to see Naresh in this high-octane story,” Vijay Kanakamedala explained.

He recalled that there were days when he waited to meet director EVV Satyanarayana (Naresh’s father) for an opportunity to work as an assistant director. “Now I feel gratified that we burst crackers and celebrated Naandhi’s success at the same office I had waited at.”

Allari Naresh’s character has a wife and a daughter; his work is stressful and there is a backstory to him.

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Vijay Kanakamedala on the sets of ‘Ugram’. (Supplied)

Actor Mirnaa Menon plays his wife. Most of the film has been shot in Hyderabad at the night due to which the budgets rose. There are plenty of villains in the story.

Vijay Kanakamedala’s friend Venkat wrote the story of Ugram. Sri Charan Pakala scored the music. Chota K Prasad is the editor. Siddharth J is the cinematographer.

The filmmaker mentions child actor Ooha Reddy. She has an inherent grasping power and knows when to emote and how much to emote. She earlier did small roles in films.

“But, in Ugram, Ooha Reddy has a lengthy character. She is full of beans. In case she decides to be a heroine in future, she will be another Savitri or Soundarya. She is extremely talented, spontaneous and smart,” he signed off.