The man behind Mallesham: Director Raj Rachakonda shares his journey

raj rachakonda, mallesham director

The thought behind celebrating unsung heroes led to the creation of the recent Telugu film, Mallesham. Director Raj Rachakonda shared details about the movie with team Yo! Vizag, while he was in the city.

Mallesham has received plaudits from the audience and the critics alike. But there is much more to this latest flick than just the box office verdicts. It is the portrayal of how one’s determination became a strong catalyst in accomplishing a goal. It is the engrossing biopic of Padma Shri recipient Chintakindi Mallesham and his invention; the ASU machine.

A bit about the director

An Engineer, who eventually settled in the United States, Raj Rachakonda forayed into films with a Tamil movie, Sila Neramgalil (2008), which didn’t make waves commercially. A moving story though once again made him don the director’s hat after a decade’s gap.

When asked what made him choose the story, Rachakonda replied, “I watched a TED talk given by Mallesham in January 2017. It was so inspiring and motivating that I thought his story should be told to a wider audience. Accordingly, in 2017, I started interacting with Mallesham in person and over phone calls”.

The making of the film

Raj Rachakonda and his team camped in Revanapally village, working on the background details, and pre-production work, for more than a year. This village, where the movie was eventually shot, was suggested by renowned painter Laxman Aelay, who had shot a documentary here before.
Going into further details, Rachakonda shares, “Music Director Mark Robin and I planned and designed the music much before the shoot started. And the entire casting credit goes to Mahesh Gangimalla. I did select a lot of characters on my own but finalised it only after getting a nod from Mahesh.” The toughest aspects of the movie, he reveals, were “managing noise, as we were shooting in sync-sound, and juggling actor dates. We completed 80% of the shoot in one schedule but had to wait for two months to get the dates of Priyadarshi and Jhansi”.

An emotional note

Expressing his gratitude to the team, Raj Rachakonda comments, “KTR mentioned that a poem by Dasarathi summarises the whole movie. As a matter of fact, there are so many unsung heroes like Mallesham. The movie itself intends to make people aware of the importance of promoting and helping handloom and rural innovation. Consequently, people like Raghavendra Rao and Rajendra Prasad have come forward to donate ASU machines to more weavers. Additionally, the public must contribute their bit by wearing handlooms once in a while”.

Asserting that he has no plans for a remake of the film in any other language, the director says, “Hopefully I will come up with more fresh stories for Telugu audience”. Well, we surely look forward to that.

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