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I realised my flair for comedy a bit late: Merlapaka Gandhi

I realised my flair for comedy a bit late: Merlapaka Gandhi
Highlights

I was kind of broody and serious, until I made a short film ‘Kharmara Devudaa’. While making the film I realised that I have a flair  for comedy and the appreciation I got for the short film was like a testament.

You tickled audience’s funny bones with your previous films, ‘Venkatadri Express’ and ‘Express Raja’. Is our next outing also a comic caper?
Yes, my next with Nani will have good dose of humour and that is all I will be revealing about my next film (laughs).

You have a penchant for comedy, how did it all started?
I was kind of broody and serious, until I made a short film ‘Kharmara Devudaa’. While making the film I realised that I have a flair for comedy and the appreciation I got for the short film was like a testament.

Coming back to your movie, ‘Express Raja’, the screenplay has similarities to that of Hollywood movie ‘Vantage Point’, was it a deliberate move?
Yes, it was. I loved screenplay of ‘Vantage Point’, wherein a new character is introduced every 15 minutes and it changes the direction of the narrative. I wanted my stories to have a structure and used the screenplay format for ‘Express Raja’.

Is it true that you enrolled in a film institute to study cinematography? How come direction then?
I was always interested in direction. I had to convince my father, who has misgivings about the profession that it cannot sustain livelihood. To appease him I enrolled in cinematography and told him that even if I fail to make the cut, I can make a living by shooting weddings.

However, in LV Prasad Institute in the first year of the course, we used to have both direction and cinematography classes, so I started attending direction classes more.

Your father Merlapaka Murali is an acclaimed novelist, how much of an influence is he?
It was him, who initiated me in to books at a very young age and the habit stayed. I am an avid reader and it helps a lot while I am writing script.

‘Venkatadri Express’ released in 2013, ‘Express Raja’ in 2016 and your next is yet to go on floors. Isn’t the gap between movies a bit long?
It was not intentional. Between my first and second movies a few projects did not materialise. Same is the case now.

By Aditya Parankusam

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