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Panchatantram: Telugu Anthology Film of 5 Stories Based on Human Sensory Systems, Says Director Harsha Pulipaka

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Photo Source: Official Poster of 'Panchatantram'.

Panchatantram, the upcoming Telugu film written and helmed by debutant director Harsha Pulipaka, will be an anthology of five short stories. 

The film which is produced by Akhilesh Vardhan and Srujan Yarabolu, stars Naresh Agastya, Rahul Vijay, Shivathmika Rajasekhar, Brahmanandam, Divya Drishti, Vikas, Srividya, Samuthirakani and Swathi Reddy. The makers have been releasing character posters of all the artists on their respective birthdays on social media.

Speaking to Silverscreen India, Harsha said, “Each story in the film is based on one of the human sensory systems. We have tried to depict those elements in the poster: the glass of milk stands for taste, postcard stands for sight, inhaler stands for smell, hands holding each other stands for touch and cassette stands for sound.”

 

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A post shared by Harsha (@harsha_pulipaka)

According to the makers, although the film falls under the drama genre, each story will have elements of sub-genres like romantic-comedy, thriller, social drama and a slice of life. 

Elaborating on the film’s title, Harsha said, “Pancha means five and it easily resonates with our film as it is about five stories and five senses. Besides, we have all grown up listening to the ancient fables of Panchatantra which inculcates human values and virtues. Likewise, our film also revolves around human values, relationships and emotions.”

Speaking about how he conceived the idea of the film, Harsha said, “In 2020, Akhilesh and I were discussing a couple of story ideas for a film and that’s when I got an idea to make a film based on the human sensory system. Two years ago I had written one liners of five potential stories in different contexts. But I found them relatable to the theme [Panchatantram] so I weaved them together for this anthology film.”

 

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A post shared by Harsha (@harsha_pulipaka)

The film’s story was developed between August and September 2020 and the makers began the pre-production process after locking the final script at the end of September. Panchatantram’s filming began on February 22 and as they finished 55% of the shoot, they had to temporarily suspend production due to the second wave of Covid-19.

“While most sequences were shot indoors, there are some outdoor scenes as well. The film was predominantly shot in Hyderabad and one schedule set in Puducherry is pending,” said Harsha. 

Harsha said that each story would be around 25-30 minutes and they had retained the same technical crew for all five short films.

“Our aim is to transport the audience to a different world every half an hour and that’s why we had worked extensively on fixing different colour palettes, shot selections, the tone in the pre-production stage as per the requirements of each story. It’s challenging as it feels like we are working on five small films at once,” he said.

The makers hope to resume the shoot following the lockdown relaxations and said that it was too early for them to decide on the release as they had not reached the pre-production stage yet. “We would have released the film sometime in July if it wasn’t for the second wave [of Covid-19].  However, we hope for a theatrical release followed by OTT,” Harsha said.

 

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A post shared by Harsha (@harsha_pulipaka)

Harsha had previously made a couple of short films and a one-hour indie film titled Climax which was released on YouTube channel called Chaibisket in December 2020.

While Prashanth R Vihari is composing Panchatantram’s music, Raj K Nalli is the cinematographer, with Garry BH as the editor. The film’s dialogue is co-written by Harsha along with Sandeep Raj.

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