Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi (PAPA) is Srinivas Avasarala’s film with his trademark comedy, emotion, and classical touches. The cute pairing of Naga Shourya and Malvika Nair, and their sparkling chemistry shall be the highlight of the film. The movie is produced by produced by People Media Factory in collaboration with Dasari Productions. Ahead of the release on March 17, Malvika Nair spoke to the media.
Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi looks like a long journey for you. Can you tell us how it happened?
I am repeatedly watching the trailer of Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi. For the first time, I felt it is a representation of who I am as an artiste. So far, I gave my best to the film and to my character and the rest is left to the crew. More than as an actor, I was looking at the film by stepping into the shoes of the director. To work with somebody like Srinivas Avasarala, who learnt the ropes of filmmaking in the USA. And came back to India to work in Telugu cinema. He loves the language. He has good command over the language. In the process, my Telugu speaking skills too improved. I happened to work with sync sound in the film. I am happy about the output.
Can we assume that the story is about a journey of a boy and a girl at a specific time frame?
The time frame is between 18 and 28 years. Usually, if you take any love story, the relationship unfolds across two, three years. My co-star Naga Shaurya had really worked hard to get the look, first as a college-goer and the time when he does Masters. So, every chapter in the movie has a kind of theme. One has all happy moments. And the other is again full of hatred. I feel like I did a good job.
This film is about the journey of me and Naga Shaurya. So I truly felt the urge to do such a story when I first heard the narration from director Srinivas Avasarala.
Characters in Srinivas Avasarala's films are closer to real life, you're supposed to tone down your acting when you work with him. Please share your experience.
It is difficult for me to enact something without understanding a character. Even if I dub for my characters, they ask me to open up and dramatise things. In this film, I don't talk with an extra added amount of sweetness. It is very normal which I liked to do in the film.
Do you relate to the character in the film?
No, I think I relate more to Sanjay's character played by Naga Shaurya than my character. I play the role of Anupama in the film. She is a bit reserved. Coming to real life, I am a person who loves to give. But if I am hurt by anyone, I will distance them from my life. Scenes may seem repetitive in a love story but the reason we fight sometimes appears that it's all the same everywhere.
During promotions, Naga Shaurya has said that nobody can remake 'Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi'. What's your observation on this?
I think when we are on the sets, only three to four people would know what is being made. DOP, actors and of course the director of the film know the job and what's going on on the sets. And the rest of the crew would dispose of things, it's a routine job for them. I think Shaurya might have felt the magic of the making somewhere there.
Is it a regular film or an experimental one?
I can't say it is a regular film. Definitely, there is no emotion that we can't connect to. You feel good when you see the film.
In real life, most of the time the boy first makes it's the boy who first makes advances to propose to a girl. But in the trailer, it is you who is making all the efforts and the boy is avoiding it.
Yes, the boy's character is very shy in the film. But in the movie, there is no specific scene where I propose to him. Their friendship gradually makes them discover the relationship. The film has real characters, real-life conversations without the third person.
How justifiable it is to bring a realistic film like 'Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi' into the market where commercial cinema holds sway?
It's about the audience who watches it. At the end of the day, it is for the entertainment that they're paying for. We're not giving any crash course on life here. If Srinivas' writing is here to entertain the audience as realistically as possible, that is his way of making a movie. As long as audiences are happy, it doesn't matter whether you're making a realistic film or a commercial film.
What were you reactions to the intimate scenes in the film?
No, if you watch the trailer, it is just that. That's how tastefully they have done it. As a woman, I didn't feel uncomfortable, I didn't feel objectified, to show in a specific manner, or tantalise anybody. I felt it's a natural part of it and there is so much story apart from that.
What is it like to travel with the character these many years?
During the shooting in the UK, I struggled a lot to let go of my emotions soon after the shooting. Srinivas helped me to overcome the situations at that time.
You bagged good hits in Telugu cinema. But audiences are of an opinion that you didn't get the stardom that you deserve.
I don't think anything about it. I can't control people's thoughts. I will think about it. And there are parts where I could have improved which I think I am improving.