“Fifteen years ago when I read Mithunam, it touched my heart. I wanted to make an experiment (while making a movie) and do something different,” said Tanikella Bharani while explaining why he wanted to make a celluloid version to the story written by Sri Ramana, which won critical acclaim and is also earning money.
He did not bother about returns when he was planning the movie, his first full length directorial venture and is now happy that those who have stopped going to movies are now making it a point to watch his Mithunam. “People are waiting for good movies and they are ready to accept them”, he said.
Tanikella Bharani, who entered the film field as a writer and then turned into an actor, was happiness and satisfaction personified as he talked about Mithunam with reporters here on Sunday along with noted writer, theatre and film personality Gollapudi Maruthi Rao. Audience are identifying themselves with the characters of the movie, who are just two – an old man and his wife – who are living in almost total seclusion after their children went abroad and get in contact with them over telephone and a visit once in two or three years.
For him the reactions from the viewers are great compliments. One young man called up to tell him that he has replaced Aishwarya Rai as screen saver on his mobile with his parents after watching Mithunam. A girl who had popcorn, the mandatory munching during intermission, watched in astonishment the traditional snacks the couple prepared for themselves and got one prepared by her mother. A girl doing PG in France called up Bharani to know if she can get a CD (official one) of his movie since her parents told her about the movie.
“Everyone is saying it is (Mithunam) is his or her own story. One Mr. Challa Subbi Reddy said I owed him some money. When asked why he said I took his story,” said Bharani.
Talking about producing the movie, (which was shot in a small tiled house located on a piece of land near Rajam, on which Bharani has painstakingly raised a garden for three months to suit the movie), he said that a director could do an excellent job if he or she tells the producer what is needed for the movie and receives it and the producer does not interfere as the shooting progresses.
At present he is enjoying the success of the movie, released a month ago, and will direct a movie once a year. Mr. Raghavendra Rao, the noted director, told him to enjoy the success and stop thinking about movies for some time, said Mr. Bharani.
Commenting on the movie, noted writer and actor Gollapudi Maruthi Rao said people would recognise a sincere effort and Mithunam could succeed because of people’s better taste. Mithunam happened when cinema was losing good audience, he noted. Some movies might make money but a Malleswari, a Sankarabharanam, a Pratighatana and movies like them cannot be forgotten.
He felt that the purpose of a movie was to tell and not to sell. Producing or directing a movie was a difficult task but Bharani and producer M. Ananda Rao started Mithunam without hoping much about profits, which was a great risk, Mr. Maruthi Rao said.