Much like in the trailer of this week’s release, Puppy, the atmosphere in a suite room of a star hotel in Chennai is all fun and laughter. Samyuktha Hegde is fiddling with the TV remote control, trying to find out about a television personality, while Varun and I exchange pleasantries and wait for her to settle down. Soon enough, she does, and when she does, you can see her excitement about landing the film.
Excerpts from the conversation.
The trailer hinted at a fun coming-of-age film. Is there more to it?
Samyuktha Hegde: Puppy talks about premarital sex. How we are conveying it is said in a comical manner. Puppy revolves around a dog (named Puppy) and the two of us. The relationship between us can also be called puppy love; hence the title. The repercussions of premarital sex is explained in the movie. The film does not tell people to go have sex. It’s just a reflection of what’s happening these days that people are not ready to even acknowledge.
Varun: It is a coming-of-age film but what makes it unique is the fact that our film can be watched as a family. It is not an adult comedy, and there are no scenes to make people uncomfortable. The scenes you have watched in the trailer are in the film, yes, but when you see it as a story, it won’t look vulgar.
Premarital sex is a taboo subject in our country. Any apprehensions accepting this project?
Samyuktha: Of course we were apprehensive. A lot of people, especially after the trailer, have asked us if the film is suitable for everyone. But we got to understand that whatever we have said in the film is something that’s happening around us. Indians have the habit of keeping their private life private. While there are some topics which should be so, there are also others which should be discussed with the next generation before they take a wrong step. How you want to lead your life is up to you.
Is it safe to assume that Puppy also talks about the lack of sex education?
Samyuktha: Definitely. More than just sex alone, I feel that we lack any idea of the physicality of the other gender. Guys who grow up in a household with sisters at least get to know the concept of periods. But what if you are a single boy in a house? Your friends and family do not talk to you about such topics. This lack of education appalls me. We must know about our
own bodies at least by our late teens.
Considering you are talking about a sensitive topic here, was it hard to infuse comedy into it?
Varun: We have got Yogi Babu anna with us. The topic actually gave him more space to do what he does best. The conversations are similar to what we might have with our friends and so the relatability factor is high.
Samyuktha: We have opted for situational humour instead of adult humour. When we speak about something that you don’t want a 10-year-old to listen to, it automatically becomes adult talk, and when people laugh about it, it’s comical. Ironically, what happens in the film is serious, but the way the characters handle things is funny.
Aren’t you afraid of being typecast considering you are both new to the industry?
Samyuktha: Definitely, but Puppy will not be such a film. There’s actually a lot of acting scope in it. There are a lot of emotions too. When the film comes out, people will see the effort we have put in.
Varun: It’s a feel-good film but since the topic touches upon some adult stuff, we made the trailer what it is. The film has a message said in a non-preachy way.
Those who enjoyed Yogi Babu anna’s comedy in Comali, are in for a treat in Puppy. He’s also one of the leads. After LKG and Comali, Vels Film International is trying something new once again and we are sure it will be a hattrick for them.
Samyuktha: Speaking about Vels, I got my role in Comali because of Puppy, because they saw me in this film and thought I would be a good fit in Ravi sir’s film. I am lucky with how things have unfolded.
The trailer also suggests a serious side to the film...
Samyuktha: Exactly, thanks for noticing. Everybody was busy noticing just the kissing scenes. While you can connect with the humour, the emotions are something you will surely feel. What’s happening to us in the film is comical to the audience but it’s serious to the characters. There are scenes where you will feel for us and even hate us at some point.
Varun: Romance scenes create curiosity, and that’s why they are in the trailer. Like the sequence where students watch a porn film in a classroom, there are hilarious sequences in the film, but that’s not all there is. Towards the climax, we have a single-shot sequence for six minutes which is completely emotional. It will hold the film together.
The first look featured images of a porn star and a godman which resulted in a controversy.
Samyuktha: Varun was actually retweeting all those who made a fuss about it and was laughing. It was so funny for me to watch him do it.
Varun: I was actually happy that someone went to the extent of filing a case because it translates into promotion. We have seen it in bigger films, so I was happily tweeting about it. If the case was for a valid reason, we wouldn’t have reacted so, but if they end up filing cases for such issues, we cannot do anything about it.