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Merlapaka Gandhi on an expressway

Merlapaka Gandhi takes time but promises to deliver

Merlapaka Gandhi takes time but promises to deliver

The director from Renigunta, Merlapaka Gandhi admits he is slow when it comes to writing a script but his screenplay is very racy. Venkatadri Express was a big hit at the box office, his next Express Raja starring Sharwanand and Surabhi is wrapping up.

He chats with us during the post production and reflects on the people who influenced him. “My dad Merlapaka Murali is a writer, he had written 24 novels and is a contemporary of Yandamuri Veerendranath. He would lure me with Rs. 25 for reading a book and gradually I came to a stage where I would ask him for the same money to buy a book. I was a voracious reader and got a grip over the language soon. Along with my dad’s writings, I was also influenced by works of Chalam, Sri Sri and Butcchi Babu.”

About films, he says, “I always wanted to direct film and I studied in LV Prasad institute after my graduation to study cinema.”

At the institute, in between the studies Gandhi made a short film Karmara Devuda and uploaded it on the net, after which he got plenty of offers to direct a film. “That built my confidence and I immediately got to making Venkatadri Express . It was a link-based film that was very thrilling. It took time to move on to Express Raja as I got hitched and took time to settle down,” he says.

Sharwanand is known to be a serious and brooding actor, how did Gandhi get convinced to cast him in this comedy thriller? Gandhi cites Run Raja Run as ample proof that Sharwanand can pull off this story too with ease.

How did Gandhi discover his own funny bone? He quips, “I would watch a lot of Jandhyala’s films, I would see the same film many times and would connect with it. I was in a serious zone once but after Karmara Devuda , I realised I was good at fun films. Express Raja is a situational comedy. I wrote it with an intention of eliciting laughter and fun. The characters in the story have been inspired by the people I bumped into or have observed at some point of time in my life. For instance Sapatagiri in Venkatadri Express , he reminded me of a friend who would never answer the phone because he loved listening to the caller tune! There is another special character you will like in this film. It is a partial road movie and actors like Uvasi, Saptagiri and Brahmaji will give you a good time. It is releasing on January 14.”


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Printable version | May 21, 2022 4:06:31 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/merlapaka-gandhi-on-an-expressway/article7919376.ece