'Baby' has been declared a blasting hit at the box office. In this interview, director Sai Rajesh talks about the making of the teen love saga at length.
The filmmaker talks about the casting choices, business aspects and more. "Director Sukumar garu has praised our movie like anything. A genius like him heaping praises on 'Baby' feels so great," Sai Rajesh says.
In 2015, there was a viral image of a college girl from Tamil Nadu who two-timed and fooled her two guys. A crime was committed and the image was brutal. I wanted to know the perspective of the girl. Why did she have to be in a relationship with two guys? That's what made me write this story with a different climax.
I happened to come across the childhood pics of Anand Deverakonda; I used to follow his father on Facebook. 'Dorasani' was out by then but not 'Middle Class Melodies'. As for Vaishnavi, I wanted the role to be done only by a Telugu speaker. The character is driven by expressions. It is impossible to do tinkering during the dubbing phase with such a role. Many talented girls didn't want to take on the character.
My producer (SKN) did ask me to consider a couple of other choices when Anand was yet to be signed up. I thought of pitching the story to a hero but he clearly declined the project because he hadn't liked my first directorial, 'Hrudaya Kaleyam'. He didn't even listen to the story. Many in the industry used to perceive that I am a cheap filmmaker. To me, making a 'Hrudaya Kaleyam' and ensuring the release of such a film was harder. When the film didn't work, I spent a sleepless night. I worked on my second film with a vengeance.
I wrote 'Colour Photo' and 'Baby' almost simultaneously. After the former won a National Award, 'Baby' received a boost in terms of commercial deals. The shoot of the film was completed by 50% by then.
'Baby' was released with table profits. My producer was safe. I knew that the film was very long (170 minutes). The length alone could have resulted in a box-office flop. But I stuck to my guns because my producer was safe. Only my career would have been affected had 'Baby' flopped.
The scene where Vaishnavi and Viraj make out has been misunderstood by many. While her body enjoys it, her heart is agonized. That's what I wanted to convey.
I was clear about the background score even during the scripting stage. Thanks to BGM being ready before the commencement of the shoot, it was easy to judge the output and execute the film. I am a fan of great BGMs. There are instances where I watched some movies a dozen times only to enjoy their BGMs.
'Hrudaya Kaleyam' was shot with a bound script. In the case of 'Baby', the thinking had to be constantly evolving and changing due to the psychological nature of the story. Since I have experience as a producer, I used to make changes on set keeping some considerations in mind. This strategy of writing on the go (while on set) shouldn't be followed by those who make big-ticket movies.
The line where 'Kallu' and 'Kaallu' is used by the heroine's friend is problematic. I shouldn't have written the line. It is one dialogue I regret.
People are getting to learn about the story of 'Baby' just by reading the flurry of memes on social media. While most memes are enjoyable, some of them character-assassinating Vaishnavi are in poor taste.
Anand thinks and behaves like an auto driver who can't digest the fact that Vaishnavi has cheated him. That's why he begs her to leave him. It is because he loves her deeply that he fears that he might forgive her.