Published: 23rd June 2021
A 20-year-old banana seller's son put out a short film on YouTube in 2020. Now, it has crossed over three lakh views
The name of the short film: Maguva. The name of the director: Aane Lokesh. The name of the production house: Shade Studios. This is all you need to know. Now, go right ahead and watch the film
As a class IX student, the thrill of bunking school and going for a movie alone is something else. But what really did it for Aane Lokesh was not just the experience, but watching the movie Kumari 21F. There was a certain maturity in the character of Kumari that charmed Lokesh. In his own words, "And then, it began." What the 20-year-old, who is the son of a banana-seller, is referring to is his tryst with films. Movies were all his mind was capable of thinking about. So with absolutely zilch know-how about filmmaking, he decided to make a movie of his own. "I had no knowledge of how to direct, write a script — anything about filmmaking — all I knew was films," says the youngster who is based out of Anakapalle, a suburb of Visakhapatnam.
The universe's genie all but obliged and last year, during the lockdown, he wrote, shot and directed Maguva (meaning women in Telugu) and just last week, the short film crossed 3,60,000 views on YouTube. But starting out was hard. Over 200 emails, 250 Instagram DMs and 100 tweets to producers and film studios were sent out and Lokesh was yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel. He was in utter dismay last year. But then, Hyderabad-based Shade Studios — a production house looking for interesting stories from remote areas — responded to his script. "I don't know what it was, but they were convinced after they read my script. When I told them that I have no cast, crew or equipment, they arranged all of that as well," he says, chuckling sheepishly, something he does a lot. But we have come to understand that his passion for films is capable of seeing him through any obstacles. So, on a budget of Rs 60,000, the youngster travelled to Visakhapatnam in July 2020 to make his dreams come true.
Nithyasri Goru of C/O Kancharapalem was to play the titular character in Maguva. "I was out of my comfort zone, I did not even know how to direct her," says Lokesh, another hyperbole we assume because the movie is not just gritty, but doesn't shy away from speaking about sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl and how she carries the trauma deep within her heart until it happens to her again. A film about rape from the male gaze, we ask. "Rape is something that happened and still happens. There are many films like this already, so if we employ a certain sensitivity, we can tell the story too," explains the third-year BTech Electronics and Communication student of Dadi Institute of Engineering and Technology. The result is for all of us to see.
"I want to be a lecturer if I cannot work in the film industry," says Lokesh who recently finished watching Ford v Ferrari. As long as he is able to get his ideas out there, indeed, he is okay with being either.