In the process of creating a ‘HIT universe’, writer-director Sailesh Kolanu says the foundation for the universe comes from ‘HIT: The Second Case’, starring Adivi Sesh, which will release in theatres on December 2

Imagine a cop franchise in which each protagonist investigates heinous crimes and, eventually, they all come together in a cop universe to take on something larger and sinister. If all goes well, director Sailesh Kolanu might be able to pull off such a feat, a first for Telugu cinema. His debut film as a writer and director, HIT: The First Case (2020), was the beginning. HIT: The Second Case, releasing in theatres on December 2, is set in Visakhapatnam and stars Adivi Sesh as a cop who wears his attitude on his sleeve. 

Sailesh, who found his calling as a filmmaker after completing a Ph.D in optometry and teaching in Sydney, Australia, says he had a road map of the HIT (Homicide Investigation Team) universe even before the first film went on floor. “The HIT universe derives its foundation from the second film; so it had to be bigger in content and scale,” he says, during this interview at producers Prashanti Tipirneni’s and Nani’s office in Hyderabad.

Eerie coincidences

During the post-production of HIT 1, starring Vishwak Sen as a cop battling post-traumatic stress, Sailesh remembers how he and his team watched in horror as the Disha murder case (a 26-year-old veterinary doctor was murdered after brutual sexual assault and her charred body was found) that shook Hyderabad had an eerie resemblance to some of the events in the film. 

The crime in HIT 2 involves incidents of murder and dismembering of women, resembling the recent Shraddha Walker case in New Delhi (where a young woman was killed and her body dismembered). “I had written both the stories based on news reports in other countries, and it is eerie to see such real-life similarities prior to the release of these films,” says Sailesh. 

He asserts that his films do not glamourise crime. “The idea is to establish that when the crime is so gruesome, it calls for the best in the police department to investigate it.”

Sailesh says his writing process, backed by research, has been a solitary one. Once he completed the scripts, he discussed them with his wife, Swati, and producer Prashanti to ensure that he had not written a story about crime against women with a male gaze. There were also discussions on how crime is depicted on screen. “There is often a discussion as to whether someone will get inspired by a film to commit a crime. Those who have that psyche can draw inspiration from anywhere, not just books or movies.”

HIT 2 dispels the notion that only metropolises are hotbeds of crime. The literary space has several crime novels set in sleepy towns, making the investigation all the more dramatic, he acknowledges.