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Shravan, just out of the Satyajit Ray Film Institute, wants to put his editing degree to good use in the Telugu film industry

SHRAVAN KATIKANENI does not believe in planning much into the future, “I know now I am speaking to you and then I will go out to wherever destiny chooses to take me,” the soft-spoken editing graduate says.

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And this lack of meticulous preparation allows for magic to make its presence felt in Shravan’s filmmaking. The dreamy Z, Y, X… one of Shravan’s films screened at the Hyderabad `i’ documentary & Short Film Festival is a classic example of this enchantment.

The film, an eight-and-a-half minute one-shot marvel, follows the Iranian cinema tradition of everyday objects taking on mysticism. The film concludes with what can only be called a Kiarostami moment. The film is a pan of a dying tree, that starts off as one twig and as the shot develops, one sees a whole network of branches and finally in a burst of green leaves, a crow settles on the branch.

“I did not plan for the crow,” Shravan exclaims. “But when it settled on the tree, everything made sense.” Shravan, who has recently (two weeks ago) passed out of the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, would like to concentrate “on editing. It is not as if I have so many great ideas just waiting to be made into movies. I want to experience editing.”

About the common perception of everyone being an auteur just waiting to stun the world with their work, Shravan comments, “that way even the carpenter on the sets is a filmmaker. Everything has its time and my time is now all about editing. The movies at the festival (The Door – a superb study of paranoia, and I, Me, Myself which is a kooky look at altered perspectives) are films we made between student projects.”

How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?

Shravan says his interest in editing came about when he first saw the cult Ramgopal Varma film, “Shiva. I was in fifth standard then and I felt like I had never seen anything like that before. Later on I asked some of cousins who were in the industry and they said one of the reasons the movie looked like it did was because of the editing. And I made up mind that that is what I wanted to do.”

As far as parents go, “They are happy that I have completed the course,” the 24-year-old comments. “Since I discontinued my law studies – I had a year left when I joined film school. And even now sometimes they say maybe I could finish my degree. But I have no regrets. Actually my classmates from law school tell me they wish they could go film school instead!”

What are your future plans?

Shravan would like to start working in Hyderabad because “I know I can work in Calcutta or Mumbai but I would like to explore the Hyderabad market first.”

And despite Shravan’s fondness for Iranian cinema, he insists he is “very flexible. I love movies; I remember there was a time when I pestered my cousin to teach me to whistle, as I wanted to whistle in Chiranjeevi and Balakrishna movies. Unfortunately though I tried very hard I could not master the art, so I clap. The thing is I clap for Chiranjeevi movies as well as Kiarostami movies. I would like to work in mainstream Telugu cinema, music videos anything. The only thing I would not like to work in are the afternoon serials – they are creatively deadening.”

The perfect way to fight a congealing mind is a Kiarostami moment. So here is wishing Shravan many more Kiarostami moments!