KV Guhan’s new film starring Anand Deverakonda and Abhishek Banerjee explores chaos on the highway

Cinematographer and director KV Guhan talks about his new Telugu film “Highway” starring Anand Deverakonda and Abhishek Banerjee

Cinematographer and director KV Guhan talks about his new Telugu film “Highway” starring Anand Deverakonda and Abhishek Banerjee

Multi-hyphenate KV Guhan, who juggles the responsibilities of cinematographer, writer and director, believes that people cross paths for a reason and that certain encounters can change the course of a life. His new Telugu film, Highwaywhich will air on Aha Telugu from August 19, is a psychological thriller that explores what happens when key characters in the story pass each other on a highway and have a life-changing experience.

“The story involves a still photographer (Anand Deverakonda), an innocent young woman (Manasa Radhakrishnan), a criminal (Abhishek Banerjee) and a policeman (Saiyami Kher). This is one of the concept-driven experimental stories I had written during the pandemic,” says Guhan. His previous directorial project WWW (streaming on Sony LIV) talked about cybercrime and before that, Guhan was appreciated for the thriller 118 with Kalyan Ram, Nivetha Thomas and Shalini Pandey.

These concept-driven thrillers were born out of his interest in delivering universal stories. “Language and locations will vary by region, but most of 118 Where WWW Where Highway can work anywhere,” he reasons.

KV Guhan

KV Guhan | Photo credit: special arrangement

For his new film, the makers were aware that the title might make moviegoers remember director Imtiaz Ali’s Hindi film Highway with Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda. Guhan explains that no other title would have been appropriate for his story A starting point for the story idea comes from Coen Brothers There is no country for old people. “As I developed the story, I realized it was possible to make viewers curious about what happens to the characters on their journey.”

Both WWW and Highway were conceptualized for digital streaming. Guhan says the digital medium gives a writer-director the freedom to explore new concepts without having to pander to the box office: “There’s a lot of freedom in being able to tell a story without a template-based approach. However, the frame is smaller and there are budget constraints.

Guhan roped in Anand Deverakonda when he learned the actor was looking for stories with different concepts: “His brother Vijay (Deverakonda) is a huge star, while Anand is keen on having his own identity.”

Abhishek Banerjee was Guhan’s first choice to play the psycho killer, ever since he saw his performance in the web series Paatal Lok: “I was keen to introduce Abhishek to Telugu cinema and luckily he liked the story and agreed.”

Highway was filmed on highways near Hyderabad, Araku Valley and Chikmagalur in around 40 days. In his writing process, Guhan says he was mindful of making the characters have an emotional connection with the viewers. “International movies can have a serial killer or a psycho character and say he’s just wired that way because of a chemical imbalance. I didn’t know if such an explanation would work here. So I wrote the character of Abhishek giving some reasoning to show what makes him who he is.

Guhan previously directed the Tamil film Inidhu Inidhua Telugu film adaptation Happy Days. In all of his directorial projects, he has taken on responsibilities for cinematography, story writing and screenplay. He says this multitasking is possible when the scale of the movie isn’t too big. “For a larger film, I will have to delegate the cinematography to someone else. For a smaller film, it’s easier for me to handle the camera since I know the vision with what I wrote the film.

In the early years of his career, Guhan learned the ropes of editing at Minbimbangal, a subsidiary of Kavithalayaa Productions, Chennai. Editing skills worked to his advantage when he became a director. “My shooting is precise and I have a good understanding of frames. It’s possible because I spent four years at the editing table. In Minbimbangal, I interacted with alumni of FTII (Film and Television Institute of India, Pune) and it changed the course of my thinking. I think I’m able to work on experimental stories because of the exposure I got from my FTII friends.

On the other hand, Guhan has worked as a cinematographer for several mainstream films. He started by assisting PC Sreeram and then was on board for Athadu, Dookudu, AagaduHindi version of Khushi and Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu, among other films: “I had the best of both worlds, experimental films as well as mainstream projects.”

In the pipeline is another directorial project starring Kalyan Ram.

(Highway runs on Aha from August 19)

About Monty S. Maynard

Check Also

Sylvester Stallone Says He and Arnold Schwarzenegger “Hated Each Other”

Sylvester Stallone recalled how he and Arnold Schwarzenegger despised each other (Picture: FilmMagic) Sylvester Stallone …