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'Devil' is witty, big-scale, Sherlock Holmes-ish: Nandamuri Kalyanram

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Nandamuri Kalyanram says that 'Devil' is entirely fictional. But the murder mystery has been blended with some real-life references by writer Srikanth Vissa and director-producer Abhishek Nama. Ahead of the period spy thriller's theatrical release on December 29, Kalayanram sounds confident that it will amaze the audience. He talks about the scale of the year-end release in this interview, praising his director and the entire team.

It was in 2021 that Srikanth Vissa narrated a story to me. I liked the 1940s backdrop and the Sherlock Homles touch. This is the wittiest character I have ever played. The investigative thrills have a unique spin in 'Devil'. Vissa didn't write the story with me in mind. It was producer Abhishek Nama who advised him to narrate the story to me.

When 'Devil' came my way, 'Bimbisara' was half done. I advised Vissa to make the script more commercial and enlarge its scale so that it matches the commercial range of 'Bimbisara'. The scripting took one year, while the making took another one year. The writers had to write the investigation track in such a way that logic was respected. Back in the 1940s, where was the technology? Today if you are making a thriller, you can use call records and CCTV footage as evidence. 'Devil' is set in a pre-technology era.

'Amigos' was novel but it was not commercial enough. I should have prodded its director to make it more audience-friendly. By contrast, 'Devil' has both span and range. '118' was a thriller but its scale was smaller compared to 'Devil'. The trailer for 'Devil' says everything. The treatment is high-end.

Cinematographer Soundar Rajan is a high-quality technician. The costumes are meticulous as well. Rajesh and Ashwin, who have worked with me since 2017, have delivered the perfect work. Harshavardhan Rameshwar's background music is awesome. Director Nama is a student of arts and he ensured that the backdrop was genuinely fleshed out. We want to end this year on a high note, with a smile!

Patriotism is an undercurrent in 'Devil' that I don't want to talk about at this stage. The audience would do well to discover it for themselves. My character has no grey shades. When you watch 'Devil', you will be stunned by the detailing. The accessories, the set properties are all authentic.

Both Samyuktha Menon and Malavika Nair have crucial roles. After a film like 'Virupaksha', she has a strong female lead role. She is as important as the hero. Malavika is part of a different track altogether.

We have 'Devil 2' in mind. We have completed half of the script. The climax of 'Devil', however, doesn't have a lead to the sequel. Before 'Bimbisara 2', I will be completing a film.

'OM 3D' (2013) taught me that production is not an easy task. The films I have produced since then on NTR Arts didn't see my involvement after the script was finalized. Hari takes care of everything.

It is the teaser and trailer that determine whether the audience want to watch your film. The public are not going to be enticed by what I speak in the interviews.

I have no intention to become a writer or director. We have a very talented set of writers in our industry.

The shoot of Tarak's 'Devara Part 1' is complete to the tune of 80%. Its first glimpse will be released once we are satisfied with the output. I and my brother have this policy of not reacting to rumours about the glimpse dates in the media. False rumours die out in a day.

Updated on December 26, 2023