Last Updated: 11.28 AM, Mar 01, 2022
Actor-director Darling Krishna well and truly became the darling of the masses after the release of his debut directorial, Love Mocktail , two years ago. Krishna, who was, at the time, experiencing a slump in his career, has been open about the fact that he wrote Love Mocktail in the hope of changing his fortunes. And change it did, although not overnight – sustained word of mouth publicity got the film the audience it deserved, with Krishna being overwhelmed by the response to the theatrical and subsequent OTT release and his sudden massive fan following.
Two years since, Krishna is now releasing the sequel, Love Mocktail 2 , tomorrow. Given the hardships that he and then girlfriend (and now wife) Milana Nagaraj went through in making the original, one wonders, how different was the process this time around? “Unlike Love Mocktail, which was put together with limited resources, during the making of Love Mocktail 2, we had no financial insecurity; we didn’t have to worry about how and where to pool in funds, all thanks to the success of the original film. Love Mocktail has also created a brand value, whereby we are assured of no loss to our investment as far as the sequel goes. Most importantly, back then we were worried about whether audiences will come to watch our film; we don’t have that fear anymore. As far as the actual filmmaking process goes, there was no change. We followed the same discipline we had back then, to make a film in the way we wanted; there was no compromise on that. In fact, this time around, I have travelled with the cast to certain locations for maybe one single shot, or a scene, to make sure that every frame is visually-pleasing as well,” he says.
While the actor-director is confident about getting audiences to theatres with this film, one cannot overlook his interim release firstname.lastname@example.org and the brickbats he got for it. The buzz on social media was that he was ruining whatever goodwill he got with Love Mocktail with his follow-up films as an actor. “I am quite aware of this response, but the way I see it is that Krishna the actor and Krishna the director are two different entities. So, when I am on a set only as an actor, I don’t involve myself in anything beside what is expected of me, whereas when I am making a film, I take complete responsibility and make sure that it good and watchable. I don’t want to make bad films,” he says. But isn’t he worried about audience perception that a Darling Krishna film will be good only if he directs, which will impact his marketability as an actor? “See, I don’t want to take up a lot of pressure with each of my films. It is a director’s responsibility to make a film work. As an actor, I would have okayed something based on an interesting narration. The onus of executing it in that way is up to the producer and director. As a producer-director myself, I understand the pressure involved in making a film, so, I don’t want that with every project. If I start taking too much interest in my acting commitments, I will lose a few years of my life with all the stress. Let me be honest, there are projects where I just want to act and then detach myself from everything else. Eventually, if the film is good or bad, the complete credit has to go the team,” reasons Krishna, adding, “If I start getting too choosy, I will end up sitting at home with no work. As an actor, I don’t want to wind up with a filmography of only some 20-25 films; I want to work on a lot of movies.”
Coming back to Love Mocktail 2, the film is set two years after the events of the original. “Love Mocktail 2, in a sense, rounds up the story arcs for all of the characters, especially Aadi – it’s the conclusion. It’s a simple story. Aadi had found love, married Nidhima, only to lose her. Now, two years later, he is ready to move on in life. How he gets settled in life is all I have set out to tell. But in narrating this simple story, I have attempted to make it as entertaining as possible. There are some subtle messages for society too, but they are never preachy. I am sure that people who watch this film will be impacted and change their perceptions about certain things,” he explains, adding, “Keep in mind that the first half is more about entertainment than taking the narrative forward. The first half is for everyone who enjoyed Love Mocktail, so, the second half is where everything happens.”
So, if Love Mocktail 2 concludes Aadi’s arc, what’s next for Krishna the filmmaker? “Honestly, I have an idea that can be developed into Love Mocktail 3, but Milana is not keen. She wants us to do something different next time. But if Love Mocktail 2 does well, I will do a third part. There’s a project about a swimmer with Milana in the lead that we had planned, but I have not even begun writing the script. I also want to do another intense love story with Milana, but that’s only a thought and I don’t even have a line that can be developed into a tale. I think everything will fall into place when I finally sit down to write,” he signs off.