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18 Apr 2014
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Harish Shankar

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You will be duped to see this young lad for some ordinary guy if you do not know him well. Harish Shankar, a humble guy in early
20s, directed SHOCK - for Ramgopal Varma's production with leading commercial hero Raviteja, and top heroine Jyothika. The name of the film is Shock and is releasing in Andhra on 9th February (tomorrow).

Harish assured an interview to TotalTollywood before the release of the film. As understood, he is quite busy with the project. I contacted him on phone to check on the interview schedule and he said he could do it right away. (That really gave me a Shock). I told him I was far away from the City covering another film on sets. He was kind enough to suggest that it could be done over phone.

During the entire session, Harish was very patient for the occasional breaks. He is so friendly, nice and has a down-to-earth attitude that I quickly became a fan of him as a person. Come tomorrow, he will grab millions of the audience as a favorite director too.

The following are the excerpts.

Your first film is releasing tomorrow. Are you nervous?

Being nervous is natural. I would say I am more curious than nervous since I am already into films for some time. Shock is coming from a big banner and has big star cast. So naturally, I am curious and nervous too.

Usually Factory production films (RGV's production banner) are directed by those who belong to the Factory group. How did you happen to direct this film?

Though this is my first film as a director, I am in the industry for 4 years working with Kona Venkat. He is my god father and every thing. I am acquainted with Raviteja from the Veede times. I worked as associate director for that film. Also, I worked as co-director for Naa autograph. I have a good rapport with Raviteja. I also narrated one story line to Raviteja. It is because of these two guys that I got a chance for Shock. They introduced me to Ramgopal Varma. Without Raviteja there is no Shock and without Kona Venkat there is no Harish Shankar.

I had to work hard to impress RGV. I have a commercial way of thinking. Hero is Raviteja who has an image and film is for RGV who has the reputation of a Stylish director. So I had to keep these two things in mind when writing the screenplay. I got good help from Kona Venkat in terms of screenplay too.

Now you are a part of factory production team. What are your feelings?

It is like, 'I wanted to see the Taj Mahal. Instead, I am also offered the residence in it'. I feel really happy

Usually, debut directors prefer directing own story. You picked the story of RGV.

I was thinking of coming with my own story and script. But if I, a new director, am getting a story line from a proved and established director, what else can I ask for. I have the cake and I can eat it too.

We heard that you are involved in stage also?

Yes. I did Mugimpu leni katha with Rallapalli garu, Halaal Alage with Jallinki Sudhakar and Onti Kali Parugu and others.

Any history for the title and the tag line?

Ramu sir gave the title and tagline. Ramu sir suggested 'He never wanted to be a hero' as the tagline and I added 'but' to it. The title is very apt and you will say the same thing tomorrow.

Why Ajay Atul for music?

I heard their Viswatma, Viswavinayakam albums. I was very impressed. My favorite song Madhuram Madhuram (song in Shock) is inspired from a song in Viswatma album. They did a fabulous job.

What is your feeling about the cast?

Raviteja is a director's hero. No question about that. He gives you so much confidence.

Jyothika immediately accepted the offer after hearing the story. You can perform with your heart and soul when you are totally impressed with the story. You can clearly see that in her in SHOCK. She is very friendly. You know, I felt that no one else can fit the song Madhuram Madhuram like she did.

You acted in a few films before and latest is A film by Aravind. Did you want to become an actor but became a director?

I always wanted to become a director. My appearance in any films is either because the director is my friend or I was involved in the discussions in the making. If they liked any betterment in the character, they offered me to do it myself. But I always wanted to be a director.

Is there a separate comedy track in Shock?

Separate comedy tracks are not my cup of tea. Shock has good comedy but it runs along with the story. Brahmanandam garu is there. Ram Jagan (Siva fame) did a good role in this film. He will get a good break with this film.

What is RGV's influence on you?

It is not just one individual's' influence on me but it ranges from KV Reddy to recent Surendra. Industry is full of talents. I like Bapu visuals, Mullapudi Venkata Ramana scripts, Jandhyala's comedy, Viswanath's sentiment, Varma's making style.. There are so many things that influence me.

What are the specialties of Shock?

Raviteja and Jyothika performances will stand as a highlight. Ajay Atul's music, Kona Venkat's dialogs, Ram Laxman's fights and everything. Amar Mohile composed the background score and it is just

mind blowing. He worked for Sarkar, Ek Ajanabee films.

Raviteja is a mass hero but the promos look class!

I just don't believe in the words class and mass. Tell me if Chiranjeevi is a mass hero or class hero. Tell me if Shankarabharanam is a class film or mass film? My goal is to make a film that reaches most of the audience. I tried to embed every thing into Shock that a fan of Raviteja would want from him. Along with those ingredients, you will see my vision. You can call it my vision, passion, excitement or madness. But you will see it there. There are a few different angles of Raviteja that I explored in this film.

Who is the camera man for the film?

Sarvesh. He is a good friend of mine. He is a talented professional. He earlier worked for Anukokunda Oka Roju.

What according to you is important - Taking or Script?

To be frank, I never believe in taking. First thing is script. Second thing is capturing the performances perfectly.
I give more importance to the substance.

Any thing that you would like to say to our visitors?

I am a regular visitor to TotalTollywood. Tomorrow I will be the content and the visitor too (laughs).
I will be excited to see my interview tomorrow. You guys are doing a good job and covering everything in Tollywood.
The title TotalTollywood is very apt for you.

I would tell all your visitors to see my movie and send me feedback through And Thank you.

Harish Shankar's directed SHOCK is releasing all over the state on 9th of February. We wish him all the best.

Interviewed by Phani

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