Anand Deverakonda: It’s not a rule to aim for big numbers with every film

The Gam Gam Ganesha actor reflects on his conscious efforts to avoid ‘heroic’ roles in commercial cinema, what has changed for him after Baby’s success, and more
Anand Deverakonda: It’s not a rule to aim for big numbers with every film

In the last couple of years, Telugu filmmakers have made many attempts in the crime-comedy genre, such as Keedaa Cola, DJ Tillu, and Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya, to name a few. Many of these have resonated with the audience as well. However, Anand Deverakonda, who headlines the upcoming crime-comedy Gam Gam Ganesha, believes that there is still a lot more to explore within the genre. He adds, “I am a big fan of the genre. I would watch films like Swami Ra Ra (2013) and wonder, ‘Why don’t Telugu filmmakers make more like it?’ We see more of horror comedies or pure comedies, but there is a lot of scope in crime comedies.”

Anand expresses great faith in Gam Gam Ganesha living up to the genre’s challenges as well. He says, “Crime-comedies have certain tropes and rules. They need to surprise us and have sudden twists. There is a fun element throughout the film. Even the action in our film is in a fun space instead of a heroic space. Here, plot and screenplay are the hero, not the character.”

Talking about his role in the film, Anand explains how Gam Gam Ganesha is different from all his previous works. He states, “This time, I am not playing a boy-next-door figure or someone with a simple demeanour. This character is energetic and unpredictable in his behaviour. He thinks of himself as a hero but never behaves like one.”

The Baby actor talks about how comedies like Gam Gam Ganesha always resonate better with the audience when they watch these films in theatres. He says, “We recently had a private screening for our film, and everyone was enjoying themselves and laughing a lot. Sometimes, when you watch comedies on OTT, you miss out on the humour. Comedy always works better with collective viewing."

Anand’s previous film Baby emerged as a surprise blockbuster at the box office. However, Anand states that he doesn’t feel the pressure to up the ante with every film. He explains, “There is an individual success metre for each film. Just because Baby earned over 100 crores, it doesn’t mean that we are aiming for 150 crores with Gam Gam Ganesha. It’s not a rule to aim for higher numbers with each film. If we break even, recover our costs, and get good reviews, it’s a success in our eyes.” At the same time, Anand admits that financial success for any film enables him to sign films on a larger scale. He elaborates, “Middle Class Melodies (2020) was made for 3 crores. Pushpaka Vimana (2021) cost 4 crores. The budget for Baby was 6 crores. Now, after Baby, producers would be more willing to take risks and make a 15 crore film with me.”

Still, the Baby actor reminds us that Gam Gam Ganesha, being a small-budget film, faced many obstacles on a production level, including a huge set that was destroyed in the rains and had to be rebuilt. Anand credits his director, Uday Bommisetty, for staying perseverant through it all while handling a huge team of actors. He says, “He stayed determined and overcame everything on his own. He is a great writer, technicaly very skilled, and has fabulous comedy timing.” Anand also praises how the director executed the expansive climactic sequence within a limited shoot schedule, without compromising on quality. “Uday is a director to watch out for,” Anand adds.

When asked if he wants to eventually dabble in big-scale mass films with conventionally heroic roles, Anand says, “Of course, I would like all my films to do well at the box office, but I also want to bring something new with every film. I have not done typically heroic roles so far and won’t do so in the future either.” Anand mentions one of his upcoming projects as an example, where he would be seen doing a lot of action. “Even those action sequences would be in a raw and realistic space, not heroic.”

Anand mentions actors like Vijay Sethupathi, Dulquer Salmaan, and Fahadh Faasil as inspiration, adding how he admires them for their ability to explore different roles at once.

Anand received plenty of positive feedback for his dance moves in the song ‘Picchiga Nacchesave', which was released a few days ago. Commenting on his gradual inclination towards dancing, he states, “I didn’t get too many dancing opportunities in my early films. Even when it comes to Baby, a long take scene where I danced was removed from the final cut.” Anand also credits his elder brother and actor Vijay Deverakonda for pushing him to hone his dancing skills, adding, “Vijay Anna keeps pushing me to practice dancing because during childhood, I would copy stars on television. Who knew then that I would join films?”

Anand has often been compared with his brother for their vocal similarities and has also been accused of imitating Vijay. Anand asserts that he never takes these allegations to heart. “There are too many opinions, and I can’t please everyone. I think that’s why I am able to survive; I approach these things casually.”

Anand returns to the subject of Gam Gam Ganesha making for a suitable film choice for family audience. He says, “This is a clean family entertainer, which kids too will enjoy. It’s not intense like Baby and remains a very light watch.” Further talking about why it makes for a perfect theatre watch, he adds, “This summer, we have not had many films that can be watched wholeheartedly with families and children. Gam Gam Ganesha will change that.”

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