'Sridevi Soda Center' will be released in theatres on August 27. In this interview, director Karuna Kumar talks about the film, his work experience with actor Sudheer Babu, his future projects and more.
We have been used to making template-driven movies in Telugu, unlike in other industries like Kollywood. We appreciate good content made by others, but what about our own content? We have made great movies such as 'Baahubali'. When I became a director, I wanted to make story-driven movies. 'Palasa', my first film, talked about a burning issue. It was a raw film. 'Sridevi Soda Center', too, deals with a burning issue. But it's not raw and is a wide-spectrum movie.
The story is set in a village in East Godavari. We are so used to watching a stereotypical depiction of the Godavari districts in our movies. But there are feudal politics, discrimination, and other horrible aspects that are a reality in those districts. You will see a new East Godavari in the movie, thanks also to cinematographer Shamdatt. You will come across unseen communities and their stories.
Sudheer Babu has played the role of a 'jugaad' technician. He is a boy-next-door who is an unconventional Electrician. He wants to settle down in life by setting up his own business establishment. Anandhi is a girl next door with her own little dreams. The love between them, their repercussions, and the socio-economic aspects of the consequences are what 'Sridevi Soda Center' is about.
Sudheer Babu has always tried to attempt something new as an actor. I narrated two stories to him after the release of 'Palasa'. One of them is an urban thriller, which he said he can't prefer after doing urban films like 'Sammohanam' and 'V'. We then zeroed in on 'Sridevi Soda Center'.
It's my conscious decision to cast Telugu-speaking actresses. My next film will also feature a Telugu-speaking girl. My first film had a Telugu-only cast. Even in 'SSC', barring a negative character, everyone else is a Telugu.
I come from a literary background. Literature is nothing but a set of lives. An honest story will always be durable. In recent times, after the 'Pelli Choopulu' momentum, we have seen authentic movies like 'Care Of Kancharapalem' and my own 'Palasa'.
Mani Sharma garu came on board for 'SSC' because he believed in my ability. I am not experienced enough to talk about him. He is Telugu cinema's Ilayaraja.
I am writing a web series for an OTT platform. Thanks to OTT, it's now possible to tell a story with a wide span in 10-20 episodes.
It's often criticized that our directors don't cast Telugu-speaking girls. The truth is that a lot of our girls are not ready to act in some roles. I spoke with more than half a dozen girls for 'Palasa'. They were not interested to work with a newcomer like me. The problem rests with the actresses.