'Most Eligible Bachelor' was released on October 15. In this interview, director Baskar talks about the movie, working with Akhil Akkineni and Pooja Hegde, the response to the Dasara release, his approach to telling a story, and more.
I analyze the incidents in my life and build stories around them. From time to time, I have picked ideas from my experiences. I lead my life spontaneously. At the same time, I am also a contemplative person. My father is not the 'Bommarillu' type of father. He gave me a lot of freedom since childhood. The father's character in my first movie was inspired by a real-life character. Several incidents narrated in that film had been seen by me.
Much thought went into writing 'MEB'. I think I have shown 40% of what I had observed. The rest 60%, I hope, I will convey in the post-release interviews (laughs).
'MEB' is a light-hearted movie that actually conveys a heavy topic. I simplified things because I wanted to present my understanding.
As a director, I am never satisfied 100%. There is always a lot that is left to be said in a film. But when I see everyone around me happy about my film, I feel happy, too.
The humour quotient in first half of 'MEB' has struck the right chord with the audience. I didn't infuse drama because it would have been too heavy. The touch of humour is what makes all the difference. I don't like dry narration. The family audience are enjoying the scenes a lot.
There is a difference between living with someone and staying under the same roof in a marriage. That's what 'MEB' shows. My film doesn't advocate separation. It shows what is to be done by couples to stay together and be emotionally attached.
The film takes off with husband-wife jokes we read on WhatsApp. The jokes are not by me. But I infused the everyday jokes as the titles roll. I drew them from the Internet, magazines, etc. There is always an emotion behind the 'adjustment' in a marital relationship. That's why those jokes strike a chord with us.
I didn't want to write a flashback segment for Pooja Hegde's character. I wanted a single hard-hitting line to convey everything about her past. I cogitated a lot to ensure it. She has to convey her past through a joke and that's why she is a stand-up comedian.
We got time after the pandemic set in. I had the time to add depth to the script. I realized that, in any marriage, one or both spouses feel that they are not getting enough love. Accordingly, I improvized the script. 'MEB' says that you have to show love, show emotional attachment.
Jokes/sarcasm are born of pain/emotions. 'MEB' says that hope is what we all have. When there is some effort in a relationship, mending can happen. That's the hope our story offers.
I love music a lot. I enjoy good songs. If the situation is right, I ensure that I invest time and energy in the composition. From lyrics to the final rough tune, I involve myself in the process. It's not easy to judge a tune.
Visuals can be raw, classy, dusky or anything. 'MEB' needed classy frames. We discuss the locations, make-up, the backdrop and all with the cinematographer. If the visual doesn't suit the mood of the story, the appeal won't be strong.
Akhil is very fair and we have to tone down his fairness a bit. He looks even fairer when the make-up is not on.
I forgot about the success of 'Bommarillu' just four days after its release. I don't take any success seriously. But it was a flawless movie whose screenplay I treasure to this day. The script of that film was the labour of several collective experiences.
I did toy with the idea of doing OTT at one point of time. So far, I haven't signed on the dotted line. I derive the maximum kick when I direct a movie.