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Exclusive! I rewrote my future in films with Love Mocktail: Darling Krishna

A decade into his film career, Krishna, wrote, directed and acted in Love Mocktail, which not only changed his fortunes as an actor, but also made sure that he had a lot more money at his disposal to make its sequel.

Prathibha Joy
Sep 15, 2021
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Darling Krishna

Darling Krishna is not a novice in Kannada cinema. He’s been around for a decade. But it is only now that his career trajectory has skyrocketed, brought on solely by the success of his film, Love Mocktail, which he wrote, directed, produced and acted in. Today, Krishna is sitting tight with as many as eight films in his kitty and several others in discussion. “This is the same face and talent that was in all my other films. What made the difference was the script (of Love Mocktail), which I had to write to make people see what I am capable of as an artiste,” says Krishna.

Speaking to OTTplay, the actor-director says that the urge to turn his life around came when he was set to take his relationship with long-time girlfriend, actress Milana Nagaraj, to the next level. “I was shooting for a film in Hyderabad, when someone on set suggested I should watch Vijay Sethupathi’s 96, which had just released. I quite liked it, even though I do not follow the language completely. The narrative, which follows the hero’s life-long relationship with one girl, seemed intriguing, but I wondered how it would be for most other people. There are so many people, girls, specifically, who come into our lives at various stages, and I thought that picking on that could make for an interesting subject. It was a fleeting thought and I left it at that,” he says.

After the Hyderabad schedule, Krishna had to head back home in Mysuru, as Milana’s (his now wife) parents were dropping by to discuss their wedding (The duo got married on Valentine’s Day this year). On the way, I stopped somewhere for a quick bite and got thinking about my life and that my career was still not stable. I knew that the films I was doing at that point would not take me anywhere. I have been waiting for good scripts since Madarangi, but they were just not coming my way. Whatever film I did, people would ask why, unaware that I didn’t exactly have the luxury of choice as far as scripts go. I was trying to do the best in what was available to me. The bigger, better projects were going to the more bankable stars. The need to prove myself for Milana and her family is what pushed me to make Love Mocktail,” he says.

Krishna adds that his immediate thought was to use instances from his own life and write a tale, which he ran by Milana. She thought it had merit, and soon enough, the two of them got together to flesh it out into a full-fledged script. “In less than 22 days we went from a simple thought to actually going on floors. Given our career graphs at the time, we knew that getting a producer would be easier said than done, so we decided to take production on as well. At the time, we didn’t even have much money, but took the plunge nevertheless. Our aim was to restrict expenses as far as possible, which had to begin right from the writing process; I could not incorporate anything extravagant. For instance, we did not have a single scene of a college or classroom for the hero’s engineering days and made do with a sequence at a cricket ground. Similarly, since we couldn’t hire an office, we converted the reception of a friend’s gym into a corporate office set up,” explains Krishna, adding that his only aim was to ensure that audiences would be so engrossed in the story he was telling, instead of the production values.

Looking back, Krishna says that those 22 days that he took to write Love Mocktail was when he rewrote his future in films. “Love Mocktail was widely appreciated and did well at the box office. Its success has quite literally changed the course of my career. Today, I have a lot of directors approaching me with roles; some of which they say are scripts that have been written keeping me in mind. It’s quite flattering, honestly. All of them are also films that are being made with better budgets. As far as subjects go, they are feel-good love stories and I have been trying to find variety within that, picking up those that are either high on entertainment or emotions. Among my current commitments, is ready for release, Mr Bachelor and Lucky Man (Oh My Kadavule remake) are nearly done, while Sugar Factory has about 30% left. I am right now on the set of Love Me or Hate Me and will start a film called Dil Pasand on October 4. I have also okayed an as-yet-untitled film with director PC Shekar, which will be launched on October 10, but will go on floors only in November,” says the actor, adding, “I am making the most of this phase, with the aim to have at least 3-4 releases in a year.”

In between all this, Krishna has also managed to finish the sequel to Love Mocktail. “Love Mocktail 2 is done. This time around, I did not have to worry about the budget, but what to write. The only issue was that I was so busy with my acting commitments that I barely had time for my own film. I could only allocate weekends to its making. So, the challenge was in finishing the film while shooting only one day in the week,” he signs off.

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