Behind the Scenes: The Making of Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi – Highlights from the Pre-Release Press Meet
Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi (PAPA) is a Telugu romantic comedy film directed by Srinivas Avasarala. Starring Naga Shaurya and Malvika Nair, the film promises to be a fun-filled ride of love, laughter, and drama, and explore the seven phases of the relationship of Sanjay and Anupama. Produced by by T. G. Vishwa Prasad, Padmaja Dasari, People Media Factory in association with Dasari creations, and co-produced by Vivek Kuchibotla, PAPA is all set to hit the theatres on March 17.
With its catchy soundtrack, colorful visuals, and talented cast and crew, Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi promises to be a heart-warming romance that’s a must-watch for Telugu movie lovers.
*Q&A from the pre-release press meet*
On not spending enough time for promotions:
While promotions are undoubtedly important for movies, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. Films like Kantara and KGF2, for instance, saw promotions happening after the release. Similarly, for PAPA, the major buzz is expected to be generated through positive word of mouth.
On changes in the direction style of Srinivas Avasarala:
Srinivas Avasarala has never narrated stories to me, but always gave books for me to read, which was also the case with PAPA. When it comes to direction, he is always clear, and I take pride in being able to catch the pulse of his dialogues.
Are you nervous about the release of PAPA?
I am happy that the film turned out well, and I am not nervous about its release.
On shifting between different looks in the film: As an actor, I consider myself blessed to showcase my talent, and PAPA gave me a great canvas to put my best efforts in order to carry out the director’s vision.
On sync sound in PAPA:
While sync sound is very tough to handle, I got used to it going forward. The authenticity would have been lost if we went for a normal dubbing.
On Srinivas Avasarala films not getting mileage in other languages:
For me, Srinivas Avasarala is a modern-day Jandhyala, and his works should be enjoyed in Telugu only.
Who are the hero and heroines in PAPA?
Sanjay and Anupama. They will be introduced tomorrow.
How do you choose lead actors?
I choose after the script is done. Artists are not on-screen personalities, and I look for how they are connected with the script and their emotional involvement. Naga Shourya and Malvika’s attachment gave me the confidence to go ahead and cast them.
Your scripts are subtle, but can you do a commercial script?
A story dictates the dynamics of the film. If we need gravity-defying stunts for a story, I’d love to do them.
Now that Naga Shaurya is a big star, will he be apt for PAPA?
We decided that during the production, and the script took its course. The audience is incidental to a film, and money is not a factor in doing a kind of film. Shourya has a bent of a writer’s mind and improvises the scene.
On Srinivas Avasarala’s character in PAPA:
In this film, the lead pair’s life is not disturbed by any external factors, and all characters are portrayed in a natural and realistic manner. However, viewers should not expect a film similar to Oohalu Gusagusalade.
On the characters’ looks:
During the 24-day shoot in the UK, Naga Shourya underwent a phenomenal transformation and portrayed the character with great effort.
Sync sound challenges:
I am grateful to Vivek for working with the sound department to achieve a realistic and emotionally charged atmosphere through sync sound. This decision helped in holding the emotion and carrying it for a longer duration.
On casting Naga Shourya for all films:
Naga Shaurya’s portrayal of Sanjay in PAPA was an excellent match for the character. Although he was not initially considered for Oohalu Gusagusalade, he fits the director’s characters perfectly.
Why romance has to be a central point to drive the conflict in all your films?
I initially included romance in my films to add flavor, but as I progressed, I delved deeper into the emotional aspects of human relationships. In PAPA, the characters of Sanjay and Anupama explore the dynamics of their deep-rooted relationship. Now I am inspired by comedian Zakir Khan’s commentary on father-son relationships, and want to do a film in that space.
On getting actors to perform outside of their conventional mode:
Actors play a critical role in bringing characters to life and can experiment and find new approaches to their roles. Naga Shaurya and Malvika’s portrayal of Sanjay and Anupama was an excellent example of this.
On the movies not being popular in Tamil and other regions:
My films typically do well in Telugu, such as Oohalu Gusagusalade, so they may not be as successful in other languages.
What’s your favorite chapter in PAPA?
The fourth chapter stands out to me as it has an excellent emotional depth. The film depicts seven chapters from the lives of Sanjay and Anupama.
On Srinivas Avasarala’s dedication:
Srinivas Avasarala is highly committed to his projects and refers to the actors as Sanjay and Anupama, not their real names. That’s a hallmark of his dedication and involvement in the project.
On heroes being producer-friendly:
We are fortunate to have heroes in Telugu cinema who are friendly towards producers, making the filmmaking process more comfortable.
On learning Telugu for the film:
During the lockdown, I learned Telugu, which was initially challenging. However, I was able to use this skill during the filming of PAPA.
On being friends with Naga Shaurya:
Working with Naga Shaurya was like being part of a family. He is someone I can trust and call a good friend within the film industry.
On liking PAPA:
In PAPA, I delved deep into the layers of the character, portraying an emotionally intense role. This experience made me appreciate the film and my role in it.
On breaking out from intense roles:
I am eager to break the mold and explore different roles in the future.
On producing the film:
Srinivas Avasarala’s 90-minute narration impressed us with the character development, leading us to produce PAPA. Despite some production issues, the film turned out well, and I am pleased with the final product.
*About PAPA and its cast & crew*
PAPA celebrates the magic of love and audience shall experience a real and raw love story like never before. PAPA is produced by T. G. Vishwa Prasad, Padmaja Dasari, People Media Factory in association with Dasari creations. It’s co-produced by Vivek Kuchibotla.
The cast of PAPA includes Naga Shaurya, Malvika Nair, Srinivas Avasarala, Megha Chowdhury, Ashok Kumar, Abhishek Maharshi, Sri Vidya, Varanasi Soumya Chalamcharla, Harini Rao, Arjun Prasad, and others. Srinivas Avasarala penned the story, screenplay, dialogues, and directed the film. The movie is shot beautifully by Sunil Kumar Nama, who is the DOP. Music is composed by Kalyani Malik and Vivek Sagar did one song (Kafeefi). Kiran Ganti edited the film and Azmat Ansari (UK), John Murphy (UK), and Ramakrishna are the art directors. Sujith Kumar Kolli is the film’s Executive producer and Sunil Shah, Raja Subramanian supported the project as Associate producers. Lyrics for the film are by Bhaskarabhatla, Lakshmi Bhupala, Kittu Vissapragada. The dances are choreographed by Raghu, Yash, Riyaz, Chau, and Gule.