Actor-writer Siddhu and debutant director Aditya Mandala hold forth on their soon-to-stream Telugu rom-com
Krishna And His Leela (KAHL) is among the few Telugu films that were received warmly among OTT releases. The film gave its lead actor and co-writer Siddhu a much-needed break and the recognition that he had sought for a decade. The audience also took a new look at one of the film’s leading women, Seerat Kapoor. Bringing them together again is Maa Vintha Gadha Vinuma (MVGV), the Telugu rom-com directed by debutant Aditya Mandala and scheduled to stream on Aha from November 13.
Siddhu describes MVGV as “a relatable new-age romantic comedy. Krishna was charming; he knew how to speak to women. My character in MVGV is an average Joe who can be an idiot at times.”
Siddhu has known KAHL director Ravikanth Perepu and Aditya since the days of Ravikanth’s directorial debut Kshanam. The friends would bounce ideas off each other. Siddhu was then working on new stories to create better opportunities for himself in the Telugu cinema.
“I didn’t know anything about screenplay writing back then. But I was good at writing dialogues and conversations. I liked the idea of a rom-com involving a regular guy next door and a focussed, driven female character. MVGV developed as a journey of the two characters,” says Siddhu.
He narrated the story to Ravikanth and Aditya, and the latter remembers how impactful it was: “I had a hangover of sorts, of the narration for two days. Soon, Siddhu called and asked if I would like to direct it, and I jumped at the opportunity,” says Aditya.
An Engineering graduate, Aditya knew Ravikanth from his campus days in Vizag. Passionate about filmmaking, he too moved to Hyderabad. Kshanam was their training ground. “We were a small crew and we were all multitasking,” he remembers.
That experience came in handy for MVGV. “A lot of us handled many responsibilities. We would sit together and brainstorm for editing, music, production design… and the crew slogged. We did our best to credit everyone for their additional work. I want this film to work for all the boys, and Seerat,” says Siddhu, who is also the creative producer of the film.
Aditya recalls their search for the female protagonist: “We wanted someone who is beautiful, calm, level headed and appears unapproachable. We once saw Seerat come to a party sporting straight hair, looking different from her usual self. She gave us an impressive audition.”
Siddhu has also sung a qawwali for the film. MVGV has songs by composers Sricharan Pakala, Ravi Sharma, and the Rohit and Joy duo who has also worked on the background score. “Siddhu and I wanted music that’s fresh. In their background score, Rohit and Joy have brought about a synergy between the styles of the different composers. We have also managed to bring in a blend of Carnatic classical and fusion music,” Aditya explains.
Siddhu says the film is more than a rom-com. It discusses the impact of social media on young minds and the desperation for likes and shares; there are also musings on life from the point of view of an aging cop (Tanikella Bharani). “The story also talks about how one has to be man enough to accept responsibility and own up to mistakes,” adds Siddhu.
The actor says life after KAHL has been “fantastic” with new doors opening up in Telugu cinema. Siddhu does not like to dwell on the chequered and rough journey till now: “I was desperate for a break but I don’t like to talk about it; I am impatient in my personal life and have the attention span of a goldfish. In my professional space, I have a lot of perseverance and that has helped.”