Chittoor born Rajendra Reddy makes his debut soon with Amigos, a Kalyan Ram starrer. The director was a voracious reader which led him into the habit of writing. Right from the time he was in the seventh standard he was interested in cinema and by the time he reached the tenth standard he began writing a script. He went straight to Hyderabad with the script to meet the chairperson of Eenadu Ramoji Rao but the security officer took him to his son Suman. Rajendra recalls, “In the first place my script was amateurishly written; Those days I would watch serials on ETV and when the credits rolled, Ramoji Rao’s name made an indelible impression on my mind. I was driven to meet him hoping to be a writer. The confidence to write and be someone worthy came from reading books very early in life. My father would bring Chandamama and Balamitra home and I would also read Andhra Jyothi Swathi magazines regularly and graduated to reading novels by the time I was in the eighth standard. So in Hyderabad I didn’t even know that Suman was Ramoji Rao’s son and when he saw my script he obviously wasn’t inclined to take it. He said this isn’t the way it has to be written. I was disheartened and put the issue on the back burner and focussed on my academics.“
Rajendra did B.Tech from Chennai and there he would try and gather phone numbers of film personalities hoping to meet them some day but that too wasn’t successful. He was influenced by “Shiva” and resolved to become a writer in the cinema field. He did work in Bangalore for a year but quit that and came to Hyderabad. Here, he made a short film on suicides and it was noticed by Roshini, a suicide helpline. They were pleased that Rajendra had more research and content on the subject than them and then one thing led to the other. Through acquaintances in Roshini, his short film got immense publicity in newspapers and television channels and the film reached London. Rajendra shares, “It is a 35 minute short film on a medical student attempting suicide. The film helped me strike contacts in the film industry and it was just a stepping stone.”
From then the journey was smooth and brisk, he got to work in the writing department of Bommarillu Bhaskar, Chandrasekhar Yeleti and Surender Reddya nd a brief period with Deva Katta. Though he didn’t go to a film school, he did read a book on screenplay by Syd Field for aspiring writers and Robert Mckee’s story. “It helped me see cinema, understand and analyse it in a different perspective. By working with such directors I got the confidence of discussing any kind of script. I gathered info, learnt whatever was necessary to make or direct a first film during this period. Mythri Movie Makers must have heard hundreds of scripts, I feel lucky that they liked my story and said I was onboard instantly. I have been associated with these producers for at least five years now. They are wonderful people to work with and that is an understatement.”
The director and the producers are very happy with the output and since it is Rajendra’s debut film, a lot of detailing has gone into it. After listening to the script, the producers sent Rajendra to Kalyan Ram and the actor got excited hearing the narration. The actor’s brother in law and producer Hari too liked it and the momentum picked up. The director never had anyone in mind when he had written the story and it is about three people having identical physical features. He says further, “It is a new point i.e on doppelgangers. There is a website, if you register …you can find people who look exactly like you. In Youtube too, there is a video where more than seven lakh people have reportedly met their doppelgangers. The journey between the three people is Amigos. After I got to know about the website, I did a lot of research and wrote the script. They did the DNA tests and were shocked with the similarities; none of them are related to each other for over two decades. Except for the looks, everything about them is different.” Does Rajendra have a doppelganger? The director answers in the affirmative. He says the man is from Vizag and his friend had sent photographs . Someday they might meet.”
Rajendra is happy that the production gave him the team he wanted. The cinematographer Soundararajan especially is Rajendra’s pick. He happened to see Matran years back which revolved around conjoined twins. The film was shot by Soundararajan. He adds, “During intermission we are shown that one is seperated and dead. I liked the picturisation of that scene. We are aware Suriya is the hero but at that moment we forget him and an element of believability takes over. We are so immersed in the story that we treat it like any other common man’s issue. This is exactly what I wanted from the DoP and the audience. I want the people to think there are three people and it is their story and not that of Kalyan Ram’s. With the DoP on board, I was confident I would achieve what was on my mind.”
The director is a positive person and states that the pandemic did something good for the film field; the audience have begun filtering stories and are encouraging, welcoming new plots. He henceforth believes there will be fresh stories that will be lapped up by people all over the world. Amigos is an action thriller and Ghibran has given music and Ram Kishan Master and Venky were in charge of the action choreography. There are just three songs and the director didn’t want to disturb the situations by forcing more into the story. The film was shot in Hyderabad and Goa.