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'MSMP' is clean and humorous despite a serious premise: Mahesh Babu P


'Miss Shetty Mr. Polishetty' ('MSMP' in short) is slated to hit the cinemas on September 7. Director Mahesh Babu P, who is making his debut, says that the clean family entertainer is light-veined. Anushka Shetty's character is based out of London, while Naveen Polishetty plays a professional stand-up comedian. In this interview, the director talks about the film's major highlights. He talks about the rare premise of 'MSMP' and elaborates on what went into the casting choices.

Mahesh Babu is my birth name. I hail from Bhimavaram. I was educated in Vizag till Engineering. I wanted to become a director even as a school-goer. I have always been fascinated by what goes on in the mind of the director and those behind the screen. Since none in my family is into movies, entering the film industry was not easy. I admire the talents of Krishna Vamsi, RGV and Mani Ratnam. I have never idolized film stars. I have always idolized only filmmakers. I worked on 'Mogudu' under Krishna Vamsi. I had earlier done 'Bava' as an assistant director.

Coming to 'MSMP', the script was completed in 2019. By the time the shoot was to be started, the pandemic began in early 2020. After the release of 'Jathi Ratnalu' in March 2021, further delay happened because Naveen was stuck in the US for a couple of months during the second wave.

Anushka plays a London-based chef named Anvitha who doesn't want to get married but wants to have a child. She needs a male person to help her with it. She journeys with Naveen's character and what all the duo undergoes in the process is what the film is about. Despite the premise, there is nothing sleazy in the movie. Romance is not the only thing that happens between a married couple or a romantic couple. A lot happens between them. There are no uncomfortable dialogues with needless sexual connotations.

Both the male and female leads are equally prominent in 'MSMP'. This is a light-hearted film. When I approached UV Creations, I had doubts whether they would be okay with a light-veined rom-com. It took five or six months before we could rope in Anushka Shetty's pair. More than I chose her, it was she who picked the story. She had heard about this storyline from a friend. When she evinced interest in listening to the script, I went to meet her with no expectations. I went to her with a proper dialogue version.

It was producer Pramod's feeling that a story of this span deserves a superstar heroine like Anushka. I reworked the script keeping her in mind for a month. UV Creations believed in my story as much as I did.

Shetty and Polishetty are contrasting characters. So, the casting decision was not easy. Zeroing in on Naveen for the lead man's role was an unlikely choice. I watched his stand-up comedy and his off-screen videos. At that time, 'Jathi Ratnalu' was not released. I could convince the producers that he would be the aptest one to play a stand-up comedian by explaining to them how I visualize his body language in different scenes. They started believing in my thought process.

Both Naveen and Anushka believed in their capabilities and believed that they perfectly fit the bill. There is an element of boldness but everything is clean. The journey of the two characters, their ups and downs... The audience have a takeaway from their journey. Our audience prefer smooth flow and light emotions. Naveen and Anushka were in sync with this. They enjoyed the humour and the jokes. They could appreciate the situational humour because they are relevant.

I stumbled across the title after I read the phrase 'Shetty tho Polishetty' in a Telugu daily. I improvised on it and decided on the title.

We are glad that Chiranjeevi garu cared to watch our movie. I am still dazed about his excellent review. Soon after the private screening yesterday, he appreciated our movie by talking about specific points on a call. He and his entire family watched the movie.

We are going to hold a screening for Tamil film industry persons soon. A lot of filmmakers there adore Anushka. We want to show her comeback film to her.  

Updated on September 6, 2023