Exclusive: ‘Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty’ isn’t a female-centric film but a love story, says director Mahesh Babu P

'Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty' is about a woman who seeks unconditional love and believes that it is possible through motherhood.

ByY Sunita

Published Aug 29, 2023 | 11:26 AMUpdatedAug 29, 2023 | 11:26 AM

Director Mahesh Babu P

Mahesh Babu Pachigolla is in focus right now. The engineering graduate-turned-filmmaker is releasing his second film Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty on 7 September.

After a series of short films, Mahesh made his debut with Ra Ra Krishnayya (2014). After interning with director Krishna Vamsi, he set out to do his own film and gathered vast knowledge in writing and filmmaking.

“I have evolved and made an earnest attempt. I was honest with what I was doing. A lot of factors have aligned with my ideology and work,” the director said, in an exclusive interview with South First.

“Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty is the story about a woman who seeks unconditional love and believes that it is possible through motherhood. It portrays a beautiful love story between Siddhu Polishetty (Naveen Polishetty) and Anvita Shetty (Anushka Shetty) and it is not a woman-centric movie,” Mahesh Babu P clarified.

Excerpts from the interview:

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Q. Why did you take so long to make your second film?

Mahesh Babu with Murali Sharma

Mahesh Babu with Murali Sharma on the sets of ‘Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty’. (Supplied)

A. I met director Sukumar and asked him if I could be his assistant director. He said, “Irrespective of the time you spend on my projects and the number of films you’re part of as an assistant director, the first film is always the first.”

He also told me to focus on making my movie and not waste time being an assistant.

So, I started writing the next day. Believe me, scriptwriting is a tiring job. You don’t get a source of income and no one understands what you are doing. You don’t know whether the ideas you are penning will transform into a film or not.

I read a couple of screenplay books and believed that I have a particular taste. The resources to execute such an idea are quite few. So, the brain slowly gets trained to write. Sometimes it may sound dumb but you will eventually get there.

About the central characters

Q. Could you brief us about both the central characters of Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty?

A. Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty is a fiction. Anushka always played larger-than-life roles in movies. Like Deepika Padukone in Piku (2015), Anushka here is rooted emotionally. She is strong and independent by nature.

The film is not female-centric at all. It is a beautiful story between a man and a woman. The central idea has been generated through the woman’s character. It is essentially a rom-com.

Even before I approached Anushka, I wanted the two characters to be completely opposite. I wanted to say something about love that does not match in any one aspect.

I didn’t want romance and flirtationship, but wanted the lead pair to be quirky and witty —definitely not poetic or dramatic.

There is drama, too. When it hits you, you can feel the emotions in the right portion.

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Q. Isn’t the trailer about an older woman wanting a baby sans commitment? What is your take on the trailer?

mahesh babu miss shetty mr polishetty

Mahesh Babu P on the sets of ‘Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty’. (Supplied)

A. The taboo associated with the conflict point of the story is exciting. Today’s feminism is different; it is based on our thought process.

A woman wanting to have a baby might have gone through an incident that impacted her. Her outlook towards society keeps changing; a normal situation might seem abnormal to her and she can have strong opinions.

She makes decisions based on many factors and only time can tell if they are right or wrong.

Q. The story is supposedly fresh but the title smacks of laziness. Why?

A. I have written at least 15-20 titles but they didn’t get me excited.

The producers are in the business; the actors are stars and I was thinking from the point of view of a writer-director. But I realised that the titles weren’t catchy to draw audiences’ attention.

And one day, I read a newspaper where a report mentioned “Shetty tho Polishetty”. It then hit me. I thought of naming the movie after the two central characters around which the story revolves.

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About Naveen Polishetty

Q. Why did you choose Naveen Polishetty as the lead?

naveen polishetty miss shetty mr polishetty

Actor Naveen Polishetty in a working still from ‘Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty’. (Supplied)

A. Naveen Polishetty’s energy is infectious and he added so much value to the story.

When I wrote the character of the male lead, I found it tough to cast an actor alongside Anushka. The images of other actors didn’t fit into the story and it took time for me to break down the cast.

Once Anushka was in, I approached Naveen and it was my best decision.

We needed an actor and there is an emotional drive apart from a comedy quotient in the story which he pulled off effortlessly. As an actor, Naveen is amazing and a delight to work with.

Anushka has vast experience and what she gave the project is unmatchable.

Q. Tell us about Naveen’s role in the movie.

A. He plays a stand-up comedian and the character needs talkative energy. Stand-up comedians are witty and too good with their lines.

Naveen Polishetty is definitely not repeating his role in Jathi Ratnalu (2021). He is part of the story and he played his role too well.

He carries the film on his shoulders. As the character progresses and evolves, the story also aligns with it parallelly. The credit for the stand-up comedy part in the movie goes to Naveen and the real stand-up comedians.

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About stand-up comedy

Q. How easy or difficult was it to write for this film?

telugu director Mahesh Babu P

Telugu director Mahesh Babu P. (Supplied)

A. I submitted the first draft with content and duration to several standup comedians. My drafts usually look like a scene with dialogues, which does not work here.

Stand-up comedy is something those comedians write by themselves from their perspective. So, they wrote a 10-minute content.

But I was insisting that they write lines for just two minutes. At a point, I found it frustrating as I was restraining them too much.

Meanwhile, Naveen Polishetty also jammed. So, I edited the content according to my script.

Stand-up comedy is all about surprises and you need to surprise the audience through your act. Naveen worked in AIB (All India Bakchod comedy group) and is a writer himself. We couldn’t have found a better actor for the role.

Q. Tell us about the technicians in the film.

A. Neerav Shah, the finest cinematographer and a learned person, is a part of our project.

He is like an Osho in a white beard, but he is so witty at heart. He would push me to the next level to improvise the comedy happening in the scene.

Rajeevan is the art director. He is a cool guy and always wears a smile. His intention is to make things happen for the director.

Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao is the editor. He is vastly experienced.

The music is by Radhaan who earlier worked for Arjun Reddy (2017).

Though you know the situation, Miss Shetty Mr Polishetty is a story you’d want to watch with a gathering and have a nice laugh. Because every scene in the movie is fun. In fact, you’d want to watch it at home, too.

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