The Sai Saga

Anand Sai… a little boy of 13, bunked school often, to visit temples! Bit surprising for a young boy, ain’t it? Let’s go on a journey to find out more.

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Little Beginnings

Born to B.Chellam & Ms. Bharathi Chellam in Parlakhemundi, Odisha. Someone said, “this boy will change history for the better”. Anand really lived up to that and how!

B. Chellam wasn’t just a big art director, but played a key role in how Anand’s life shaped out to be. He taught him not just to live big, but how to live big with humility, kindness & diligence. He helped Anand become the rare find he is today.

Anand Sai went to “school”. Books hated him or he hated books, no one knows. He had few friends. He made it through school with temple visits & cycling being the only respite he had!

Soon after, his parents enrolled him in the infamous computer classes meant for kids that needed to figure out where they were headed in life. This is where he met his best friend - Pawan Kalyan. From the first moment onwards, they were inseparable. Always at each other’s houses - going on road trips to visit different temples in South India, planning elaborate schemes to make it big in life, bunking said computer classes, and just building a bond of a lifetime.

Small discoveries

Anand Sai, as you know him, is an art director & temple architect. However, Anand Sai has played multiple roles in life before he became that person. He spent the first few years of his career trying his hand at multiple things in a bid to discover who he really was.

At first, he thought he was built to be an entrepreneur. He tried his hand at everything from being a paint salesman to being a freelance Christmas decorator. He’s even tried his hand at being a credit card seller. Oh, and let’s not forget - he once set out to renounce his worldly life. His experiences were not always the most exciting or fruitful - however, everything he did, helped him figure out a little piece of himself.

These moments of discovery led him to finally accepting an offer with Pawan Kalyan & Megastar Chiranjeevi to try his hand at art direction. His father was pleasantly surprised, asked him to proceed with caution but always had his back. Anand Sai, spent the first year just learning the craft on different movie sets instead of creating. He honed his technique & finesse over that year.

His first movie ever was Tholi Prema - he created a grand replica of the Taj Mahal by the sea. This was his first ‘aha’ moment. He realised he not only enjoyed doing this - he was also thriving at it. It gave his creative energies a more structured outlet. Pawan Kalyan has a big place in his heart - because not only did he help Anand uncover his creative energies he also helped Anand meet Vasuki.

Big wins

Win #1

Who is Vasuki, you ask? Vasuki was a 18 year old debutant on the sets of Tholi Prema. She was outgoing & had big ambitions. The only person on an all Telugu speaking set that didn’t know a word of the language & was well-versed only in Tamil & English.

What does this have to do with Anand Sai? Anand fell for Vasuki the first time she was introduced to him because she was open, non-judgemental, and understood him entirely. They married within the year after that. They have two wonderful kids today - Harshita & Shiv Sandeep.

They work as a team. He creates, she organises. She’s practical, he’s emotional. Two sides of the same coin. Together, they’ve come a long way and are on a journey to help as many people as they possibly can through their work.

Win #2

After Tholi Prema, Anand went on to do art direction for 100+ movies in both the Telugu & Tamil movie industry. As he did more movies, he realised he had a certain affinity for creating temple sets that added so much character to each movie. The unique thing about Anand's sets are that he prefers to create even the sets according to Vaastu. He never had any formal education with Vaastu Shastra - he taught himself. He’s built sets for movies like Yamadonga, Sainikudu, Puli, Brindavanam, Naani, Badrinath, New, Gudumba Shankar, and Baalu.

The grandeur and opulence of these period pieces lent themselves perfectly as settings for destination weddings and thus his foray into creating unique sets for events came into focus. At first these were just designed for friends or colleagues in the industry, but as more people saw the unique sets this quickly became another outlet for his creativity. Anand has designed and constructed unique pieces for many weddings including those of politicians, Business tycoons and ofcourse some of the biggest movie star cast in the Telugu Industry. While he worked on these movies, he was offered the chance to create sets for multiple advertisements. He went on to work for brands like Amruthanjan, Pepsi, and Fair & Lovely.

There remains one common string in all his work: Period Architecture. His work is heavilly influenced by it and it only made him one of the best art director’s in the industry.

To everyone’s shock, Anand Sai decided to take a break from movies for a year or two. He wanted a simpler, more connected way of life and his better half, Vasuki supported his decision.

However, fate had other plans for him.

Unstoppable beast

Sri Chinna Jeeyar entered Anand’s life just as this break had commenced. He chose Anand to conceptualise & design the Statue of Equality. Anand wondered why? Sri Chinna Jeeyar simply smiled & trusted him because he could sense Anand’s spiritual inclination and was very confident about his work. Through the duration of this project, Anand found the mentor he was looking for in Sri Chinna Jeeyar. Without him, Anand would’ve never become the Temple Architect he is today.

Post this, in his quest to keep the dying temple architectural style alive, Anand spent over a year studying period art very closely. He travelled across the country meeting artisans and sculptors to imbue the processes that went into creating temples. He also studied under Dr. Raghunath Mohapatra (a Padma Vibhushan awardee) to learn better. He then went on to study the Aagama Shastras in more detail.

What is the Aagama Shastra?

The Aagama Shastra is a complete guide to temple architecture.

Each Aagama is split into 4 parts.

Part 1 includes philosophical and spiritual knowledge.

Part 2 covers yogic postures and mental discipline.

Part 3 specifies rules for the construction of temples and for sculpting and carving the figures of deities for worship in the temples.

Part 4 includes rules pertaining to the observances of religious rites, rituals, and festivals.

What is the Aagama Shastra?

The Aagama Shastra is a complete guide to temple architecture. Each Aagama is split into 4 parts.

philosophical and spiritual knowledge
yogic postures and mental discipline
specifies rules for the construction of temple
rules pertaining to the observances of religious rites and festivals

The wide scope of the Aagama Shastras helped Anand understand the essence of temples, temple towns, rituals & really how to build them optimally in order for the life around the temple itself to thrive.

When the UNWTO convention was held in Hyderabad, Anand was chosen by the Government of Andhra Pradesh to design the sets for the event. He chose Shilparamam, Taramati Baradari and the Golkonda Fort for the setting. He showcased period architecture at it’s finest by replicating small scale monuments & temples on site - he managed to take the delegation on an history adventure.

This caught Dr. K Chandrashekar Rao’s eye (Current CM of Telangana). He commissioned Anand to redesign the famed Yadadri temple. He was so impressed with Anand’s spectacular ideas for the temple, he commissioned Anand to oversee the construction & delivery of the temple.

There was no looking back after this, Anand is now commissioned to design the Buddha Wheel in the city of Amravati, the Ram Temple in Bhadrachalam, and a replica of the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple in Malkapur.

Anand uses these projects to highlight our culture and our artisans to ensure they persevere.

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