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Sekhar Kammula

"Software engineer turned director wins National Award"

Sekhar-Software engineer turned director wins National Award

                   It's a dream come true for city based,
Howard university returned, computer professional turned, film-maker to win the Prestigious National award. Sekhar Kammula has become the first Telugu to bag the prestigious National film Award for the 'Best First Film of a Director' at the 47th national film festival this year for 'Dollar Dreams'. The film has just had a national release in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Pune, and Bangalore through '20th Century Fox' which is distributing the movie all over. Channel V is doing its promotions.

                  He had been quite obsessed with the Film media since long and he had put all his earnings for making 'Dollar Dreams' which is a film about Hyderabadi youth who aspire for their dream land- the land of America. Infact the movie was sent for the national awards in the last day for receiving the film nominations. What' s more they had just one copy and that too a soiled copy and then how it went on to win the National award is a Directors Dream Come true.

                   Reachout congratulates Sekhar Kammula for the distinction conferred on him and looks forward for him to film more Hyderabadi dreams in the celluloid. We are anxiously awaiting for his next release. Good luck.

Here is an exclusive review
DoŁŁar Dream$
  by Reachout's correspondent.

Dollar Dreams


No masala formula this film. The only masala one comes across is that of the Gup Chup wala (paani Puri wala) or the Mirchi Bajji wala. The film is a witness to the day to day happenings of Hyderabad. For a Hyderabadi who carries the Charminar and the Gupchup Bandi (Push cart) in his heart, this film will be like a Chota Samosa (typical Irani Hotel small samosas) with a 1/2 chai (1/2 cup of Tea). 

                  'Dollar Dreams', directed by a Harvard returned computer professional turned film-maker MR. Sekhar Kammula, has shot this movie with a shoe-string budget which is commendable but he had to compromise on the technical excellence which was glaringly visible throughout the movie.

                  The film opens with one of the 'Lafoot' gang member (that's what they name their gang) Ravi leaving for the U.S of A. Balu is the next in line running around the computer institutes for a crash course to land up in US and make quick bucks. Not just Balu but every Hyderabadi seems to be engulfed in an irresistable temptation to make fast bucks and come back.

                  Disturbed by this trend, Usha picks up her dictaphone (Giving up a career in medicine) and goes around the college campuses trying to find out what the Hyderabadi youth is upto. Everyone irrespective of the faculty they belong to, (Arts, Science, or Commerce) wants to take up some crash-course in Computers and push off to USA. Still easier for girls who marry an US-Based NRH (a non-resident Hyderabadi). 

                  Helping Usha through this exercise is Srinu who is equally disturbed by this wave and under lot of pressure from his father who is convinced that he's wasting his precious time here when he is cut perfectly to be fit in US. While Phani and Archana, a cool Hyderabadi couple that they were, enjoying the tank bund breeze, the chat wala, and a typical Nawabi attitude, are wonderstruck by unqualified people making it. So they head for the embassy in Madras as well.

                 Ravi comes back for a holiday with an air of cool attitude undecided if he can really come back to Hyderabad at all, since his priorities have changed totally. 

Balu is agitated by this decision and feels there's no point in making big money when one cannot take care of their parents as was the case with Ravi's father who falls ill when he is away earning dollars. 

                 For an NRH this film would actually be, "living in the situation" rather than watching it and for others it gives a real taste of Chai, Gupchup, and a true flavour of Hyderabadi style. The sequences will definitely wrench a viewer's heart especially if they know that there has been a real incident where a student attempted suicide after being rejected for a visa. It is definitely a good lesson for the parents who thinks it's no more a seat in Engineering or Medicine or MBA but a Visa stamping on a passport which makes them proud.

       Sekhar Kammula directed the sequences perfectly with humor galore and the casting is perfect with commendable performances from everybody inspite of being first timers. 

                 An NRH would definitely ask for more at the end of the film like the Paani (Spicy water) after a good session of Gupchup (Paani Puri). One will either dare to come back after dreaming or stay back home, like these people, Balu and Sardar(his friend) to startup a business, and Srinu to do his MBA at Jamnalal Bajaj. Ofcourse Usha is still a Journalist.

-Sachindra Siddella

                                  Sachindra Siddella is a film-maker who previously worked for with Cinema Vision India (Programme "Surabhi") and also Plus Channel, Mumbai, currently in his home town Hyderabad, is looking for more challenging projects and greener pastures.

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