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Maruthi on 'Shailaja Reddy Alludu', Chaitanya & more

As Maruthi awaits the release of 'Shailaja Reddy Alludu' on Sept 13, he talks about the film, why it's unique, his experience of working with the three main actors, his future projects and more.  

Fights between the arrogant Attha and the heroic Alludu are not new to Telugu cinema. How different is 'SRA' going to be?

It's not a regular story where the hero loves the heroine and the latter's arrogant mother comes as a spanner in the wheel.  The story is different.  In fact, it's so different from all the films that I have made in the past.  I have watched the final copy along with RR.  I am totally satisfied.  It's a family entertainer.

Naga Chaitanya seems to have done a story with a wide span.  How satisfied are you with his performance?

An actor attains maturity as he grows in experience.  I am seeing that trait in Naga Chaitanya.  In some scenes in 'SRA', his acting reminded me of Nagarjuna garu's performance, especially in emotional scenes.  'SRA' is a rom-com in the first half and a family entertainer in the second.  We have seen Chaitanya as a lover boy so far.  In 'SRA', you will see new sides to his talent.  He is subtle and has taken the script to the next level without going over-the-top.

What are his strengths in your opinion?

He has got a lot of patience.  He always thinks about only positive things.  He is a no-nonsense guy.  And since 'SRA' is the kind of story that completely suits his body language, it's all the more cool.  As a professional, he likes only story-based titles.  That's why I didn't have to go in for a title like 'Ooriki Monagadu'.  Akkineni heroes have always had a high success rate with family stories.  With 'SRA', I have done things within the confines of what works commercially.  

What type of equations can we expect between Chaitanya's character and Ramya Krishna's?

As I said, this is not a challenge that goes on between an Attha and her Alludu.  It's a completely different movie.  How does an ordinary guy become Shaila Reddy's Alludu is what is the crux.  It's not about what happens after he becomes an Alludu.  This is a different film for me as a director.  This is a full-on family genre for me, and it packs in all emotions. 

Aren't both Ramya Krishna and Anu Emmanuel egoistic in the film?

Everybody is egoistic.  As we grow, so does our ego.  When we have everything in our lives, we never care about others.  That's when 'Aham' sets in.  When we face a failure, we can't take it.  That's when problems begin.  Yes, the two characters are too egoistic in the movie.

Is Ramya Krishna playing a negative character?

We have always seen the Attha being made a villain in movies.  But the Attha in this film is not a villain.  I must say that Ramya Krishna garu has done a fine job as Shailaja Reddy.

What's the rationale behind the title?

It has been very long since we saw a film that revolves around an Alludu.  I started out with that idea and wrote the story. Thus, I chose this title.  Moreover, Naga Chaitanya had never got such a title in the past.  I could have gone in for some other title but 'SRA' is one title that the family audience would find attractive.  The reach is great.  We have seen titles like 'Samarasimha Reddy', 'Chennakesava Reddy' and powerful characters like Narasimha Naidu and Indrasena Reddy.  With 'SRA', one more powerful character joins the league.

What kind of a role is Anu Emmanuel playing?

The way she is in real life, that's how she is in the movie (minus the negative ego part). We felt she would be very apt for the film.  She is very realistic as the heroine.  

The film was supposed to release on August 31.  Why the delay?

I went to Kerala for post-production works.  That's when the floods started. I hoped that they would recede.  But they only got exacerbated.  Since music director Gopi Sundar's relatives were stuck in the floors, he was tensed.  I felt it wouldn't be proper to ask him to complete the tasks.  So, we took this gap.

You have tried different stories in your career.  What keeps you going?

In the past, there used to be many genres.  From political dramas to socio-fantasy films, they used to make them all.  But a few genres stopped being made in recent years.  As a director, I would like to try new genres.  Experiments are being appreciated these days. For example, I like making movies related to disorders.  

Are you going to produce small films under your banner?

I have decided not to produce small movies unless I and my team are really confident. When someone else is directing a story that I have written, I can influence him only to an extent.  It's not like it's easy to produce a small film.  It's very hard to make the audience come to the theatres with actors who are not known faces.  With 'Ee Rojullo', I could do so with a trailer.  It has to be magical.  

What are your next projects?

I will be doing a film for a joint production of Geetha Arts and UV Creations.  I will also do a film in the production of Manjua garu (Mahesh Babu's sister).  I am keen on working with Vijay Deverakonda.  He too has evinced interest in the past.  I have to think about the planned film with Allari Naresh.