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Learnt the art of observation from dad: Sreekar Prasad on editor Akkineni Sanjeeva Rao

The master editor also spoke about uncle and filmmaker LV Prasad, who had a peculiar way of editing his films.

A Sreekar Prasad at the IFFI masterclass. Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Blessy Chettiar

Editor A Sreekar Prasad, son of veteran Telugu film editor and director Akkineni Sanjeeva Rao, said he learnt from his father the art of learning by observation.

“With my father, learning was more about observation," Sreekar Prasad said at a masterclass on editing at the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa. "He was not a person who was going to teach me. He used to hand over some work to do. The best way to learn is to practically work on it. I do the same at workshops — give them [participants] things to do instead of talking. You need to practise.”

Sreekar Prasad has edited films in 17 Indian languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Assamese, and worked with several directors from these industries.

In a career spanning over two decades, he has won the National award for Best Editing for Raakh (1989, Hindi), Rag Birag (1997, Assamese), Nauka Caritramu (1998, documentary), The Terrorist (1998, Tamil), Vanaprastham (2000, Malayalam), Kannathil Muthamittal (2002, Tamil), Firaaq (2009, Hindi) and a Special Jury Award for Kutty Srank (2010, Malayalam), Kaminey (2009, Hindi), and Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja (2009, Malayalam).

Every story has its own pace and an editor must adapt: A Sreekar Prasad at IFFI 2018

Speaking about his paternal uncle and Telugu film industry doyen, the late LV Prasad, Sreekar Prasad said, “Definitely there has been an influence. With my uncle I worked on just one film, and it was a revelation. He would always ask me to cut the sequence in the timing he had shot, and not worry about the unnecessary lags or pauses in between.

"I wondered why. He said he had devised it like that. Then he said the first time I cut it should be like that and later I could do anything with it. He would expect two shots to be edited in the same timing as the cue as it was shot. We used to match exactly the way it was shot and then join it and see. I never realized that it actually helps with the sense of pauses [in a scene].”

Sreekar Prasad also mentioned that it was imperative to get the narrative right and for that it helps a great deal if the editor reads the script. “Contrary to the practice a few decades ago, I now find myself involved right from the early stages of the production of a film,” he added.

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