Richie Gadi Pelli is the title of the upcoming Telugu comedy drama directed by debutant filmmaker KS Hemraj, actor Aishwarya Rajesh announced on Wednesday, while also revealing the first look poster of the film on social media.
The film is produced under the banner KS Film Works and is co-produced by Suriya Mehar. The cast includes Naveen Neni, Praneetha Patnaik, Sathya SK, and Kishore Marrishetty, among others.
Speaking to Silverscreen India, Hemraj, who has previously worked as associate director on filmmaker Arivazhagan Venkatachalam’s Eeram (2009), says, “The title Richie Gadi Pelli translates to Richie’s wedding. The story revolves around a group of school friends who gather for a reunion on the occasion of their friend’s wedding in Ooty. They play a game one night, during the course of which we reveal the backstories for each of the characters. Each character is given a certain treatment and their subplots add to the main storyline. An uninvited guest also arrives demanding to marry the groom. Whether the marriage happens the next day or not, forms the rest of the story.”
A native of Coimbatore, Hemraj says his love for the Telugu language drove him to make his debut feature film in the language as opposed to his mother tongue Tamil. “I’ve been watching Telugu films by filmmakers like by Sekhar Kammula and SS Rajamouli for many years now. That, combined with my love for the language, made me decide to direct a film in Telugu. In addition, I also found the right producers in Telugu rather than from the Tamil industry.”
Hemraj reveals that he was slated to make another Telugu film in 2019, but it got dropped. After this, Vijay Ulaganath, the cinematographer of Richie Gadi Pelli and Hemraj’s friend, helped the filmmaker kickstart this project by making it as a “zero-budget film” to start with. “Most of the artists and technicians started to work even before the funding came in,” he says, adding that a Japan-based businessman, Kurunji Selvan, helped them acquire financing.
The film’s story was written by Rajendra Vaitla and Nagaraju, while Hemraj handled screenplay and direction. “Both of them were assistants to the writer of the project which got dropped,” explains the filmmaker.
Richie Gadi Pelli was shot in the second half of 2019 in Ooty in a single 28-day schedule. “Since we shot the film outdoors during the cold season, we could not change the lighting frequently. Our cinematographer, however, used different techniques to ensure that the lighting looks uniform throughout,” says Hemraj.
He tells us the film has two songs, composed by Satyan. “They are sung by Kailash Kher and Shakthisree Gopalan. While one will be a travel song featuring the friends going to Ooty, the other will be a romantic number.”
The filmmaker reveals that the team was supposed to start post-production in February, but this was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He adds that the film is currently in the final stages of post-production and discussions are still on about the release of the film. “Richie Gadi Pelli is the sort of film that can work in theatres and on OTT. So, we are open to both modes of release.”