As a director, Srinu Vaitla has had plenty of successes, but Aagadu, which released on September 19, was a mild misfire. The Mahesh Babu-Vaitla combination, which did work well for Dookudu (2011), was unable to hit that high mark in their second attempt.
But Vaitla says otherwise. “We wanted to show a different and unseen angle and that’s how we designed the rural cop role for Mahesh. The idea was to have a character-driven story, with entertainment as priority,” says the 41-year-old director, who also won the Filmfare Award for Best Director and South Indian International Movie Award for Dookudu.
In order to meet the audience’s expectations, Vaitla tried to exploit the ongoing trend in Tollywood, where lead characters don roles of cops. In Aagadu too, he created a rural police character for Mahesh, with Sonu Sood in a negative role. The film also had a special song by Shruti Haasan. “She was never seen in a special song like this before and she is a terrific dancer and that’s why I wanted her to do it,” says Vaitla. Concentrating on his strength—comedy—through innovative dialogues, the film was hyped even before its release. However, the film didn’t ring the bell at the box office as his other films did.
Another problem with Aagadu was that Vaitla, despite his soaring imagination, tended to repeat ideas and designed characters that were much similar to the ones in his previous films. He, however, rejects such criticism. “Every director has his own style. These comic sequences started with me and spread to other films too. But if you look closely, the first half was completely fresh comedy.”
Brushing aside the similarities between Aagadu and Dookudu, the director says, “After a blockbuster like Dookudu, it is natural for people’s expectations to soar sky high. The same happened with this film. So it is only natural that they compare it with Dookudu. But if you watch this film, independent of any comparisons, everyone will surely enjoy it.”
Aagadu’s collection opened in high numbers, but began to drop soon. But Vaitla thinks that it will scale better heights as Dasara vacation is on. “Mahesh and team are very much satisfied with the result and collections. And I am hopeful that after Dasara, it will pick up gradually.”
Talking about usage of parodies, the director says, “I was the one who started the trend of parodies in films. As long as people love my style of entertainment, nothing will deter me and I will not stop making such stuff.”
The director also takes a dig at actor Prakash Raj, who was replaced by Sonu Sood in the film. A dialogue that was a crowd favourite a while ago, has been retold by Sonu in the film. “That’s because I like that dialogue,” laughs Vaitla, adding that replacing him wasn’t a great loss.
The director is now positive about his next movie to begin with Ramcharan Tej by end of this year.