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'Bholaa Shankar' rides on Chiranjeevi's swag: Cinematographer Dudley


Cinematographer Dudley says that 'Bholaa Shankar' is going to be visually grand and stunning. He is particularly fond of Chiranjeevi's charisma. In this interview, Dudley reveals that the interval action block is going to be a stand-out feature. He is in awe of the timing and talent of the 'Waltair Veerayya' star. The film, helmed by Meher Ramesh, is going to be released in theatres on August 11.

This is my first Telugu film. I and Meher Ramesh have been good friends for about a decade. We make it a point to meet each other whenever we are in the same city. When 'Bholaa Shankar' was pitched to me, I didn't know that Chiranjeevi is the film's hero. I made some guesses and I got all the names wrong. When the director revealed the hero's name, I was pleasantly surprised.

In one word, the Megastar is a perfectionist and an Encyclopedia. He is an all-in-one star. He is always punctual and is unmatchable when it comes to being on time. Soon after he drops on the set, he comes straight to the set without going to his vanity van. I observe that stars down South are way more professional and punctual compared to how it is in the Mumbai film industry.

The Megastar's swag and style are evident in most scenes in 'Bholaa Shankar'. This is a commercial film, a wholesome package with all elements like dance, action, comedy and romance. Keerthy Suresh and Tamannaah Bhatia are super-talented achievers. It was full-on fun to work with them and the Megastar. I was never stressed out. Sekhar Master's choreography for the four songs is going to be enjoyable. This is like a mix of a gangsterism flick and 'Shankardada MBBS'. You are going to see the youngest version of Chiranjeevi in years.

I am not a native Telugu speaker. I tried to manage by speaking a mix of Telugu, Hindi, English, and Tamil on set. The Megastar knows good Tamil and therefore, I didn't find any difficulty communicating with him.

Shot division and staging were done after discussions with all major players. Some changes were made to the Tamil original in keeping with Chiranjeevi's image. Everything was a collective decision. The hero's look, taking and other aspects are different from how they were in the Tamil original. When you are remaking a movie, your product has to be better than the original. Otherwise, there is no point in a remake. As a cinematographer, I tried to make 'Bholaa Shankar' more visually pleasing.

The interval block was the toughest part for me. It's full of action. In 'Vedhalam' (Tamil), that fight was awesome. Meher Ramesh reimagined it on a bigger scale. The grandeur is going to impress the audience. The Ram-Laxman duo composed all the fights. Art director AS Prakash was a fantastic guy to work with. AK Entertainments ensured huge sets and grand production values. The film is going to be an eye-feast.

I have worked with Hindi actors like SRK and Akshay Kumar in Bollywood. My association with Bollywood has been unbroken. Doing a Telugu film was like reuniting with my family since I hail from southern India.

Updated on August 2, 2023