Ravikanth Perepu broke out on to the Tollywood scene with his debut movie Kshanam, which went on to become one of the biggest hits of the year. Ravikanth is back with his latest movie Krishna And His Leela, which released on the online streaming platform Netflix and is currently trending in India. Krishna And His Leela is garnering a lot of positive talk for its production values and the story which is based on a slice of life.
Telugu Filmnagar caught up with the young director Ravikanth Perepu to talk about Krishna And His Leela and different aspects of the movie. We bring you this exclusive interaction in which Ravikanth sheds light on Krishna And His Leela (KAHL) and other details.
It’s been like 4 years since your film Kshanam was released. Why did you take so much time for your second movie?
I didn’t want to rush into anything after Kshanam. I wanted to express something about being an artist and I found that expression in KAHL. There was no pressure on me to churn out movies and I like to go at my own pace. I ultimately want to make movies I want to watch in a theater or at home. I wanted to make something original and something which people haven’t seen before. The movie was actually completed in 2019 itself and the copy was ready by October last year. Since then we were waiting for the movie to release on a good day. Initially we wanted to release the movie on February 14th but there was no availability of theaters, then we moved the date to May 1st, but then Corona happened. Right now we feel it is a good time to release on Netflix considering that people will be at home and they can enjoy the movie. To sum it up, it’s not something which happened intentionally and there were so many factors at play which were completely out of our control. Now that people have seen our film and liked it, it does not really feel like it’s been four years.
Tell us about Krishna & His Leela. How did this idea come?
Well obviously the lead character is named as Krishna. But if you look at it from a different angle Krishna could not exist in this day and age where everyone has their integrity and women are standing up for themselves and not letting anyone take them for granted. I had the idea for this movie since 2013, even before I made Kshanam. However, the narrative was different back then, but Kshanam took off and we revisited the story and wrote it completely.
How was it switching from thriller to romance genre?
I wanted to make the switch desperately to be honest because I started getting loads of offers to make thriller movies after Kshanam. I was sure I would not be doing another thriller immediately after Kshanam because I would be stereotyped. I also wanted to do a light hearted film because Kshanam was really dark and intense and I felt it’s better to make something lighthearted and entertain people. My next movie will not be like KAHL again, because I just want to make a lot of different stuff.
How did you convince Rana Daggubati and Suresh Productions? What was their reaction after hearing the story?
So when Sidhu and I told Rana the basic story and plot of the movie, Rana was very excited. Rana felt a lot of youngsters would enjoy a story like this but there was some initial confusion about who they wanted for the characters and who would be the right person for the roles. The discussion went on for 30 minutes maybe and Rana was immediately convinced.
Tell us about the cast Siddhu, Shraddha Srinath, Seerat Kapoor and Shalini. Why did you choose them for these roles?
If you saw the movie you would find that Satya is a little dominant and authoritative over Krishna. There were a couple of options I was considering for the role but when I met Shraddha I felt she would be a perfect fit for the role of Satya as she understood the character very well. Shraddha knew how people like Satya would behave based on her past experiences and looking at people around her. The same was the case with Shalini, who is not a dominant person and is kind of reserved and although she is not fragile, she looks vulnerable and innocent and therefore she was a good fit for the role of Radha.
When it came to Seerat Kapoor, it was Rana’s suggestion to cast her for the role of Ruksaar. After the audition, Seerat completely designed the character for Ruksaar herself and gave ideas on how Ruksaar should look.
Coming to Sidhu, we were friends for a very long time. When we were writing the character for Krishna, we had every other engineering student in mind so no matter what happens they should see themselves in Krishna. What happened to Krishna can happen to women as well and not just guys, therefore a lot of girls can connect to his character more.
Seems like OTT is the only option for many films right now. What’s your take on that?
Everything has its own pros and cons like if we released the movie in a theater we would have made more money than what we made right now and not to mention having time to get our promotions done better which would not be the case with a digital release. However, OTT platforms help filmmakers like me because we want more people to watch our films as well as providing a worldwide outreach, which theaters would not have been able to give us.
Also please tell us about OTT Vs Theater Experience
As a filmmaker I would try to ensure my movies release in a theater because we make the movies, the sounds, the effects for theater viewing experience. I don’t prefer to watch my film or any other film for that matter on digital platforms first. If given a chance to release KAHL in theaters I would like for it to happen. Even Suresh Babu garu was saying if theaters open and if people want to watch it, why not give it a two week run on the silver screen.
This film is Based on true Rumors. What are those rumours? Please tell us about this.
It was actually Rana’s (Daggubati) idea to add the tagline to the title because these are what people gossip about on a daily basis. Whatever people know of stories like these (KAHL) are just rumours as nobody knows the truth but in most of the cases it is true one person may end up liking two people at the same time. Like they say rumours are based on some kind of truth.
How was it working for a prestigious banner like Suresh Productions? What’s your experience?
It was great actually and a great learning experience. They (Suresh Productions) have a few sets of questions they ask every filmmaker like “What do you want the audience to feel?” and with Rana, he understands the current mindset and vibe of the audience. So they made it feel pretty easy throughout the process.
Tell us about your friend Sricharan Pakala, the music director of this film.
Sricharan is just a raw talent and I have known him since my childhood when I was in (the) 8th grade. I used to go to his shows in Vizag and he was someone I looked up to through my childhood and it was a long journey till now. He learnt the guitar by himself and comes up with original music which I like about him a lot. He is able to mix different genres of music effortlessly.
We would like to thank Ravikanth for talking about Krishna And His Leela and hope that he continues to entertain the audience with his future films.