In days of 1960’s and 1970’s set designs had played an important role in film making. Not a single film would miss setting up a huge set. Take the film ‘’Sholay’’ for instance, which had designed a huge village in Ramgarh (Karnataka). Even in
’s ’’Nayakan’’ or ‘’Thalapathi’’, richness in set designs could bring out some of the memorable scenes in films. Thotta Tharani’s sets for Mani Ratnam films have been always lauded and his craftsmanship in thinking and designing the sets had really changed the face of art direction in Tamil cinema. Whether he created a slums of Dharavi for Nayagan, or a chilled atmosphere sets of Kashmir for Roja, every scenes were shot in Chennai studio only.
The splendor and opulence of his sets in ‘Nayagan’ and ‘Indian’ were indeed a visual indulgence in itself, that he received two national awards for his contribution in Kamal Haasan’s starrer. His work in Rajinikanth’s starrer ‘
’, the sets were so real that it looked as if the scenes were shot in a palace but actually some scenes were shot in studio itself. In many of his films, he used to design a set that the script had demanded. Using his imagination, glamour quotient in films, Thotta Tharani used to subtly interwoven the set as a total package without distracting the viewers from the storyline and action. That is why in ‘Indian’, ‘Mouna Geetham’, ‘Raaja Paarvai’, ‘Jeans’, ‘Bombay’, ‘Nayagan’ or ‘
’, some scenes were so real that it looks as though the scenes were shot in outdoor locations, but actually it could have been shot in Chennai studio itself which was designed by Thota Tharani.
Particularly, the sets of Nayakan remain his best art direction. That is why
, Shankar and Mani Ratnam had used the magic of Thota Tharani in many of their successful movies (without Thota’s effort the film could not be so real). Although nowadays, filmmakers do not try the same magic of set designs in Kollywood, it seems that emphasis on realism and creating out-door sets is going to disappear soon. Since Thota Tharani has been given a Padma Shri honour by Government of India and also he had won a couple of national and international honours too, the art director came to notice at last with films like Chandramukhi, Nayagan, Thalapathi or even Sivaji. As a set designer and art director, he proved that his names could get noticed too. Thotta Tarani has worked in three foreign collaboration (films) too. Till date, as an art director and set designer, he had completed 50 films so far.
He used to work with his father Thota Venkateswara Rao, who was also an art director in movies. He used to accompany his father on sets, that needed responsibility of an art director, and he and his father would design the interiors, costumes and everything else for hours and hours. It is his father who had really inspired him into this film craft of set and art design, which had blossomed well in every film, that he had worked later on.
Another Version Of This Bio:
Thota Tharani was born in December 16, 1949; Chennai India. He completed his education at The American College in Madurai. At the age of twelve he started to help his father in the design of Art. In 1978, he started his career for the film Industry for the movie Sommokadidhi Sokokadidhi for the Telugu. His works were appreciated for two talkies like Nayagan, Indian which got
National Film Awards
. His current work includes Dasavathaaram, Leader and kanthasamy. He had done about 100 films as designer.
Those films includes Foreign productions like French, Italian includes : Pondichéry, Dernier Comptoir Des Indes, Hanuman. His experience has been appreciated as a life time set and has been Awarded. His set for the movie Nagayan was very much surprising and appreciated. Apart from that movie the set has also been included for the movie like Muthalvan and Thiruda Thiruda. Apart from producer he also worked as a Director and also in the Art department for various blockbuster movies. He completed his graduation by the year 1971 on the topic named Mural Painting. Apart from that he also completed his Print making course at London and New Delhi.
By the year 2001,He got the most prestigious Award Called PadmaShri for his art and his Industry work. HE also received National Film Award for his movies art work like Nayagan by the year 1987 and Indian in the year 1996. Apart from National awards he also received the tamilnadu State film Awards for his Art direction like Thalapathi in the year 1991, Kaadhalan in the year 1994 and By 2005 he received for two movies namely Chandrmukhi and Sringaram and by 2007 for the outstanding movie Sivaji. Apart from movies he also worked for several short films like Adios which is a sound less movie. His career started by the year 1978 for the Telugu movie after that by the year 1981 he entered into Tamil Industry by the movie Raja Paarvai. He entered into the Kannada industry by the year 1983 by the movie named Pallavi Anu Pallavi. His Malayalam career started by the movie Abhimanyu in the year 1991. He received his most of the award for his Tamil movies. His movie Sivaji had given him lot of awards including Filmfare Award andTamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Art Director and for A Special Appearance in the song Balleilakka and also from Vijay Award for his Art direction.