Krishnamachary K: Getup Srinu is a director’s artist

Raju Yadav director Krishnamachary talks to CE about why he prefers realism over a cinematic approach, about what makes his film’s star Getup Srinu a cut apart from the rest, and more
Krishnamachary K: Getup Srinu is a director’s artist

Getup Srinu, who is popular for his comic performances in films like iSmart Shankar, Liger, and Hanuman, will soon be seen as the main lead in Raju Yadav, which releases on May 24. The film centres around the life of Raju (played by Srinu), a young man who is impaired with a unique medical condition where his facial muscles get irrevocably contorted. As a result, Raju ends up with a permanent smile-like expression on his face. Ahead of the film’s release, director Krishnamachary K talks about how his debut film came together.

Krishnamachary mentions watching a film where a character (played by veteran comedian Ali) kept laughing irrespective of his situation or mood. “That element stayed with me. Later in my research, I came across the story of cricketer Lakshmipathy Balaji, who had some surgery in his childhood, and hence always has a smile-like expression on his face.” The director informs that Raju Yadav is inspired by Balaji’s story, and the majority of the narrative is entirely fictional. He adds, “90 percent of us have some physical condition that sets us apart or makes us different from others. I wanted to build a story around this.” When asked why his debut film is titled Raju Yadav, Krishnamachary emphatically states that he wanted to represent the underprivileged communities, who comprise a major section of our society. He elaborates. “Our story is universal. And 90 percent of middle-class families hail from underprivileged castes. So I decided to keep it realistic. And the term Raju Yadav has a nice ring to it.”

Krishnamachary is a big proponent of maintaining realism in movies. He states that he prefers to keep things realistic and relatable, as opposed to cinematic, which often ends up looking artificial. He adds, “It’s easier to create cinematic stuff, but a lot more difficult to keep movies realistic.” Krishnamachary mentions the Tamil and Malayalam film industries, for example, where more emphasis is placed on realism. “We often talk about these films and how great they are, but we never attempt something similar ourselves.”

Krishnamachary is full of praise for his lead actor, Getup Srinu, who is also the biggest selling point of Raju Yadav. The director adds, “I have seen a lot of big stars from close quarters, many of whom frequently express discomfort with unconventional scenes, costumes, and other things. Srinu didn’t create any such fuss.” Krishnamachary also recalls how Srinu would often change costumes in cars depending on location, a sign of his exceptional cooperation. The debutant filmmaker also talks about how sometimes the presence of a big star changes the tone of a film. He explains, “The big market heroes do not bring realism. When they carry certain stories, it becomes artificial. And I consciously choose to stay away from any artificiality. My intention is to always tell stories naturally. There is not a single set in the film, nor any designer outfit or colourful locations.”

Krishnamachary also opens up about the various issues that often accompany movies like this. “It becomes a time-consuming process. We faced weather issues when there were untimely rains.” The director also recalls shooting a particular sequence at the Hyderabad bus stand, where the entire crew, including Getup Srinu, got on location wearing marks. He reminisces further, “Srinu would take off his mask right before we said ‘action,’ and still people would instantly assemble around him and recognise him.”

At the same time, Krishnamachary also acknowledges that a known face like Getup Srinu brings its own set of expectations for any film, where audiences expect a full-fledged comedy. Krishnamachary opens up on why he chose to cast Getup Srinu, adding, “This was a performance-based character. When I first did workshops, the shortlisted actors did not live up to the mark. That’s when I started looking for a good actor and decided to cast Getup Srinu.” Krishnamachary also recalls how Getup Srinu was the last to come on board and how they waited for two months before eventually beginning the shoot. “He is one of the best actors around. More importantly, he is a director’s artist,” he adds.

Before making Raju Yadav, Krishnamachary spent nearly 15 years in the film industry, working as an assistant director and associate director. The director recalls days during that phase when he would long to take the big leap and become an independent filmmaker. The filmmaker adds on a lighter note how, after making Raju Yadav, he often longs to return to his days as an assistant director. “The point is that every kind of work on a film set has its own set of challenges,” Krishnamachary concludes.

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