What you see is more of a creative experiment: 'Kumari Srimathi' director Gomtesh Upadhye

Filmmaker Gomtesh Upadhye, on his first web series, the recently released 'Kumari Srimathi' and the flawed character played by Nithya Menen.
Nithya Menen in 'Kumari Srimathi'. (Photo | Express)
Nithya Menen in 'Kumari Srimathi'. (Photo | Express)

BENGALURU:  With a little bit of sweetness and cynicism, Kumari Srimathi on Amazon Prime Video, starring Nithya Menen, has managed to win hearts over the weekend. City-based filmmaker Gomtesh Upadhye, who directed the show, is quite happy with the response that the show has been getting, especially since the show took over three years to make. “There’s a huge sense of relief more than anything else,” says Upadhye, with a laugh. “I have been waiting to put it out for that reason and I’m also happy to see the responses that it is getting not just from the Telugu audience but from others too.”

The seven-episode web series revolves around a 30-year-old unmarried woman, Kumari Srimathi, who decides to open a bar in her village to deal with a financial problem. Upadhye reveals that the character and her situation were the result of a collective effort by a lot of writers. “The root of it comes from this Telugu writer, Balabhadra Patra Ramani, who is the one who had this idea of a girl in a village who is unmarried. I’m sure she had her own life experiences to include in that. On top of that, we got a lot of other writers to come in. Another writer, Malik Ram, who is also a director, put forth the idea of opening a bar. A bunch of writers sat together and wrote the structure, which of course, went through a lot of evolution,” says the filmmaker.

Though the story shows a ‘never-say-die’ attitude simply, Upadhye didn’t want it to be preachy. “We also didn’t want it to be one woman’s fight against everybody. We ultimately decided to see how it shapes up. So what you see is more of a creative experiment, rather than what the audience prefers or the right way to do something,” says Upadhye, adding that they didn’t ever want to take a moral stand.

The lace of humour in the story surely helped with that. “For example, the protagonist is from a small place where people are constantly asking her to get married. So when she puts up a fight with her uncle, we didn’t want to villainise the character since he is not a bad person,” he explains.

As a filmmaker and a viewer, he liked the flawed character. “She has temper issues and is not so heroic in solving her problems. Whenever required, she asks for help,” he says, adding that Menen was a perfect choice for the role. He adds, “Nithya is a thorough professional. Since she is also from Bengaluru, we bonded over that commonality. It was very comfortable, we had a good time working on this and I didn’t have to do anything in terms of changing her performance or anything else,” he says.

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The New Indian Express