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Director Gopichand Malineni: I saw Veera Simha Reddy as a responsibility

The filmmaker says he’s satisfied and relieved with the response from Balakrishna’s fans for Veera Simha Reddy

Director Gopichand Malineni: I saw Veera Simha Reddy as a responsibility
Gopichand Malineni
  • Team OTTplay

Last Updated: 08.10 AM, Jan 14, 2023

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Director Gopichand Malineni, whose Veera Simha Reddy released this week, had his task cut out when he set out to make Nandamuri Balakrishna’s follow-up film to his blockbuster Akhanda. Despite opening to mixed reviews, Veera Simha Reddy has succeeded in pleasing Balakrishna’s loyal fan-base with well-written dialogues, lavishly mounted action sequences and catchy dance numbers.

In a chat with media earlier this week, he opened up on the Veera Simha Reddy experience. “I’m happy and relieved. I saw the film as a responsibility. I feel lucky to have got a film with him at the right time, when he tasted a blockbuster like Akhanda and reached out to a wide section of audiences through his show Unstoppable. I readied the story keeping his massy image in mind,” he said.

Gopichand viewed the sister-sentiment episode as a surprise element for audiences. “The interval episode with a teary eyed Balakrishna, the star’s scenes with Honey Rose are resonating with family crowds. Balakrishna’s biggest successes Samarasimha Reddy, Narasimha Naidu are family dramas ultimately. The same factor worked in favour of Veera Simha Reddy too,” the director added.

He’s all praise for Varalaxmi Sarathkumar’s intense portrayal as Balakrishna’s on-screen step-sister. “When we suggested her name for the role, Balakrishna had no second thoughts. He had watched Krack by then and trusted the actress to pull it off. She was extraordinary, playing a sister-gone-rogue character to perfection. Audiences are reacting to her scenes exactly the way we expected.”

While the first half was a feast for fans, the second hour worked for the drama. Responding to comparisons with Boyapati Srinu for his treatment, he shared, “I think I achieved that because of being a Balakrishna fan myself. I believed I had it in me to make an out-and-out mass film. The first hour of Veera Simha Reddy is dedicated to the fan boy in me and the latter half, for the director in me.”

He credited Ram-Lakshman for understanding the emotion of the film and setting up the fight sequences perfectly. Balakrishna’s look for the father’s character - the salt-n-pepper look with black shirt with black shades paired with a dhoti - was designed with immense care to offer a unique experience for fans. The filmmaker insists that the dialogues with political references weren’t written on purpose and they were seen as a tool to further the plot.

Like Krack, he cast his son in a crucial role in the film and Gopichand says he was the first choice for the part. “I needed a child actor to heighten the stature of the titular character and I knew my son was apt for it. He did a good job.” Thaman, art director AS Prakash, stunt directors Ram-Lakshman have been a constant feature in his career and this continued with Veera Simha Reddy too.

“When I trust someone, it is for a lifetime and I don’t let go of people easily. I share a special rapport with Thaman, who, in fact, performed live music for the background score of Veera Simha Reddy. The result is now there for everyone to see,” he stated. Calling Mythri Movie Makers the best producers in his career, he applauded them for their ability to coordinate two big releases for Sankranthi.

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