Filmmakers Hari Shankar and Harish Narayan discuss the making of Yashoda and working with Samantha
The birth of Yashoda
It took a little over two years for debutant filmmakers Hari Shankar and Harish Narayan to conceive and complete filming Yashoda. which stars Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar. Inspired by true events, Yashoda is a fictitious take on the crime racket behind the surrogacy mafia. “There’s more to the story than just surrogacy. The audience will be thrilled to discover a few other aspects of women and motherhood in the film. We are confident that the emotional core and the drama around the central characters will tug at your heartstrings,” says the director duo.
The debutants reveal that Samantha was the only choice for Yashoda. “We wanted to have a protagonist who is both physically and mentally strong. Even while writing the story, we visualised every shot keeping Samantha in mind. We were thrilled that she instantly gave her nod to do this film,” explains Hari.
The duo were apparently amazed by the passion Samantha brought to the sets. “Irrespective of the emotional heft of a scene, Samantha aced it with ease. She never used glycerine and could naturally shed a tear in front of the camera. She is a director’s actor, and rarely took a second take.”
Recently, Samantha announced that she has been diagnosed with myositis - an autoimmune condition. “We came to know about her condition only after the dubbing works commenced. She was a thorough professional and never discussed about her condition on the sets. In fact, she shot for a spine-chilling action sequence despite ill health and fever. She always cared for the people, who worked with her and ensured 100 per cent cooperation on the sets,” observes Harish.
The director duo points out that the action sequences in Yashoda will perfectly comply with the story. “The film is more like a survival drama where a woman fights against all odds. So, the action sequences will stay true to the story,” says Harish.
A major portion of the film was shot in a fictitious hospital facility called Eva. “At first, we planned to shoot the film in a five-star hotel in Hyderabad. But we understood that the restrictions or the guidelines of such hotels will curb our creative freedom. We then approached art director Ashok Kumar and he constructed a corporate hospital set, which, in a way, became one of the crucial characters of our film,” observe the directors.
Being first-timers in Telugu, Hari and Harish don’t want to compromise on the nativity factor and sought the help of journalists-turned-writers Pulagam Chinnarayana and Challa Bhagyalakshmi to stay relevant to the local sensibilities. “Chinnarayana sir and Bhagyalaksmi sir eased out our difficulties, especially in the language and culture. They also gave additional inputs, and we incorporated them without any second thought. Having a woman writer on board also helped us to fine-tune our script. We all worked with a positive mindset, and you will see our efforts on the big screen on November 11,” says the duo.
Singing praises for Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Hari and Harish say, “We narrated the script to her via Zoom for 20 minutes and her silence after our conversation panicked us. A few moments later, she asked us to translate this story neatly onto the screen. She is a natural actor and will be seen in a role that is completely different from her earlier films. It was our luck to have worked with these talented women in Yashoda.” Seeing the potential of Hari and Harish, Yashoda’s producer Sivalenka Krishna Prasad has offered them another film under his banner. “He wanted us to come up with yet another unique story. We sought some time to come up with an exciting line,” signs off Hari and Harish.