Siddhu Jonnalagadda, the writer and lead man of 'Maa Vintha Gaadha Vinuma', is in a happy space these days. Months after the release and success of 'Krishna And His Leela', he had the Aha release for Diwali. In this exclusive chat with Ragalahari, the actor-writer talks about what is unique about the movie, working experience with Seerat Kapoor and Tanikella Bharani, how he derives inspirations for his characters, why he hates playing perfect individuals and more.
Doing love stories
'Guntur Talkies' didn't give me the kind of break I had expected although it did well at the box-office. That's when I wanted to do a love story. This time, I wrote something that is real, a story that unfolds in a college. I infused my experiences from my Engineering days in the story.
Working with director Aditya Mandala
Aditya has been my friend since before we collaborated on the project. We never demarcated our responsibilities in a water-tight manner. That's why the functioning was smooth.
Chemistry with Seerat Kapoor
This is my second film with Seerat. I have a lot of comfort with her, now that I have known her for more than two years. That familiarity kind of translates on the screen. This role demanded a little more than what her previous films demanded of her. I have seen her put in a lot of hard work for the role.
The best appreciation has come from Rana Daggubati, who has called me a Lockdown Star! I have had two releases during the lockdown. I have no complaints.
Culture policing in the movie
Culture is more about your upbringing rather than religious beliefs or rituals. It's about respecting others, recognizing other humans. That's what it is to me. I don't agree with the criticism that my film promotes boozing. If we have a problem with drinking, we should have an issue with violence in our movies. Our film only reflects what youngsters do in real life. At the end of the day, people have to be smart enough to understand that a film has to be watched as a mere film.
Internet era has its problems
Siddhu and Vinita's lives in the movie go awry not because they got married and celebrated the way they wanted to. They land in trouble because their video goes viral in the era of the Internet. We are living in a culture of instant messaging. We should all take one second before we invade someone's privacy. Way too much familiarity breeds a lot of contempt. We should pause and think before doing anything in this age of social media.
Working with Tanikella
Tanikella Bharani garu involved a lot with his scenes. He sat down with me taking a lot of special interest and gave inputs about how the dialogues have to be. He would call me 'Durmargudu' but would enjoy after reading the scene.
I have written Fish Venkat garu's character based on my observations of people. Wherever I go, be it a salon or some other place, I observe people. If we try to understand the barber, for example, we will understand a lot of things about him. I steal their identities and make them into my characters.
Flawed characters attract me
I have always wanted to play someone with a flaw. Flawless characters don't interest me. Flaws needn't necessarily be bad. Anything in excess can be a flaw. I will have a lot to do with flawed characters, for which the sky is the limit.
The trap called social media
The very reason that I am not much there on social media is the genesis of 'MVGV'. Social media is a trap. It lures you into thinking that your self-worth is associated with the number of Likes you get on SM. Your self-worth depends on your achievements, your doings, not your life on SM.
I am inclined to do all kinds of characters. 'Narudi Brathuke Natana' is a crime comedy thriller, which is quite interesting and entertaining. I am doing two films with Sithara Entertainments. One more project is on the cards. It will be announced soon. As of now, I don't intend to turn a director. I am not inspired by anybody as an actor. I learn a lot from Ranbir Kapoor, Dhanush, Leonardo DiCaprio and suchlike.
OTT vs Theatre
OTT is saving us when theatres have been shut down. OTT and theatres can't replace each other. They offer different sorts of experiences. Exposure-wise, OTT won't change things much. But monetarily, it can make a lot of difference.A hit film in theatres can collect up to Rs 20 Cr.
Nice feedback about 'MVGV'
I am glad that people have understood the movie. Although a few reviews were negative, the overall feedback from commoners has been a booster. The USP of the movie is that it rejuvenates a tired person looking for relaxation. It's a 100-minute break for such a person.