Sankalp Reddy on how The Ghazi Attack became larger than life


The Ghazi Attack which opens this Friday, is India’s first underwater adventure film. Curiously it is the director Sankalp Reddy’s first film. Laughing shyly, Sankalp protests, “I know it is hard to believe that anyone can start a career in filmmaking with something like this? But for me it was The Ghazi Attack and nothing else from the start. I researched for three years before plunging into the film. It is a chapter from the 1971 Indo-Pak war which people are not aware of. I wanted to make it as a pan-India film. It’s been made in three languages, Hindi, Telugu and Tamil.”

The Tamil version, confesses Sankalp, is only partially an independent film. “We’ve shot in Tamil only for the close-ups and mid-shots. In the long shots and aerial and stunt scenes we have dubbed the lines. But the Hindi and Tamil versions are shot independently. They are full-fledged features.”

Sankalp is hopeful that the film’s patriotic theme will strike a chord in every Indian. “Though we’ve shot in Andhra Pradesh, the film has a cast and crew from all over the country. The principal actors except Rana Daggubati are from North India. The technical team including the editor the distinguished Sreekar Prasad and the cinematographer Madhi are from Tamil Nadu. And a lot of the supporting actors are from theatre across India. So the film fulfils the patriotic need which the subject demanded.”

Sankalp is confident about The Ghazi Attack. “I am not nervous or anxious. The fact that Karan Johar came on board before the sound-mix and the editing was complete, is proof that my film’s message comes across. I’ve shown the film to friends and family. And they love it. Now all I need to see is how far audiences take to my film. I’ve no doubt there will be loud cheers and claps when audiences see our soldiers fighting the enemy in our first naval adventure film.”

Sankalp is glad that Rana Daggubati agreed to play the main lead. “I needed a hero who is convincing as an underwater soldier. Luckily for me I didn’t have to go to Rana. He came to the film. He heard about the script and wanted to be part of it. After Bahubali he could’ve done anything he wanted. He chose The Ghazi Attack for the same reason that I made it. Something like this has not been attempted in Indian cinema before.”

Speaking of Bahubali, Sankalp admits the film changed the direction of Telugu cinema. “Filmmakers in Andhra began to think big after Bahubali. Telugu cinema is no more a regional cinema. But I’ve to admit I started planning my film before Bahubali was released. Irrespective of Bahubali my film required a certain vision and budget. Luckily for me my producers had faith in The Ghazi Attack, although it moved far away from the conventional entertainers. For one, all the action unfolds underwater. Then there are no songs in the film. Nothing that can be considered even remotely formulistic. But The Ghazi Attack is a film subject that will move every Indian. That I am sure of.”

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