The director is all set to make Quickie, Darsheel Safary’s comeback movie.
As a little boy, Pradeep Atluri loved to narrate stories, but never imagined that he would, one day, direct films. Now, Pradeep is all set to mark his debut as a director with Quickie, a film that will see the comeback of Darsheel Safary — the innocent and cute child who made us all cry in Taare Zameen Par.
Born and brought up in Mumbai, Pradeep says he belonged to “a typical middle-class family who dreamt of educating their kids and saving enough money to build a house and retire in Andhra (Pradesh).” Pradeep’s mother hails from Gudiwada while his father is from Vijayawada, and Pradeep has worked in Hyderabad for two years, where he has made “a lot of friends”. “The people are friendly in Hyderabad and the best part is everybody spoke Hindi or Telugu. My Telugu is not that great, so I preferred speaking in Hindi,” he mentions.
Talking about his growing-up years, Pradeep elaborates, “I was born a lefty so I guess I was less logically-inclined and more imaginative. Studies failed to impress me. I used to write and read only because my mother was pushy. I was very good in drawing and creating things. I still sketch sometimes. I also loved playing sports, especially cricket. I used to tell engaging stories about aliens, the universe, dinosaurs and pyramids to kids in my colony. I guess that is where I learned that to keep any narrative interesting, you need to have multiple plot points, questions and really twisted answers.”
After graduating from the Mumbai University, Pradeep learnt graphic designing, did some odd jobs, but was not enjoying any of it. “The 9 to 5 work culture, saving money for what? I worked in Hyderabad for two years in a software company. During that time, one of my friends connected back and told me that he was in Toronto studying films. Before this, I never dreamt of making films. It was not even a choice. Something told me that I can do this. I can tell stories,” says Pradeep, who went on to study at the Toronto Film School, where writing and direction were his majors.
Interestingly, the only person in his family to work in the film industry was his paternal grandfather’s brother, Atluri Pundarikakshaiah, who produced films like Balle Tamudu among few others and was also the first person to get Mohammed Rafi to sing in Telugu.
So when exactly did Pradeep’s tryst with writing scripts and filmmaking begin? “I was always interested in storytelling. I loved to hold the audience’s attention. I can sense if they are getting bored and I suddenly change the narrative to make it interesting. Direction comes naturally to me. I think good writers and good editors almost always make good directors. For me, direction was a side effect of writing.” And it did work out fro him.
Talking about the upcoming film, he says, “Quickie is the story of Amey (Darsheel Safary) and Priyanshi (Palak Tiwari), who meet at a club and decide to have a one-night stand. It is the story of two strangers who will understand life and a bit about themselves at a deeper level in a night filled with adventure as they search for a place for the instant gratification of their problem.”
He adds, “Quickie is a teen comedy and it is a genre which I feel is severely neglected in India, where 50 per cent of our population is the youth. Darsheel thought it was apt for his comeback. The same thing happened with Palak Tiwari. I narrated the film to Palak and her mother Shweta Tiwari. Finding talented teenagers was quite a task, especially girls. We auditioned almost 200 girls — star kids, non-star kids; sometimes talent was lacking, especially confidence, and most of the star kids wanted a bigger launch. Parents, too, would hear the word quickie and instantly start judging the whole film without knowing the story. We do portray a modern outlook in the society, but what we really need is a mature outlook.”
Talking about his journey in the industry, he says, “After coming back to Mumbai, I wrote a few things and pitched them too, but they were ahead of its time or not commercial enough. So I had to unlearn a few things that I learned abroad and had to use a more indigenous approach. It worked because I started selling them. But in Bollywood, a sold script has only three per cent chance of seeing a release date. I also wrote for web and TV to pay the bills while writing films to sell. I am fortunate enough to sell enough to survive.”