My personal experiences inspired project, says Sai Rajesh, on the Telugu film starring Suhas and Chandini
In the teaser of Colour Photo, actor Suhas tells Chandini that if a guy like him were to romance someone like her, his own friends would poke fun and call the couple ‘black and white’, ‘gulab jamun and rosagulla’… Fresh on the heels of making viewers laugh in Uma Maheshwara Ugra Roopasya, Suhas headlines this romance with screenplay and direction by Sandeep Raj, based on the story by Sai Rajesh who has co-produced the film. This film is Suhas’s first as a male protagonist and takes a closer look at the skin-deep issue.
The statement ‘based on a true story’ evokes curiosity and when asked, Sai Rajesh says that “nearly 70% of the story” is based on happenings in his life. His story had a happy ending, he married the woman of his dreams: “It took me two years to gather courage and express my feelings to her. She immediately agreed, which made me wonder why I hesitated so much.”
This was in the 90s. Growing up, Sai Rajesh was made to feel conscious of his looks by those around him. His confidence took a beating, he thought he was too dark and not handsome. “Boys who are made to feel they are ‘below average’ will relate to this film,” he says.
Colour, caste discrimination
“Colour Photo is set in the mid-90s in Machilipatnam. Colour and caste discriminations are among the things discussed in the film. A lot of my experiences have gone into the story, and the rest is dramatised,” says Sai Rajesh. A chunk of the dramatisation lies in the antagonist’s part, played by actor Sunil.
Colour Photo is one of the first stories Sai Rajesh wanted to narrate as an aspiring filmmaker. A love for cinema made him move to Hyderabad from Nellore, and from 2005 to 2011, he was one among hundreds of aspirants hoping to get a toehold in cinema: “I took up a data entry job and would spend a few hours each day typing study materials and questions papers. The money I made through this, along with the support of my friends who knew my passion for cinema, kept me going.”