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'PAPA' is a love story spanning ten years: Avasarala Srinivas

Saturday, March 4, 2023 • Telugu Comments
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Director Avasarala Srinivas awaits the theatrical release of 'Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi' on March 17. This is his third film as a director. In this interview, he says that 'Oohalu Gusagusalade', which was a romantic comedy, made for an enjoyable writing experience. His second film, which was 'Jyo Achyutananda', was a story of two brothers.

His latest film is a love story featuring Naga Shaurya and Malvika Nair. "Its story traverses ten years and seven phases in the lives of the lead pair," says the director, adding that he spent one and a half years merely writing the script. It was not a mean feat to write a coming-of-age love story that spans a decade.

In this interview, Srinivas fields questions and answers them with candour:

The recently-released teaser gives the impression that there is an acting backdrop in the movie. Is it true?

The hero and heroine, while in college, participate in a stage play. That's all there is to their rehearsal in private.

How do you describe the film? Is it a comedy or is it dramatic?

'PAPA' is a real film with true-to-life scenes and situations. Every conversation is organic. The lives of the lead pair reflect everyday life.

Did you write the script keeping Naga Shaurya and Malvika in mind?

It doesn't work like that for me. I wrote the script without imagining any hero. Shaurya is an eager actor who always wants to try something new. He is a well-prepared actor. And his excitement levels kept me motivated during the making of the film. As for Malvika, she understood the emotional depth of the script, and immediately accepted the film. Her connection with the story made it easy for me.

The project was finalized well before the pandemic even began. This is 2023. Did the delay frustrate you?

The project was firmed up in 2019. We were planning to conduct a crucial schedule in the US when the pandemic set in. The Visa process was stalled. Later, the conditionalities were too tough to meet. We changed the backdrop to the UK.

The gap of about two years didn't affect me much. If anything, it was a blessing in disguise. The span of the story is 10 years. When the story begins, the lead pair is around 18 years of age. Despite the pandemic and the passage of time, 'PAPA' remains relevant, as we are fundamentally the same as humans before and now.

You spend years on each project. Your first film happened about nine years ago. How do you see it?

To me, the scale of the project is not a priority. 'Oohalu Gusagusalade' gave me more satisfaction than even a Rs 100-Cr movie. And I spend a lot of time, up to a year, writing the script. Commerciality doesn't weigh on my mind. I believe the style of a film evolves naturally.

How do you differentiate your two previous directorials and the present one?

'Oohalu Gusagusalade' was a comedy. 'Jyo..' was about the dynamics between two siblings. On the other hand, 'PAPA' taps into human behaviour in different situations.

The song 'Kanula Chatu Meghama' is lovely. Kalyani Malik has said that it is his career's best song. What is your creative comfort level with him like?

I have known him since the days of 'Ashta Chamma'. During the music sittings for 'Oohalu..', I engaged with him on a creative level thoroughly. Since then, I have enjoyed working with him. And he too treats me as a special director and goes the extra mile to give his best shot.

You have also written the dialogue for Telugu versions of 'Brahmastra' and 'Avatar 2'. How was the experience?

It was because my writing for 'Brahmastra' was appreciated that 'Avatar 2' came my way. Given how the Telugu translations of Hollywood movies are mocked by the audience, I wrote 'Avatar 2' carefully. Writing for the movies was a nice experience, as they both belong to different industries, languages, and genres.

You are doing 'Kanyasulkam', a web series, for SonyLIV. Krish Jagarlamudi is its showrunner. Tell us about that.

I am acting in the series. Anjali, Naresh, Murali Sharma, and Varsha Bollamma and others are also part of it. It will be streamed this Summer.

Many audience members are waiting for you to team up with Natural Star Nani. When is it happening?

Nani keeps complete trust in me. Our union has to do justice to the faith he has in me. It will happen when it has to.

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