'Veera Simha Reddy', as per Mythri Movie Makers, grossed Rs 54 Cr on Day 1 (Thursday). In this interview, director Gopichand Malineni talks about what is working for the film. He says that the family audience are loving the sister-brother emotion inherent to the second half.
A fanboy of Balakrishna, Malineni also says that Mythri Movie Makers offered him a project even before 'Krack' became a big hit in 2021.
I am very happy with the grand reception. When the opportunity to direct Balayya Babu came my way, I saw it as a great responsibility. Thanks to 'Akhanda' and the talk show Unstoppable, his popularity has gone up by leaps and bounds. Everyone is now his fan. I was mindful of his vastly enhanced image and worked toward giving the best fanboy moments.
I molded the script to suit Balayya Babu's 'God of Masses' image. 'Samara Simha Reddy' and 'Narasimha Naidu' are considered his biggest landmark movies. Today's generation hasn't watched such factionist action movies. So, 'VSR' had to be made.
After 'Krack', expectations from me went up. The sister sentiment was kept as a surprise element. Balaya Babu's teary scenes, the portions where he talks emotionally with his wife and other such situations in 'VSR' have clicked big time with the family audience. Balayya Babu's biggest hits were greatly liked by the family audience. After the first half of 'VSR', everyone lauded the fanboy moments. After watching the second half, they lauded the family emotions.
On the Ram-Laxman duo's stunts: I have had a very strong rapport with them. They had composed each and every fight in 'Krack'. We discuss a lot and design the action blocks like scenes.
Usually, sisters in our films are good-natured. In 'VSR', the sister seethes with rage and bays for her brother's blood. Only Varalaxmi Sarathkumar could have played such a character in a convincing manner. Balayya Babu had watched 'Krack' just before I pitched her name. He gave a thumbs-up.
The actual story has been told in the second half and my focus was more on getting it right. Elevation scenes are more in the first half. It is not easy to move the audience to tears, which is what the second half of 'VSR' does. The elevation scenes were easy for me to handle because I am a fan of Balayya Babu. The climax scene in which Varalaxmi's character gets emotional touched the audience.
On political dialogues: They are organic to the film. Balayya Babu's character wants to set up a factory so that the problem of unemployment in Seems gets resolved. As part of the story, political lines had to be there. Nothing was forced. Even the line about the 'name on the board' is entirely related to the story. I can't help it if people lend it a political colour. Nobody is saying that the dialogues have to be removed.
On Reddy caste name: I don't think anybody would be offended. The hero of my film is a Reddy. And he is idealistic and upright. Seema people are the ones who completely supported our unit when we shot the movie in Kurnool and Anantapur.
My son acted in 'Krack' and he has acted in 'VSR' as well. It's not like I want to cast him in all my films. The script needed it. A child had to give a hero-elevation monologue in the second half. Since I know my son's calibre, I cast him.
In 'Waltair Veerayya', the step-brother element is there. In my movie, it is the step-sister sentiment. It's purely a coincidence. I didn't have any discussions with Bobby Kolli, the director of 'WV'.
I stick to the same set of people for my films. Art director AS Prakash and the fight masters Ram-Laxman duo have been a constant. So also composer Thaman. He makes it easy for me. He likes me because I give him the space to compose the best possible score. I don't rush through scenes, and that lets the composer flesh out his score. For 'VSR', a lot of live score was done. That's why the quality you see is so fab.
Mythri Movie Makers is the best banner I have worked with. I want to work with them again and again. I was going through a low phase before the release of 'Krack'. I received a call from the office of producers Naveen Yerneni and Y Ravi Shankar. They offered me a project even though 'Krack' was yet to prove itself at the box office. I told them I had scripts for Balayya Babu and Pawan Kalyan. That's how the journey with the banner started.
For now, I am completely immersed in the world of 'VSR'. Till the other day, I was involved as a director. And now, I am involved as a pure fanboy! I am a fan of mass movies.