An ode to ‘timeless legend’

Ram Alladi

It may seem like there’s nothing much left to tell about Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. But his ever-evolving legacy and the indomitable spirit would never cease to enchant generations of Indians.

New York-based independent filmmaker Ram Alladi has something different to dish out. A childhood fascination, Gandhi’s life story has gradually turned into an on-screen drama for Ram.

Non-linear screenplay

Ra’s Metanoia is the title he has chosen. “It’s about interstellar time travel. ‘Advanced human time’ is a fictional element in the plot while encapsulating scientific concepts such as quantum mechanics, Albert Einstein Rosenberg bridge and rare space elements. And with Gandhi’s childhood days, adolescent to the latter part of his life — it’s an untold story based on the real events of his life. How John Ruskin’s book Unto The Last had changed his life, etc,” says Ram in an exclusive interview with Hyderabad Today, over a phone call from the USA.

“The film has non-linear screenplay enhanced with the help of computer graphics to give the perfect vintage look between 1874 and 1948. It was easy for us, in a way, to show Indian architecture and places like Tolstoy Farm and Birla House without going to locations,” he added. Ram further had to prod on the archives — ‘The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi’, to access the letters of Gandhi which served him as concrete material for the movie.

First documentary

Having studied in Kazipet’s St. Gabriel’s High School, Ram graduated from VV College in Hyderabad and later flew to New York.

“It’s been 17 years since I started working as a software developer in the USA. Passion for cinema drove me to make a documentary and a film on MK Gandhi. My documentary Chiseled is about the grandeur of Kakatiya dynasty’s rich heritage, architecture and ancient technological finesse in building forts, irrigation system and art. It was again inspired by the television series Bharat Ek Khoj during my school days,” says Ram.

He adds that a full-length Sanskrit movie is on cards. “It’s about human psychology. The subject deals with the reaction that takes place in the brain. The idea was again derived from one of the slokas in the Bhagavad Gita,” shares the filmmaker.

Virtual shoot

Elaborating on characters in the movie, Ram says, “As per the screenplay, I had to rope in four individuals to play Gandhi’s character in different time frames. Until I found Srinivasa Rao Senapathy, who played ‘Bapu’ in this movie, I thought of filming this in India as it’s easy to show the template of Indian backdrop.

All four of them had a unique presence on-screen. I took proper care of the characteristics of Gandhi ji at each stage and ensured the actor’s physique perfectly matched that of Gandhi ji.

And it was a piece of cake for Rudra Alladi and Krishna Guntupalli and others to draft the sets and compose them to the filmed footage. Technology played a big role in combining virtual sets and actors’ footage. So, every frame has a good count of very well-organised composite layers.”

The movie Ra’s Metanoia is currently being screened till January 21 at Film Bazaar, organised by National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC India).

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