Nandamuri Balakrishna’s film Okka Magaadu was one of the most awaited films in the industry in 2007; even movie-goers were eagerly looking forward to it. Anyone associated with the film was considered lucky by everyone in the industry because the director YVS Chowdary garu was an ardent fan of the Nandamuri family and his previous film Devadas was a super hit. Besides, he had also made a superhit movie Seethayya with Nandamuri Harikrishna. The combination of Balakrishna and the director created a lot of buzz in the industry. Generally, a film with a hit director and a superstar is expected to be a blockbuster.
During the same time, I was looking for a break from directing crime related programs to directing lighter subjects like Teerdha Yatralu (a very popular program on temples) in ETV. The mental fatigue caused due to constant exposure to crime related topics had made me desperate. Unfortunately, I did not get the needed break. So, I was planning to do a food related online program but made a mini/short movie, Coin. Coin making did not get rid of my fatigue but I got the lucky opportunity to meet YVS Chowdary garu.
Sai Kishore Macha garu introduced me to YVS Chowdary garu as a director from the TV industry. YVS garu had roped me into his Okka Magaadu project. The first task YVS garu assigned to me was to scout for locations for a song he had planned to shoot in temples. He was counting on my links to reporters (as director of real-life crime-based TV episodes) and my visualizing abilities as a director to help him have the best locations for the song he was visualizing.
Is it a coincidence, or a miracle, or my good karma or the universe heard my inner cry for a break?! Even today I don’t know.
Along with a manager, and a cameraman, I went around Rayalaseema scouting for temples for song locations. We went to the temples, offered our prayers and enjoyed the divine peace and tranquility of the premises as we captured the locations. The whole scouting for locations experience gave me the feel of making Teertha Yatralu. I felt refreshed and was ready for new challenges.
I submitted the full details of the locations I visited - detailed route maps, distance between the locations, time to reach each location, the most convenient location(s) to shoot the song and also the details for the proper lodging places for the crew [There were no google maps then.].
YVS garu was so impressed by my work that he asked the co-director, Malli garu to plan a schedule along with me. I felt as if I was on the top of the world. All my mental fatigue and desperation vanished. I worked with dedication and became a strong member of the Okka Magaadu team.