My film might fail due to low audience turnout, not because people didn’t like it: VS Mukkhesh

The director talks about making his debut feature, 'Market Mahalakshmi', the challenges of making small-scale films in present times, and more
A still from the movie ' Market Mahalakshmi'
A still from the movie ' Market Mahalakshmi'

Filmaker VS Mukkhesh makes his debut with 'Market Mahalakshmi', which will hit theatres on April 19. The romantic drama tells the story of an upper-class software engineer (Parvateesam) who falls in love with a free-spirited vegetable vendor (Praneekaanvika).

While the premise of 'Market Mahalakshmi' might seem a tad unrealistic, the director informs us that the film is inspired by a true story. He states, “I know a family like this. It is a real story, which I have based my story upon. I understand if it seems rare, but it did happen.”

For a debutant filmmaker, Mukkhesh sounds extremely confident about his film, adding that there is a unique element in the second half of Market Mahalakshmi that sets the film apart. Mukkhesh notes, “It is something no film has touched upon before. Yet, it’s a very relatable topic, something that all young lovers and their families think about.”

The filmmaker also remains very guarded about the storyline of his film, claiming that they have consciously avoided using their film’s central conflict in their promotional campaign. He elaborates, “We didn’t want to cash in on that sensitive topic. But when you watch the film, you will agree that we took the right decision.” When asked if he intends to give any message with the film, Mukkhesh cryptically answers, “Everyone who is married but lives away from their parents will connect with the film.”

Before becoming a filmmaker, VS Mukkhesh made plenty of short films and worked on a web series titled Afhrieen. That’s where he met producer Akhilesh Kalaru, and he narrated the script of 'Market Mahalakshmi' to him. The film went on the floors in February 2023, the director informs us. While the overall shoot process lasted a few months, Mukkhesh tells us they actually shot for their film in merely 24 days, including the song sequences. “My short film experience came in handy,” Mukkhesh adds.

Mukkhesh also confidently asserts that he has made a very taut and engaging film, stating, “Its duration is 2 hours and 14 minutes, and I have not wasted a single frame. The film is entirely story-driven. The story kicks in right at the beginning.” The director is in awe of both his lead performers, Parvateesam and Praneekaanvikaa. He calls Praneekaanvikaa’s performance ‘outstanding’ and claims that 'Market Mahalakshmi' will also be remembered as Parvateesam’s comeback film.

Mukkhesh credits his producer, Akhilesh Kalaru, for instilling in him the confidence to aim for a theatrical release. The debutant director elaborates, “When we started 'Market Mahalakshmi', we were aiming for an OTT release. However, midway through the film’s shoot, Akhilesh garu suggested we plan for a theatrical release. We feared the possibility of becoming a cautionary tale for all the smaller films, but there was also hope.”

The director talks at length about the challenges of making a film like Market Mahalakshmi, acknowledging that present times are particularly tough for smaller films to sustain a good run at the box office. He says everyone in the industry, including the bigger personalities, wants to work on small films. Yet, he adds, everyone is waiting for something to click before they jump on the bandwagon. Yet he remains very assured about the longevity of Market Mahalakshmi as a memorable film.

He says, “My film might fail because of low audience turnout, but not because people didn’t like it. Whoever will watch my film will like it. It will surely be a hit on OTT.” Mukkesh informs us that they have been approached by some of the smaller streaming platforms for OTT rights, adding that the entire team is waiting for the film’s release to take a call. “We want our film to prove itself,” he says.

Mukkhesh further talks about his struggles with making a film as a newcomer. He elaborates, “Right now, the market is such that people will question whether a debutant can handle any unconventional subject. Nobody will trust a newcomer. It’s only when we prove ourselves that we get good opportunities. So, Market Mahalakshmi is to prove my mettle.”

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express