At the movies

How RGV discovered his Naidu and why he wants to tell Sasikala’s story

From a small restaurant in Nasik in Maharashtra where he worked as a waiter to playing `Chandrababu Naidu’ on the big screen, Dhananjay Prabhune has come a long way. Discovered by Ram Gopal Varma through Twitter, Prabhune who is much shorter than the real Naidu, got to play a role resembling the former Andhra Pradesh chief minister in `Kamma Rajyam lo Kadapa Reddlu’. This political satire which is a take on real events post May 2019 and imagines what politics in Andhra Pradesh would be like in September 2020, releases on 29 November.

“After I put out the tweet video of him serving in a cafe, we located him through a journalist. We then put him through a training programme for about a month. He has done a very good job. In fact, on the sets of the film, many a time, I would feel that Naidu himself is sitting there,” says Ram Gopal Varma who has written the film. (see entire interview above)

Those who have played characters resembling Nara Lokesh, Pawan Kalyan and KA Paul are actors, some of them from Chennai. The only known faces are Ajmal Ameer who plays Jaganmohan Reddy and veteran comedian Brahmanandam who plays Naidu’s driver. Ameer had acted as CM in Tamil political thriller `Ko’ (dubbed in Telugu as `Rangam’).

Once the focus shifts from the Andhra political theatre, Varma plans to work on episodes in the life of two other prominent political personalities in south India. He plans to start work on a film on K Chandrasekhar Rao early next year. A film on VK Sasikala is also on the cards though Varma may want to time it along with the 2021 assembly elections in Tamil Nadu. 

“A politician told me about the day he first saw Sasikala. She was apparently standing in one corner of a room, waiting for Jayalalithaa, with a bag of video cassettes. Just imagine that visual and think how striking it will be,” says Varma, clearly excited about the story of the woman who almost became chief minister of Tamil Nadu.  

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