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Exclusive! Sree Vishnu: Bhala Thandanana is an engaging potpourri of crime, action, thrills and romance

The actor expresses his happiness in associating with director Chaitanya Dantuluri and tells why the latter's approach to filmmaking excited him a lot

  • Srivathsan Nadadhur

Last Updated: 09.42 PM, May 05, 2022

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Exclusive! Sree Vishnu: Bhala Thandanana is an engaging potpourri of crime, action, thrills and romance
Sree Vishnu

Sree Vishnu, who's been hailed by one and all in the industry for his terrific script sense and the ability to back the right talents, is back with a new film, Bhala Thandanana, that hits theatres today. The actor with a decade-long tryst with cinema has grown in the industry in the good-old hard way - carving his niche as a performer and proving himself as a character artiste and making use of the goodwill by turning a lead at the right time. 

Not all of his films have proved to be major commercial successes, but he's one of the very few actors that the audiences are beginning to trust the minimum-guarantee value for his films. In a conversation with OTTplay.com, Sree Vishnu opens up about working with Chaitanya Dantuluri, the filmmaker behind Bhala Thandanana, the crux of the story and what's the USP of the actioner.

Association with director Chaitanya Dantuluri, his approach to filmmaking

I and Chaitanya Dantuluri have been planning to work, right after Baanam and during his shoot for Basanthi itself. The project got delayed from time to time, it wasn't easy for him to find takers for a film after a flop and I was occupied with many films for a year and a half too. Just when we wanted to commence work on our collaboration, the lockdown was announced. We thought of a lot of ideas for our combo and felt Bhala Thandanana had enough juice in the script for us to go ahead.

Right during his Baanam days, Chaitanya had a very different approach to filmmaking; he has a clear head and there never used to be any monitor on his sets and the actor had to rely completely on his judgement, and cues for a scene. It made performers very alert and conscious and I was also very eager and excited to work with someone who followed such a unique process in the digital age. We hit it off perfectly as an actor and a director. Bhala Thandanana is an out and out commercial film with elements of crime, action, humour, romance and thrills. 

The crux of Bhala Thandanana

Bhala Thandanana is a story that starts with an investigative journalist digging deep into the case, she falling in love with my character later and how both of them are in the middle of a huge mess concerning a hawala scam. There's a proposal scene in the film and according to my knowledge, no male lead has proposed to his female interest in Telugu cinema like that ever before. The first half an hour of the film will take us through its various characters and each of their motives is described aptly later. 

The pre-climax, and climax portions are the major highlights of Bhala Thandanana. The music by Mani Sharma has shaped up very well, all the songs in the film are extremely situational and there are a lot of twists in store for audiences. One may wonder do I have it in me to take on Garuda Raam in a film but even that aspect is aptly justified in the story. The action sequences are the lifeline of the story.

Catherine (Tresa) gets to play an extremely crucial role in the film, it's through her that we meet a lot of characters in the film, even more than me. I enjoyed working with her and she's dubbed for herself in the film too. As the symbol in the title says, the film is a metaphorical battle between the pen (journalist, played by Catherine Treasa) and the sword (the villain). 

The story behind the title

I always like titles that are completely in Telugu. We've become used to English words creeping into our vocabulary and I am happy that I'm trying to bring back good-old Telugu through my titles, be it Brochevarevarura, Raja Raja Chora or Bhala Thandanana now. We named this film after the Annamayya kirtana because it is one of the poet's only recognisable work where he's discussed casteism and the importance of equality. As much as it is about devotion, the song is a call for equality - somewhere we felt that it was an apt title to justify the film's theme.

If he gets bogged down by the commercial failures of his films with debutant directors

Hit or flop aside, I always consider the larger picture of my career whenever I choose a project and I want to try my hand at various kinds of subjects. When I think of working with a particular top director and don't score a hit with him later, chances are that I'll be very disappointed. However, that's not the case with new filmmakers, I trust them based on the script and give it everything. There's a satisfaction in taking up something that has appealed to you and with such projects, there's not much risk involved.

If the reduced window between OTT premiere and theatrical release affected his choices

I choose my projects carefully because I want the audiences to appreciate the several dimensions of me as an actor. The lockdown has given people enough time to watch, and appreciate my films. A lot of my films and that of other actors, despite their commercial failures, have found a liking with audiences on OTT. Whenever I do a project for OTT, it won't be like any of my feature films. The medium has its own set of norms - I may very likely do a series first.

Upcoming projects and the promise of delivering a blockbuster in 2022

My next release after Bhala Thandanana is Alluri, it's a biopic of a police officer. I and Hasith Goli (director of Raja Raja Chora) are planning to reunite for a very interesting project. There's truth to the fact that I have not delivered a major commercial success in my career - I hope to change that with a major project this year. If good roles come by, I don't mind taking up character roles too. 

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