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Interview: Entire Sarkaru Vaari Paata was shot on sets: AS Prakash

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Art director AS Prakash has been around since the mid-2000s. 'Sarkaru Vaari Paata', which hits the cinemas on May 12, is his 7th outing with Superstar Mahesh Babu. In this interview, Prakash talks about working for the actioner with director Parasuram Petla, the kind of sets erected for the movie, how important is the vision of the art director in the pandemic era, and more.

'SVP' is a pakka commercial entertainer, an actioner. This is my 7th movie with Mahesh Babu garu. 'Dookudu' was my first movie with him. Since then, the budget and scale of his movies have gone from strength to strength.

Sets are erected as per the demands of the script and the size of an actor's market. Mahesh garu is jovial on set. At the same time, he is serious about extracting the best possible work from his technicians. On the location, he engages with his cast and crew at a deeper level. He discusses the songs, etc.

Banks are a crucial backdrop of 'SVP'. I had to create the set of an old-style bank at Annapurna Studios. It has got a vintage feel in terms of the furniture, etc. Two other contemporary bank sets were also created. I had to study the ambience of the film in detail before venturing into erecting the sets.

You will find the title justification in the very opening sequence.

The film was shot for many days in Goa. Almost the entire film was shot on sets. Even a beach set was erected. Sets for songs have to be felt thoroughly by the art director, whose vision is important. You have to create a whole new ambience. When you are erecting a temple set, you have to study the architectural history of the location in which the story is set, etc.

Miniature creations were also done for 'SVP'. Street sets were put up. 'SVP' is my third film with R Madhi. I have had a good rapport with him every time.

Many actors have a grasp of which technicians are apt for a given project. They do make suggestions to filmmakers.

I don't feel pressure. Unless you are talented, you won't survive in the film industry. Not every film is made as a pan-Indian outing right at the outset.

Art directors, directors, and cinematographers are more informed these days. They are exposed to world cinema and all. Specifications and requirements have gone up. As a result, art directors have a greater amount of work to do. The quantum of work has gone up. Now, you have to coordinate with the VFX department, for example. The entire 'Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo' was shot on set. Everyone felt that the scenes were shot in real homes. If you are able to cheat the audience, you have succeeded as an art director. Even people in the film industry couldn't tell whether they were real or artificial. Interior sets are hard to be figured out.

Depending upon my closeness to a director, I do give suggestions regarding the budget that needs to be spent on sets.

In the pandemic era, the art director's importance has only increased. A lot of outdoor shoots in real locations have had to be shot on sets.

It's true that art directors/production designers have been imported from other languages/countries. But this holds true for a lot of other crafts as well. We are living in a pan-Indian cinema era.

My dream is to do a socio-fantasy movie. I have done many commercial entertainers already.

I am doing two of Chiranjeevi garu's upcoming movies ('Bholaa Shankar' and 'Waltair Seenu'), besides the Mahesh Babu-Trivikram Srinivas movie.  

Updated on April 25, 2022