Vimal Krishna is an emerging talent in the Telugu film industry. His debut cinema Narudi Brathuku Natana (Everything is an act) is on floors, the title is taken from the song from Sagara Sangamami. Vimal is from Vishakapatanam and he finished his academics there. Director Ravikanth Perepu and Vimal were classmates and were wanting to get into films. They would constantly talk about how to make it big in the industry. Vimal moved to Hyderabad eight years back, started off as an actor in Ladies And Gentleman that was produced by Madhura Sreedhar; his role was that of a friend. “Right from college days, I always wanted to be an actor and came here for that purpose but destiny took me here as a director. I don’t have any background in cinema and after I came here, my cousin who is Madhura Sreedhar’s friend helped me get into the team so that I could get an experience of film and film-making. I lapped up the opportunity and after doing that I realised I need to learn a lot about cinema and acting. I sought admission in a theatre called Samhara run by Ratna Sekhar. It was a two or a three months course and a couple of stage plays gave me confidence. That camera fear disappeared and so did the stage fear. Had I done that earlier I probably would have acted better in Ladies And Gentleman. After the stint in theatre I acted in two films Bommala Ramaram and Vasham. The latter was a crowd funded film which didn’t do well in theatres,” he says.
He further says, “When I look back, I feel that everything happens for a reason. Bommala Ramaram taught me how not to make a film. Vasham had its limitations and I saw the struggle the director had gone through to finish the film. When you make a movie, I am not questioning anyone’s talent and backing, you need a push from behind, it could be from some big banner. Ravikant was busy with the post production of Kshanam and I had these two films. I would visit him on and off and observe how the post production would go on. The two films that I did weren’t releasing. I was free for a year after doing these and in those two years I didn’t bag any opportunity. I would audition and people would remark I did well and they would never get back to me. I must have visited around 100 offices.” Vimal then decided to get into the direction team of Krishna and his Leela which was being produced by Suresh Productions. He was sure that working in a bigger production house would help him get exposure and contacts as well while on the job. He would participate in the story and script writing discussions and doesn’t forget to credit Ravikanth for giving him the platform. He slowly began falling in love with the filmmaking process, not just acting. Ravikanth at the sets gave him the freedom to discuss and help the actors with their lines and performances and that is when he realised, he could explain the scenes so freely behind the scenes and couldn’t act so well before the camera.
He adds, “I was able to act and show more freely behind the camera and would constantly introspect and also it is always good to know your strengths and weaknesses. While I was in Krishna And His Leela, my friend Ashwin was making his debut as a director. He did some short films and told me about his intention to cast me in the movie. He knew I was in the direction team and sat me down and said I should give it one last try. I acted in it and the film was called Jessie. I did it and the film wrapped up by the time Krishna And His Leela was getting ready to release. I carried the guilt of wasting one year of my life and honestly wanted to figure out what I need to do. Now I am clear in my mind. Jessie did decent business at the box office, it was a psychological horror. It didn’t reach all because of inadequate promotion. I carried a good talk nevertheless. Towards the end of Krishna And His Leela, I started writing a story and by the time Jessie released, I was ready with a solid script. I also finished the patch work of Krishna And His Leela too. My script was ready with an one hour narration and I visited a few producers and gave them the narration. They liked it. I and Siddhu Jonallagadda wrote the script though the idea was mine. Sidddhu loved the script and from there we wrote a proper screenplay. He came up with the dialogues. During the making of Jessie, I was very clear about what I wanted in life and that is to be a director. When I was small, I was the captain of the cricket team. I love leading.”
After the release of Krishna And His Leela, Vimal’s story was pitched to Vamsi, the producer of Sitara Entertainments and he liked it. The journey of directing the debut film began at the ending stage of the lockdown. Is Siddhu being shown as philanderer or an unsure guy again? No, the audience apparently will see a different Siddhu in this film. In this story, Siddhu is a local DJ from Malkajgiri and he is addressed as Tillu. The entire idea is to cater to a large audience, not just a multiplex and the crime comedy is sure to appeal to all age segments. How did Vimal multi-task, writing a script, acting in one film, directing in another? “I am a die-hard Guy Ritchie fan, I watch his films countless times. When you make a debut it has to be special and the impact should be strong. The Guy Ritchie kind of stories don’t come frequently and in the last ten years I didn’t see any in the Telugu film industry. When I began writing I told myself that if the script moved organically I would continue to write but if it were to be a forced dthing, I would quit for sure. I narrated the idea to Ravikanth and he too got excited. That gave me confidence and I started writing mid points and end points and it started flowing naturally. I was sure this was going to be my debut. It is like a fun ride and there will be few things or events that will make the audience question. I like addressing certain issues in society and I think there is no better medium than cinema because it reaches a huge audience. I make sure I address a few topics in an entertaining way. Narudi brathuku natana also has a similar point.”
Ask Vimal why we don’t get to see too many films that revolve around women and why writers shudder to portray them in negative light and he says, “Once you see my film, you will take back your question. Right now people have begun writing scripts with women in mind. It is good to have healthy competition. Why are women not shown negative? Times are changing, we are more accepting of content. It doesn’t matter gender, emotion should be engaging. We are glad to see the transition happening and happy to be in that space. I am someone who explores grey spaces irrespective of gender, that is how I see life and I reflect that in cinema.” Siddhu and Shraddha Srinath are the lead, Sai Prakash is the cinematographer and Kala Bhairava is doing the music, Ravi Anthony is the production designer. I have a good rapport with them, so the team is being repeated. The film is shot in Hyderabad and it is aimed at a theatre release. The title is apt, it says life is an act. We human beings, be it any gender, we all have a grey side.”