‘Netflix offered complete freedom for Pitta Kathalu’

The National Award-winning director reveals that narration isn’t his forte and he was the only one of the four filmmakers on the project to keep his script a secret.

Published: 24th February 2021 10:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th February 2021 10:38 AM   |  A+A-

A poster of 'Pitta Kathalu'

A poster of 'Pitta Kathalu' (Photo| Cinema Express)

Express News Service

Sankalp Reddy, known for weaving stories on a large canvas in his previous outings Ghazi (underwater) and Antariksham 9000 KMPH (space), has chosen to tell a relatable tale about complex relationships in his latest work, Pinky. He describes his segment in Netflix’s Telugu anthology, Pitta Kathalu, as a complicated take on a simple story. “When I was approached by the makers of Lust Stories to make an original for Telugu, I didn’t want to make a straight-forward love story. Instead, I wanted to make it really interesting by playing with the screenplay.”

The National Award-winning director reveals that narration isn’t his forte and he was the only one of the four filmmakers on the project to keep his script a secret. “In my defence, the screenplay is too complicated to narrate (laughs). Nandhini (Reddy), Tharun (Bhascker), and Nagi (Nag Ashwin) told me their stories even before they finished shooting. I showed Pinky to them only during post-production.”

Eesha Rebba, who plays the titular Pinky, isn’t new to anthologies; she previously worked in Prasanth Varma’s Awe. However, OTT is a new arena for her. She shares that she didn’t have any second thoughts when offered a project which brought together a creator like Sankalp Reddy and an international streaming platform like Netflix. “I wanted to do something apart from the usual. The script of Pinky was so unique and I didn’t want to miss the chance.” She feels the film has premiered at the right time. “The lockdown has changed everything for cinema. People are more open to OTT releases and anthologies. These platforms have widened the stage for deserving actors and creators.”

Eesha’s co-actor on the short, Ashima Narwal has worked in both Tamil and Telugu industries. Ashima seconds Eesha’s thoughts and highlights the fact that every Netflix release is also a multilingual. “Pitta Kathalu, for instance, is dubbed into Tamil, Hindi, and even English, and our content is reaching more than 190 countries. If a film can convey emotions successfully, the language becomes secondary. And this visibility, in turn, will create a greater avenue for growing actors like me.”

Asked if taking the films to a global audience was a priority, Sankalp denies it at once. “That was never our aim. We just wanted to make a film about powerful women, both good and bad. We knew that Netflix would take care of getting the film to everyone.” Eesha points out another interesting aspect of OTT releases. “The audience has the power to pause, rewind, and minutely scrutinise our work now. Both bad and good performances will be under the scanner. While the former will be lauded, the latter will have to face the heat. This adds a lot of responsibility on performers.”

Sankalp, however, feels that the liberty given to the creators is immense in such OTT originals. “The makers gave us a complete freehand. All four of us had the freedom to choose any story of our choice which could be made within the budget This is an unimaginable scenario in a normal feature film.”

About the tricky, open-ended climax, and the suspense surrounding Pinky’s pregnancy, he says, “It is kept open intentionally. I wanted the climax to be this way from day one. And no, I am not going to explain it. I want everyone to interpret it the way they want.” He adds that he did a test screening with a variety of audience and observed their reaction to the end. “The ten people who saw the film had ten different conclusions. I consider this the biggest success of our film.”


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