Director Vimal Krishna's 'DJ Tillu' will head to theatres on February 12. Starring Siddhu Jonnalagadda and Neha Shetty, the film is a comedy.
In this interview, catch the young filmmaker talk about working with his friend Siddhu, Sithara Entertainments, what the film has in store, his father's interesting childhood and more.
I hail from Vizag. I was doing Engineering when my parents moved to Hyderabad and with them, I too moved to the city. I didn't do any job before entering the film industry. My father ran away from home when he was 10. He met with Superstar Krishna in Madras because he wanted to become an actor. Krishna garu asked him if he knows anybody in the city. He said no. He stayed at his home for three months because nobody was there to take care of him. It was the days when 'Mosagallaki Mosagadu' was being made. My father's parents traced him in the meanwhile and brought him back home. Had he stayed longer, he might have become an actor!
I and Siddhu got the idea for 'DJ Tillu' in 2019 and we developed the story. The lockdown in 2020 gave us enough time to develop the story further. Siddhu's contribution to dialogues is more than mine. We made a conversational collaboration and the process was organic. We didn't strain ourselves to write dialogues in any particular way. We went with the flow.
I have known Siddhu since 2012. I know his body language, I know how he would act in a particular scene. He was an automatic choice. I and Siddhu are fond of a particular type of sarcasm. We love comedies and we get along very well. After 'Krishna And His Leela' was released, producer S Naga Vamsi garu called up Siddhu. This is when I and Siddhu pitched the script to Sithara Entertainments and the project fell into place.
I have worked in the direction department in the past. Ever since I migrated to Hyderabad, my only aim has been to narrate good stories in whatever capacity was possible. Right from the beginning, I have loved to be an off-screen talent. I have worked under 'Kshanam' director Ravikanth Perupu. He and I were classmates.
The first half is as enjoyable as the second half. 'DJ Tillu' is a commentary on how we judge women without knowing anything about them. In the trailer, we see the heroine (Neha Shetty) two-timing or three-timing. The male perspective may be blinkered and the same has been brought out in an entertaining way. Our film questions the prejudicial stance. Tillu may be right, or Radhika may be right. The screenplay takes a non-judgmental stance.
It's not right to say that 'DJ Tillu' is an adult comedy. The romance, the comedy are wide-ranging.
Tillu is a DJ because I have interacted with a number of DJs for many years in Hyderabad. Moreover, the character suits Siddhu's body language. 'Narudi Brathuku Natana' was the original title. However, it was our collective decision in collaboration with the producers to change the title to 'DJ Tillu'. Our friends, too, felt that the film is Tillu's story and therefore 'DJ Tillu' will be the better title.
Tillu feels that he is some sort of celebrity. In the teaser, we saw him likening himself to Mahesh Babu. He boasts that Allu Arjun is fond of his music in the trailer. There is a Tillu in all of us. Everyone will connect with him.
I like to think in a detached manner. As a debutant director, I did face some challenges while making 'DJ Tillu'.
Trivikram sir kept on giving inputs. He would leave the ball in our court. He never forced his ideas on us. Ideas that worked for the story were incorporated. It was a learning experience working with him. He would talk about his life experiences and the takeaways were precious.
There are no double meaning lines in the film. I am conscious of the family audience's sensitivities.
As a debutant, I am fortunate to have got to do a film under Sithara Entertainments. S Naga Vamsi garu supported me in every way. China Babu garu, too, gave me full freedom.
Rajamouli garu is my favourite filmmaker. I am fascinated by the scale of commerciality in his movies. Pawan Kalyan garu is my favourite actor. I would be delirious watching him on single screens. I got catch him on the sets of 'Bheemla Nayak'.
I and Siddhu wanted to bring out refreshing content. Going by the reaction to the trailer, we are convinced that we have succeeded. Siddhu has grown up in Malkajgiri in Hyderabad. That's why he could own Tillu every bit. It was like seeing him.