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Director Nandini Reddy on Kalyana Vaibhogame, marriages, then and now

Film Director Nandini Reddy Photo: K. Gajendran  

HYDERABAD: It takes years for some stories to become full-fledged films. Take Nandini Reddy’s Kalyana Vaibhogame. She had written it nine years ago, before she made Ala Modalaindi. The “romantic dramedy”, as she calls it, looks at marriage from the points of view of different generations.

“Mani Ratnam’s Mouna Ragam is one of my favourite films. In Mouna Ragam, one person doesn’t want to be in a marriage. It got me thinking what if both don’t want to be in it?” says Nandini.

Nandini feels she is in a better space to narrate this story today. “My perspectives have changed. I am now a fence-sitter, a middle of the road commentator who can look at what the younger and older generations say. Each family has different kinds of people, each doling out advice on marriage. Yet, every generation feels no one understands them. There are no villains; everyone is right in their space,” she says.

With her first film, Nandini was unsure if people will warm up to an unconventional romantic comedy. They sure did. She wants to forget her second film Jabardasth as a bad dream. Wise by the experience, she is confident of being a better storyteller today. Nandini drew from her observations. She saw the transformation in her male friends, from the phase of dating many women in the campus to being protective fathers of young daughters. Incidents from real life crept into the film. “My mother once walked into a pub in Brigade Road, Bangalore, much to the horror of me and my brother. This film has a scene where the mother, after visiting a temple, walks into a pub with a coconut and flowers. My grandmother had the habit of taking out both her happiness and anger in the kitchen. Hell hath no fury like her cooking scorned. Aishwarya, who plays the hero’s mother, has a similar trait,” shares Nandini.

She notes the changes over time, from grandparents who looked at marriage as a bond that lasted seven generations to an age where secondshaadi.com is reality. “My mom was married at 19. We’d consider that ridiculous,” Nandini observes.

She went through pre-nuptial agreements that take a practical look at money matters if a marriage were to fail. “But what is it doing to our relationships? Youngsters look at marriage as a burden. The earlier generation took pride in owning a Fiat and maintaining it for decades. Be it a house or refrigerator, everything was nurtured. Now, everything is disposable. This percolates into our relationship. Anything permanent scares us,” Nandini discusses.

Kalyana… presents two people who find themselves in a similar spot and discusses friendships, relationships and romance. Nandini narrated the story to a few established actors. “They would tell me ‘I love the story, but…’ and it was a big but. Then a friend told me that I wasn’t looking at the right people. All I needed was two young actors.”

Nandini saw Chandamama Kathalu and was impressed with Naga Shaurya. Later, when she attended the audio launch of Yevade Subramanyam, she liked how Malavika Nair took to the stage with a bunch of children, oblivious to the starry presence around her.

The film’s music by Kalyan Koduri has created a positive buzz. Nandini is all praise for his work. “When I first heard his songs in Aithe, I went looking for this man who had a different sound. He is one of the most underrated composers. This film has six songs in different genres and he has come up with fantastic songs,” she says. Kalyana Vaibhogame was shot in Hyderabad and Coorg. “We didn’t have money to go anywhere else,” laughs Nandini. The film is likely to release in the third week of January.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 12:12:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Director-Nandini-Reddy-on-Kalyana-Vaibhogame-marriages-then-and-now/article13994092.ece

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