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Sree Vishnu Interview – Om Bheem Bush

Om Bheem Bush isn’t merely an entertainer; audiences will have many other takeaways, Sree Vishnu tells Srivathsan Nadadhur

Sree Vishnu, whose Om Bheem Bush releases this Friday, has spent more than 15 years in the industry, alternating from a hero’s sidekick to a character artiste to a solo lead, grabbing the best of whatever has come his way. While Vishnu starred in a handful of acclaimed films – Brochevarevarura, Samajavaragamana, Mental Madhilo and Raja Raja Chora – his asset has been his consistency.

While charting the less-travelled route, Vishnu didn’t let the occasional setback prevail over his instincts. “I have been in the industry for over 16 years and I realised there’s no success formula. I can’t limit myself and claim I’ll do only lead roles. Excepting a few instances of superstardom, it’s important to be a good actor to survive here.”

As an actor, his priority is ensuring that a producer gets back the money he’s invested in a film. “Just because my previous film did well, hypothetically say Rs 100 crore, I can’t change the budget of my next project overnight and spend extravagantly. One needs to spend what’s necessary for the film and in most instances recently, producers have secured handsome deals out of my projects.”

On that note, V Celluloid, which backed Om Bheem Bush, has already gained three-four times table profit with the pre-release deals. “It’s a first for me to see a producer benefit so well from my project,” he has a shy smile. The film was greenlit out of the blues, when another script that Sree Vishnu wasn’t satisfied with, was put behind the backburner.

“Another film of mine under the banner was to go on floors immediately but I wasn’t happy with the dialogue version. Om Bheem Bush was a script I liked and it took off in its place.” Also starring Priyadarshi and Rahul Ramakrishna, the film, helmed by Hushaaru fame Sree Harsha Konuganti, marks the reunion of the Brochevarevarura trio in a rural entertainer.

The story is a madcap comedy revolving around three PhD students stuck in the same college for a decade and are thrown out of it later. They land at a village Bhairavapuram, and find a way to survive with their worldly wisdom and make money. When the residents entrust them to find treasure in an abandoned house, all hell breaks loose.

“As an actor, I’ve done many films where I’ve stuck to a genre entirely in a script, without deviating from it. With Om Bheem Bush, I got an opportunity to try a bit of everything – of which entertainment is a significant factor. I’m sure audiences will come out of the theatres, appreciating the film for other factors beyond humour. The film’s USP is its novelty, it’s a subject not attempted before.”

The story of Om Bheem Bush is straightforward, yes, but what makes it special is the verbal banters between the lead trio and the residents amidst a rural landscape. “This is a kind of film where it’s hard to ask for a bound script to say yes; you need to go by the concept. A conducive atmosphere on the set is crucial to make the one-liners and the timing work.”

“Given it would get late for shoots, we arranged a makeshift accommodation within the village, that I, Rahul and Darshi shared. Thanks to the ‘powders’ used during the shoot, we would take turns to sneeze and cough in the nights.” As the face of the film, Sree Vishnu’s focus was to have a formidable technical team that’s in sync with the director’s sensibilities.

The director’s association with the cinematographer and the music director is key to delivering a quality product in a stress-free ambience, the actor believes. “Sree Harsha genuinely believed in Raj Thota’s work while Sunny MR (who worked on Swamy Ra Ra, Uyyala Jampala) is one of my favourites and he’s hungrier than ever before to prove himself again.”

A rather forgettable memory during the film’s shoot is how it went on floors with a dance number, an idea he was not at all comfortable with. “I’d do comedy, fight out the baddies among crowds, but I struggle to dance and the lip-syncing only added to my agony. However, I’m happy it shaped up well; you’ll enjoy it (Bang Bros) on the big screen.” Priya Vadlamani makes a special appearance in the number.

No call has been made on the film’s pre-release premieres yet. “The team just finished the final reel this morning, they’ve been spending sleepless nights, burning the midnight oil to release it as per plan. We hope to organise previews before release, I guess we have the time.”

He has high hopes on his next release – Swag – for which he’s joining hands again with Raja Raja Chora director Hasith Goli. “It’s a lovely story of how we’ve moved from a matrilineal to a patrilineal society. After the release tensions of Om Bheem Bush subsides, I’ll have to make notes from the director to explain it better. There are great vibes already, we’re only a week away from completion.”

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