There is zero skin show in ‘Mangalavaaram’; The last 45 minutes are full of ultimate twists: Director Ajay Bhupathi


Super-talented director Ajay Bhupathi of ‘RX 100’ fame is all set to make us awestruck with ‘Mangalavaaram’. Swathi Reddy Gunupati and Suresh Varma of Mudhra Media Works and Bhupathi’s A Creative Works have produced this November 17th release. To be released in theatres in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi and Kannada, the film stars Payal Rajput in a shocking role.

In this interview, Ajay Bhupathi talks about the film and its mind-blowing merits in detail.

When did the idea of ‘Mangalavaaram’ take birth? What inspired the story?

I cannot say specifically when the idea came about. Many ideas keep running in my mind. This particular idea was developed even before the release of ‘Maha Samudram’. This was a more nervous experience writing and shooting than my previous two films. The film has been made with commercial values and as a character-based film with a contemporary story. The climax is its ultimate element. It is not easy to direct such a film. Production and technical values, artists’ performances and other factors have to contribute to giving the ultimate experience. I don’t rely on my cinematographer for shots and all. I plan everything, thanks to my prior experience.

What is Payal Rajput’s character going to be like?

The audience will be shocked to see her character. Besides, it is an emotional character. She gave a thorough performance. She herself won’t be able to better it in the future. It was a bit difficult for me to bring all the actors and technicians together. Commercial films have a certain meter. You know what they are like. But films like ‘Mangalavaaram’ take a greater effort.

Did you think of Payal as the heroine from the beginning?

No. I thought I would do it with a girl who is in her teen years. A newbie would carry no expectations. About 40 to 50 girls were auditioned. The performance should be authentic, the face should carry innocence, and the girl should be suitable for the rural background. During the pre-production phase, I received a message from Payal. I took two days to visualize her.

How did you convince Payal to take on this role?

She trusts me since we have already done ‘RX 100’ together. We had auditioned many people for that film as well. They were reluctant to come on board. But Payal knew it was a special role.

The first poster of ‘Mangalavaaram’ featuring Payal was bold. Isn’t it?

I feel mainstream commercial films possess embarrassing moments more than thrillers. All my life, I have never shot a single vulgar shot. There is no nudity in ‘Mangalavaaram’. More than her body, what people have seen are the emotions in her eyes. Those who see that depth will know it intuitively. That’s what some big directors have told me after the poster was released. They told me they see no exposing or nudity in the poster.

What is the story behind the mask seen in the poster?

I won’t reveal it now. You will have to discover it on the big screen. You will be truly shocked. The movie is full of twists, especially in the last 45 minutes. The music is quite amazing.

How did you go about choosing your technical team?

Aaneesh B Loknath was chosen a week after the release of ‘Kantara’. His sound is awesome. The song ‘Ganagana Mogalira’, which is a combination of 400 shots, will give you ‘poonakalu’. The background score is another major highlight. MR Radhakrishna, who received the National Award for the film ‘Rangasthalam’, has done the sound design. The theatrical experience will be something else.

Why is ‘Appadappada Thaandra’ not part of the film?

Censor officers felt that the lyrics would hurt the sentiments of many people. Not a single cut was given to the film. Neither the visual nor the sound was asked to be amended. We received ‘A’ certificate. They said that in films with a touch of horror, the sounds are scary and that’s why the ‘A’ certificate. They asked me to change the lyrics of the song, though. I didn’t want to compromise on the impact. The song will be made available on YouTube, though.

Everyone, including Allu Arjun, lauded you at the pre-release function. Did you imagine the range of this movie before?

If I had not imagined the range of the movie before, we would not have spent Rs 20 Cr in making it. This is a pan-India movie. Business for all areas has been completed. We are very happy. People might feel that I have spent too much. I didn’t think that’s true. I always knew the capacity of this film by the end of the first schedule. I told the story to Allu Arjun a year and a half ago. After watching the trailer, he understood the range.

Will the film have a sequel?

‘Mangalavaaram’ will see an extension. I don’t know the word ‘franchise’ and all. I can’t use words like ‘sequel’ and ‘prequel’ at this point.

Tuesdays are seen as inauspicious by many. What does your title indicate?

Tuesday is an auspicious day. It is called Jayavaram. Earlier we used to have that day as the weekly off. The British changed the holiday to Sunday. As soon as the poster of this title was released, Vamsi garu called me and appreciated me.

What made you turn into a producer on A Creative Works with this film?

I have long wanted to produce movies. After ‘Maha Samudram’, I pitched the idea to my brother Suresh Varma. He and Swathi Reddy Gunupati decided to collaborate with me. They too were waiting for the right time to debut as producers.

When are you screening the movie for Allu Arjun and your guru RGV?

Bunny garu is currently busy with the shoot of ‘Pushpa 2’. It’s a huge schedule that is going on. I will screen it when he is free. As for my guru, he doesn’t watch movies beforehand. He watches them after the theatrical release.

When are you bringing back the combination of Kartikeya and Payal Rajput?

The audience are still in the ‘RX 100’ mindset. They see them as a victim and a villain. I can’t show them dancing and romancing. That’s why I won’t bring their combination again. I am ready to work with Kartikeya again.

How about your next film, now that expectations from you have multiplied?

I will try a genre I haven’t done before. It will be an intense action entertainer. I will reveal the hero’s name later.