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Ravikanth Perepu: ‘Krishna and his Leela’ is inspired by real life

Seerat Kapoor and Sidhu Jonnalagadda in the film   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Ravikanth Perepu was like a whizkid when he débuted as a director and screenwriter with the Telugu thriller Kshanam (2016), in collaboration with actor-writer Adivi Sesh. Four years later, Ravikanth is awaiting the release of his second directorial venture, Krishna And His Leela, which he co-wrote with actor Sidhu Jonnalagadda. The relationship drama co-produced by Suresh Productions, Viacom 18, and Sanjay Reddy, also starring Shraddha Srinath, Seerat Kapoor and Shalini Vadnikatti, will stream on an OTT platform later this month.

Ravikanth Perepu

Ravikanth Perepu   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

When we met for this interview at a café, a month before the COVID-19 lockdown, Ravikanth stated that in the last four years, he has grown and become calmer. The 29-year-old admits he had felt the pressure to deliver another hit after Kshanam.

However, as his second project took time, he thought of why he had entered this field — for the love of cinema — and decided to keep it that way. “I realised I shouldn’t be consumed by the anxiety of having to be a part of a race,” he says.

There were offers to direct thrillers but he was keen to explore another genre.

The idea of Krishna And His Leela had been with him for a few years. But this wasn’t the film he set out to make soon after Kshanam. He had pitched another idea to Rana Daggubati and Venkatesh, in vain. In hindsight, Ravikanth says those weren’t apt projects. However, when he pitched Krishna And His Leela to Rana, the actor and his father Suresh Babu came on board to produce it.

Long-time friends Ravikanth and Sidhu wrote the screenplay in two months. “It was a coincidence that I’ve written both my films with my lead actors,” says Ravikanth, adding, “Sesh was a huge help during Kshanam.”

Relationships matter

With Krishna And His Leela, Ravikanth is confident the story will appeal to the young audience. A teaser released during Valentine’s Day showed Sidhu in love with three women and wondering why he has to choose between them. “We’ve narrated the situation with humour, and without an intention to offend anyone,” says Ravikanth.

Shraddha Srinath and Sidhu Jonnalagadda

Shraddha Srinath and Sidhu Jonnalagadda   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Ravikanth says the story stemmed from observing people around him and their outlook towards relationships: “That’s why we said ‘inspired by true rumours’ in the poster. While we drew reference from real-life situations, we fictionalised all the incidents in the film.”

The film is set in Bengaluru and Vizag and was shot in Bengaluru, Vizag, and Nandi Halls, while the crew explored Coorg and Ladakh for two songs. Working with a young set of actors, Ravikanth talks about the ease with which they shared their ideas and bonded well enough to discuss anything under the sun. Does the film reflect the views of those who grew up in the 90s, like him? “Only to a small extent. My views changed, especially after I got married [to singer and dubbing artiste Veena Ghantasala],” says Ravikanth.

Trusted team

Some of the technical crew of Kshanam journeyed with him through this film as well. Cinematographer Shaneil Deo shot a portion of the film and later Saiprakash took over, since the film was stalled for a while and Shaneil got busy with other projects. Music composer Sricharan Pakala is on board as well.

Sidhu Jonnalagadda and Shalini Vadnikatti

Sidhu Jonnalagadda and Shalini Vadnikatti   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Ravikanth, who hails from Vizag, had studied Chemical Engineering before pursuing cinema. Even while Kshanam was being made, he remembers how his parents were concerned that he should have a regular job. Once the film was released, he had their complete support. His father is a banker and mother a painter; he hopes to organise an art exhibition showcasing her work someday.

Moving forward, Ravikanth has a bunch of stories and is already planning films for a theatrical experience as well as the web space in collaboration with his friends. The bottomline for any project, he says, will be to let the story be of prime importance, even if it were to have an A-list star on board.

“I have seen a number of bad films and at least know what not to make,” he says, signing off.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 6:14:11 PM |

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