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Director Tharun Bhascker on ‘Pitta Kathalu’: I Consciously Wanted to Change My Genre of Films

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Photo Credit: A still from the segment 'Ramula' - Silverscreen Media Library

With Pitta Kathalu, Netflix’s upcoming Telugu anthology film, writer-director Tharun Bhascker says he has shifted genres- from romantic comedy to dark comedy.

In conversation with Telugu actor Naga Chaitanya, who was last seen in 2019 film Venky Mama, about his directorial segment Ramula during an interaction organised by Netflix, Bhascker said, “I consciously wanted to change the genre because… it’s the start of my career. I want to do as many experiments as possible, to wait and see if we can get better at different things. My main thing was to just break away from comedy and explore dark humour and also probably something more serious, and see where it leads me, otherwise I knew, I will put myself in a box and say only romcoms and comedy and… that will really tire me later, I felt.”

Pitta Kathalu, which releases on Netflix on February 19, marks the streaming giant’s first Telugu anthology film. The film has four segments, each directed by BV Nandini Reddy, Nag Ashwin, and Sankalp Reddy, along with Bhascker.

Chaitanya, who was moderating the interaction, described Ramula’s story as “how we get caught up in someone else’s agenda for no fault of ours and how life just goes off on a circle from there.”

Photo Credit: Netflix

Speaking about his OTT debut, Bhascker, who directed the 2016 Telugu film Pelli Choopulu, talked about the difference between writing for the big screen and the OTT. “Yes it is 100% different because for a two-hour film, we have these formats, right? So we are also talking about it, and interval bang, second half and that happens. But suddenly when there is a 30-minute thing what can you talk about. These are conversations that we have, when every time we are having coffee, and we are chatting with friends and we talk about something that happened some time back sometimes those stories are only 20 minutes, thirty minutes or whatever.”

Bhascker also agreed to the fact that while writing for OTT is more creatively satisfying, it is also more challenging.

When Bhascker asked Chaitanya if actors who are “used to being on the large screen” would be willing to appear in a 15-minute long segment on OTT, the actor said “I have always wanted to try different things. There are so many things in my mind that I want to express but I am always scared on screen because we’re so used to this format and there are so many permutations and combinations to it- will it work out or not work out? But just like how you said-there is so much more creative freedom when you don’t have those rules. And that’s what you’re doing right now. So, I’m definitely curious and I think I definitely want to attempt that too. Somewhere, we need to start balancing it out.”

Ramula’s cast includes actors Lakshmi Manchu, Saanve Megghana, and Abhay Bethiganti.

Asked if OTT gives actors room to experiment, Manchu said: “Not that this script had any of those elements that we could not have done in a regular theatrical film, but it’s just a feeling- I can be whatever, there is no boss, no boundaries.”

Debutant actor Megghana, who essays the titular role, in a press statement said, “The central theme of Pitta Kathalu is the power dynamics between men and women. Ramula is the story of a free spirited girl, quite ordinary, and her extraordinary journey with her lover.”

The others include Nandini Reddy’s Meera, Nag Ashwin’s xLife, and Sankalp Reddy’s Pinky.

Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP Movies and Ashi Dua Sara’s Flying Unicorn Entertainment, which had produced Netflix’s first Tamil anthology film, Paava Kadhaigal that released in December 2020, will be producing Pitta Kathalu.

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