‘Malli Pelli’ is an honest story about Pavitra Lokesh and my personal life, says actor VK Naresh

"Although Pavitra and I were neck-deep in controversy, the director was confident that the subject would catch the attention of the public," he adds.

ByPrakash Pecheti

Published May 26, 2023 | 2:27 PM Updated Aug 10, 2023 | 4:03 PM

Malli Pelli actor Naresh

Malli Pelli is the buzzword of late, on social media at least. This yet-to-be-released film — starring VK Naresh and Pavitra Lokesh — has left audiences curious as to whether it is the true love story of the most talked-about couple or it is just a fictitious story to satiate the hunger of film lovers. 

“It’s very much about our personal lives,” clarifies a bold VK Naresh and adds, “We didn’t want to cheat the audiences with gimmicks.” To save you the trouble of a Google search, 63-year-old Naresh tied the knot with 44-year-old Pavitra in an intimate ceremony in March 2023, amidst controversy that he fell in love with the actor while still married.

Speaking about the film to a select group of reporters, Naresh says, “Director MS Raju advised that since we’re making the film amidst a negative campaign against us, why not send a message out that we love each other, and that’s how this all took shape.”

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Early career

Having started his career as a child artist when he was barely nine years with Pandanti Kapuram in 1972, Naresh admits that he entered the film industry not to become a star, but out of a passion for cinema. 

He, however, touched career heights quickly. He played the protagonist in Nalugu Sthambalata, released in 1982, when he was just 18 years old.  

“After my stint as a politician (with the BJP) and my role as president of the Movie Artists’ Association (MAA), I am now back in action and I’ve become a successful character artiste. I should thank all my directors for the recognition I’ve been getting as a character artiste — Guntur Talkies (2016), Chandamama Kathalu (2014), Andaru Bagundali Andulo Nenundali (2022), among other films. But in this 50th year, I am happy to come before audiences with a film as a lead protagonist,” says the actor.

In fact, Vijaya Krishna Movies, his production house that was set up by his mother — late Vijaya Nirmala — celebrates 50 years in the industry. 

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Continuing the legacy 

Team Malli Pelli

Team Malli Pelli. (Twitter)

Tracing back the idea of setting up a production house way back in 1972 by his mother Vijaya Nirmala, the actor recalls, “Mom (Vijaya Nirmala) was a voracious reader. To put forth her thoughts through films, she convinced her husband to set up a production house. It came up with rebellious films, like the 1973 movie Meena — the story of a girl when society was fighting against the love-marriage taboo back in the feudal era.”

“There were several bold films mirroring society back then. To continue the legacy, we wanted to come up with a bold film. Malli Pelli is that sort of a story that will connect with a large section of audiences,” says Naresh.

He further adds, “It all happened when I narrated this personal story to director MS Raju, with whom I’ve been wanting to do a film. There’s a divorce going on and I’m in a relationship with Pavitra Lokesh. Although Pavitra and I were neck-deep in controversies, the director was confident that the subject has the potential to catch the attention of the public.” 

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Youngsters are afraid of marriage

Naresh and Pavitra Lokesh in Malli Pelli

Naresh and Pavitra Lokesh in Malli Pelli. (Twitter)

Naresh says that Malli Pelli will be a shocker for theatre audiences. He explains, however, that the story has an undercurrent message beyond just a retelling of his personal love story. 

He says, “In this age, we have to live our lives. On the other side, marriage is a sacred institution and one needs to respect it. So we initially thought it should be a family entertainer. Liked mostly by youth, strangely, the buzz has been created. Of course, we provide them entertainment too.”

 Speaking about Malli Pelli, he says, “This film is definitely a thought-provoking one. When I sat with a few youngsters who were meme makers, I asked them what they look for in a film. Their answer was ‘entertainment’.” He adds, “They openly agree that marriage isn’t the answer. They fear being in a relationship with a girlfriend.”

“That’s when I thought Malli Pelli is going to cater to audiences of all age groups. As we inch closer to the release date, we realised that this huge buzz is going to convert into tickets. We’ve done Malli Pelli in two languages — Telugu and Kannada. We’re confident that it will give a pleasant experience to film lovers,” Naresh concludes. 

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