Debut director Supreeth C Krishna’s Telugu hyperlink drama hinges on the idea that change is constant

Telugu feature film Alanti Sitralu, which will premiere on Zee5 on September 24, is a hyperlinked drama following the journeys of four characters and marks the directorial debut of Supreeth C Krishna. The film stars Swetha Parashar, Yash Puri, Ajay Kathurvar and Prawin Yendamuri.

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Alanti Sitralu looks at how things take a dramatic turn when four people, with different needs in life, cross paths,” says Supreeth. A singer-guitarist who is yet to find a direction in his career, meets a sex worker who yearns to lead a normal life. She falls in love with an erstwhile gangster who wants to redeem himself for his daughter’s sake, after having lost his wife. The fourth character is an amateur boxer battling psychological issues.

The story took shape when Supreeth began to build on the idea that change is constant: “I began writing individual character arcs and stories. When they cross paths, their lives go through a change.”

Writing a hyperlink story for his first film, Supreeth was conscious that the format is not often explored in Telugu and Tamil cinema. “But I was very confident about the story. Perhaps I was too naive to think of the business dynamics,” he says.

Supreeth says he had been inclined towards the creative field, though he wasn’t clear initially if it would have to do with cinema. He hails from a village near Chittoor and studied B.Tech in Thanjavu. “I grew up learning both Telugu and Tamil. I watched movies and read a lot of books, and enjoyed writing occasionally. Much later, when I landed a job at an MNC, I realised that I wasn’t keen on a corporate career. When I thought about the creative side, cinema seemed like the obvious place where I could express myself as a writer,” he says.

He applied to Annapurna College of Film and Media, Hyderabad. Learning the ropes of screenwriting and direction, he says, opened up his perspectives. “I was fascinated about the technical craft involved in filmmaking. Back home, my parents were sceptical. They are academicians and their fears were warranted. But if I didn’t take the risk in my early 20s, perhaps I would not have done it later.”

When he decided to write and direct a feature film, he sought the help of film consultant and journalist K Raghavendra Reddy, who guided him to producer Rahul Reddy. “Everything came together as we began working. I have known the crew members Ashwath Shivakumar (editor and sound designer), Karthik Saikumar (cinematographer) and Santhu Omkar (music composer) for a few years now,” says Supreeth.

Applications for his film came in after a casting call and actors were selected after auditions. “The sex worker’s part was the toughest to cast,” says Supreeth. He finally zeroed in on Delhi-based Swetha Parashar, who has worked in theatre productions. The cast went through pre-production workshops before the film went on floors.

The team worked on post-production in Annapurna Studios in mid-2020, when it hadn’t yet formally opened post lockdown, and was geared up for a theatrical release in summer 2021. The second wave of COVID-19 forced a change of plans and Alanti Sitralu will now see a digital release.

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