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‘We want to offer that fresh experience,’ says Venky Atluri

It is commonly perceived that one works hard for a debut film, putting their heart and soul to present a picture-perfect story but when it comes to the second, there is hardly any time to focus on the script, the emphasis being on finding combinations and setting up a budget and a team. Due to a lackadaisical approach, second films mostly fail. On the eve of the release of Mr. Majnu, director Venki Atluri admits he is worried about the second film syndrome and he is on his toes in the final days of release. He admits, “Yes, the pressure is there and I’m trying to handle it. The 80 days of shoot might be important, but the last 10 days are more important. Films are made in the editing room. It isn’t necessary that everything that we shoot is the final product. We should sustain our interest till the release of the film — be it RR (re-recording) or picture quality, the editing team or other departments. We work on the film 18 to 19 hours in the last 10 days.”

Venky considers the opinion of his production team and says each comment from them matters. He listens carefully and says he learnt this part from producer Dil Raju who always told him that no advice is bad advice.

Venki had both these stories (Tholi Prema and Mr. Majnu) much before, in fact Mr Majnu was his first script and always wanted to make it with one of the Akkinenis. He says firmly, “I am a fan of the Akkinenis. I narrated this script to Akhil few years back but started working on it only after Tholi Prema got released. I didn’t take much time to begin this new project.”

When it’s brought to his notice that Mr. Majnu is being compared with Ranbir Kapoor’s Bachna ae haseeno, Venky says, “I am aware that there is a comparison with Orange and Bachna ae hasino. Tholi Prema was compared to Yeh jawani hai diwani. They are not the same. There is a dialogue in Orange, which might sound identical... naku ala love cheyatam chetha kadhu. No, my film is not inspired by any of these films. Whatever we showed in trailer is first 20 minutes of the movie.”

Venky feels most love stories have an identical outline — a couple meet, fall in love, spar, separate and meet again. Here too there are lot of emotions and bonding. He says he’s inspired by yesteryear classic Prema Nagar in which ANR plays a drunkard, a ladies man yet has a good heart. He says a playboy can have a good heart. There is a line from Majnu: Na kosam yedusthe na tappu kaadhu, na valla yedusthe na tappu.Venki adds, “In the contemporary world, hookups or breakups happen mutually, hence one sees less of heartbreaks.”

London calling

About chosing London for his locations, Venky says, shooting permissions come easy, equipment is easily available which is why he shot Tholi Prema there and again a major portion of Mr. Majnu unfolds there. It works well logistically too. With one phone call, things get arranged. He says as a matter of fact, “In the US, we don’t get to shoot ancient structures. If you want to show architecture, London seems to be a best pick. People like to see something new and we want to offer that fresh experience. Though story comes first, there should be a surprising element to draw a new set of audience.”

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 12:23:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/director-venky-atluri-of-mr-majnu-hopes-to-overcome-the-second-film-syndrome/article26087893.ece

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