September 24, 2010 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
"Umpteen times people have asked me if I'm gonna make gender specific or offbeat cinema but I repeat I don't want to be another Mira Nair, my sensibilities are totally commercial. The attitude towards women directors changed when Farah Khan made a success of a mainstream cinema and I'm sure I'll have my moment too," says Nandini Reddy, the bubbly, plain-speaking and super confident newest director in the Telugu film industry whose film 'Ala Modalaindi' is due for release next month.
Like any other fickle-minded person, Nandini Reddy flitted about her thoughts of pursuing a career from prawn culturing, advertising, Civils to medicine, engineering and after managing to confuse everyone at home she completed her Masters in International Politics before jumping as a clap assistant to Gunnam Gangaraju for 'Little Soldiers'. She giggles, "It is like eating dal and chilli chicken together but I guess I was destined to be here. My roommate recollects that I would wake up saying lights camera action!"
It wasn't a dream start for the ebullient young lady who was looking to make a film, people didn't take the English speaking woman too kindly and had their own apprehensions that she could be a rich kid wanting to spend some time on the sets or aspiring to do some soft movie for melodrama loving audience. Ramya Krishna recommended her to Krishna Vamsi and she worked for his films from Chandralekha to Khadgam and assimilated and absorbed every point of filmmaking like a sponge until he reminded her that she needs to move and make her own movie.
So how did she feel working with 115 men on the sets, was there any taunting and snide remarks? Nandini says that she was never conscious about being a woman and that she was too absent minded to worry about trivial stuff. There was a time when Krishna Vamsi pushed her too hard and she broke down, he even said that it wasn't the place for a woman to be but all that was to drive her to bring out the best. From Gunnam Gangaraju's perfection with a bound script to Krishna Vamsi's spontaneity and brilliance she had learn't it all.
When things weren't moving here, she went to Mumbai and narrated her script 'My Best Friend's Wedding' and finalized the project with Karisma Kapoor and Sonali Bendre when Manish Malhotra who was working as a designer to Yash Chopras informed Karisma that 'Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai' had an identical plot. Nandini had to drop the project. There were times when her morale was down and she joined World Space Radio as a RJ. Nandini avers, "When I was wanting to make a film I was in a dilemma, I asked Krishna Vamsi on what sort of story I need to write and he said write something that you would ideally like to see on screen and that's exactly what I did."
Nandini is very optimistic, she has ventured into a domain that has been essentially male dominated. Jeevitha and Vijaya Nirmala had the backing of the industry but this young lady from Erramanzil Colony doesn't have names to drop or boast about from anyone who's remotely connected to Telugu cinema. She says, "I've created an entertaining film, my kind of movie and am raring to make my next once this releases."
What about her single status, don't her people bug her about marriage? "They do ask and I say am getting married next week," she guffaws and signs off.