Aravinda Sametha director Trivikram Srinivas on working with Jr. NTR and their long-standing relationship

Haricharan Pudipeddi

October 17, 2018 15:07:59 IST

It took Trivikram Srinivas and Jr. NTR, who have been the thickest of friends, over a decade to finally join hands. Their maiden Telugu collaboration Aravinda Sametha, which released in cinemas last week, has set the box-office on fire earning nearly Rs. 100 crore (gross) worldwide on its opening weekend. Set against the backdrop of Rayalaseema and revolving around two warring families that have been at loggerheads for over two generations, the film talks about the aftermath of war and how it changes one man’s opinion about revenge and peace. In a chat with Firstpost, Trivikram talks about why he decided to finally tell a story of factionalism, which has been done-to-death in Telugu cinema; the experience of working with NTR and how he made sure the project was completed on time.

Jr. NTR (L) and Trivikram. Image via Twitter

Jr. NTR (L) and Trivikram. Image via Twitter

Trivikram says he never intended to make a film on factionalism when he initially started brainstorming for the project. “We wanted to talk about the aftermath of war. We always talk about the prelude to war and what happens during the war but nobody wants to know about its aftermath because most find it unexciting. Even in our epics, we never spoke about what happens after the war. When we were discussing this idea, we thought why not set it against the backdrop of a faction family in Rayalaseema. When we talk about factionalism, there is glorified violence but nobody has touched upon the aftermath angle. We thought this would be an interesting angle to showcase and we wanted to capture it through the eyes of women,” he said, adding that NTR really liked the idea of keeping women in the front row and see violence through their perspective.

“A lot of us take women for granted. Most men don’t even want to take the suggestion of women because they feel it’s not necessary. Had women been in the front row when it comes to factionalism, we wouldn’t see so much of violence. NTR really liked the idea of having women in the forefront and building the story from their angle,” Trivikram says.

Even though the film features women in strong roles, it doesn’t flinch from glorifying violence. Asked Trivikram if it doesn’t contradict the film’s view of stopping violence, he said: “We need heroism to elevate this kind of story. That’s why you see the action episode very early on in the film. From here on, you see the evolution of the hero who repents his action and the story takes a turn. You hardly see him speak throughout the first half because he’s at a loss of words.”

(Also read — Pooja Hegde on shooting for Aravinda Sametha, Prabhas' film and Housefull 4 at same time: 'I want to absorb everything')

A still from Aravinda Sametha. Image via Twitter

A still from Aravinda Sametha. Image via Twitter

On the experience of working with NTR, Trivikram said that had it not been for his commitment, the film would’ve only released next year. “After the unfortunate incident where NTR’s father Harikrishna passed away in a road accident, we decided to push the release to March 2019 as we wanted to give Tarak time to cope with the loss. But he was against that idea and returned to shoot on the fourth day. He felt nobody else should be affected by his loss and he insisted that we continue shooting and release the film as planned.”

And he is glad that a project finally materialized with NTR. “When he was doing Nannaku Prematho, we decided we should — at any cost — work soon. We discussed a few ideas but he really liked this one and we immediately went ahead with it.”

2018 marks Trivikram’s 16th year in the industry as a filmmaker. He feels there’s still a lot of scope to learn. “As an industry, we can make films with more muscle and less fat. We’re still not able to make single genre films. We still rely a lot on comedy and songs, which are nothing but fat, to package our films. Because of which we’re forced to make three-hour-long films. We need to understand that audiences don’t seek entertainment alone from cinema anymore. Today, entertainment is personalised through comedy shows and reality shows on television. If audiences want comedy, they can watch Jabardasth (a comedy show) on TV. When they come to the cinemas, they want to be invested in a story,” he said, adding that the change is slowly happening. “Films like Rangasthalam, Arjun Reddy, Goodachari and C/O Kancharapalem have successfully broken the pattern that Telugu cinema has been following for years.”

Updated Date: Oct 17, 2018 15:07 PM