Harish Shankar sees a silver lining in these grim times. The director wants everyone to take the lockdown as an opportunity to work on their skills and introspect as he is doing the same. Harish says he is reading a lot of books that he always wanted to but couldn’t because of his work schedule. He is also raising funds to help those who have been hit the hardest by the coronavirus outbreak.
Excerpts from Harish’s exclusive conversation with Indianexpress.com:
Q. How are you coping with lockdown?
I think this time is given by nature for us to utilize for self-discipline and self-realization. I am an optimistic person. So, besides the charity work that I do, I am using this free time to read a lot of books.
Q. Tell us about your charity work.
I am grateful that I am in a situation to help some people in these challenging times. I am also getting support from fans of Pawan Kalyan and a few NRI friends. The work I am doing is also inspiring others. That’s why I have been sharing about the charitable work that I have been doing. It is not for self-promotion.
Q. Do you miss going out for work?
Writers are always in self-quarantine even without COVID-19. From morning to evening, I am used to writing in isolation. So this isolation is not strange to me. The only difference is with this disease, we have become more cautious about our health and social distancing. Coronavirus has no cure as of now. So, the public should take this lockdown seriously.
Q. Besides direction, you write as well. Who are your inspirations?
My father was a Telugu teacher and he inspired me to read a lot of Telugu literature. At the same time, the works of directors like Jandhyala, Mullapudi Venkata Ramana, and dialogues of EVV Sathya Narayana and Puri Jagannadh have a huge influence on my writing style.
Q. You are considered a “commercial director”. What do you make of that tag?
A commercial director is a person who makes a movie for a large audience. Take for example Sankarabharanam (1980), it collected nearly Rs 1 crore back in the day. I also noted this during the 40th-anniversary function of the movie, that we don’t call Sankarabharanam as a “mass” movie. But, we consider it as a classic. In this digital age, it is easy to judge the work of other people instead of understanding it. What hurts me is not those tags, but the comments of some people that suggest my films lack sensitivity and common sense. When I did a meaningful song Madhuram Madhuram, which was penned by Veturi Sundararama Murthy, for Ravi Teja’s Shock, the film became a flop. But, my next movie with Ravi Teja was titled Mirapakay, and it became a hit. So it is not me, commerciality is something that the audience wants. There is also some novelty in my movies besides ‘hero appreciation.’
Q. What can you tell us about your next movie with Pawan Kalyan?
I don’t see Pawan Kalyan from the eyes of a director. I look at him as a fan. My next project will have everything that fans expect from a Pawan Kalyan film. It will increase their affection for him.
Q. What are your other upcoming projects?
I am working on a web series. I will soon start producing movies in association with producers Mahesh S Koneru and Bunny Vas. I am also penning a script for Mahesh Babu.
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