‘Martin Luther King’ is not just a political satire, but reflects the present political upheaval: VK Naresh

Directed by Puja Kolluru, 'Martin Luther King' stars comedian Sampoornesh Babu as the protagonist. It is releasing in theatres on 27 October.

ByPrakash Pecheti

Published Oct 19, 2023 | 10:05 AMUpdatedNov 25, 2023 | 6:36 PM

Naresh Martin Luther King

Senior artiste Naresh VK has been enjoying an incredible season of blockbusters in Tollywood.

He heard as many as 14 scripts in the last one month. “Can you believe it? Young and aspiring filmmakers are coming up with novel concepts. A unique flavour is coming out every season from Telugu cinema,” he told the media on Wednesday, 18 October.

Naresh plays a village president in the upcoming political comedy, Martin Luther King. The film will be released in theatres on 27 October.

“Since both Telugu States are heading for elections, the movie might make a noise. It is not just a political satire but reflects today’s political scenario. It’s a sort of an eye-opener for an average voter,” he added.

Incredible response at premier shows

Directed by Puja Kolluru, Martin Luther King stars comedian Sampoornesh Babu as the protagonist. It is bankrolled by Mahayana Motion Pictures and presented by YNOT Studios and Reliance Entertainment.

team martin luther king

Team ‘Martin Luther King’ during the promotions. (X)

The unit already organised premier shows for audiences in cities like Warangal, Visakhapatnam, Nellore, Vijayawada, and Kurnool.

“This is the new trend in Tollywood. It all started with Samajavaragamana (2023). When the makers are confident with their content, they hold special shows for the audience. This marketing strategy worked out well in this case, too. I watched Martin Luther King with a packed house in Warangal, where people of all age groups — including ladies and children — clapped, cheered and roared throughout the runtime,” Naresh recalled.

The film also features Sharanya Pradeep and Venkatesh Maha in prominent roles. Interestingly, Venkatesh Maha penned the screenplay and dialogues for the flick.

Naresh started his journey with Venkatesh Maha from Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya (2020). “The current phase of Telugu cinema belongs to these youngsters with new-age ideas. Martin Luther King is an absolute entertainer with a message. We rarely find a movie that has a message as well as entertainment. This is an entertainment-based film,” he said.

When asked why he chose the film, the actor replied, “I acted in eight films in the last two years, and they were well-received by audiences. Even the OTT content — Intinti Ramayanam (2022), Malli Pelli (2023), Samajavaragamana, and Great Indian Suicide (2023) — was lauded by the audience. I have been choosy in selecting scripts,” he explained.

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

On cinema as a medium

Recalling his days as a political leader, Naresh said his political experience gave him a new insight. The actor said he saw politics from close quarters and played a crucial role by keeping his film career aside.

“I was a busy artiste in Telugu back in those days. During 1999 and early 2000s, the country witnessed a wave of coalition governments. Instances of governments falling in just a single day were plenty. Watching all the political episodes on the television, I was moved to tears. After watching the then-prime minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, I decided to enter mainstream politics. I was ideologically moved.”

The actor initially worked in rural Rayalaseema. “I was not exposed to the public until that time. I sensed the pulse of grassroots politics when I started working in the faction hotbed Rayalaseema region. After working for around 10 years, I returned to films. And now, I don’t want to enter politics. I want to use the medium of film to send the message. The late SV Ranga Rao garu is my idol. Like cinema, politics is constantly changing its form,” he added.

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A break for newcomers

The senior actor oozed confidence that Martin Luther King would give a break to all the newcomers, especially Sampoornesh Babu.

martin luther king sampoornesh babu

A poster of Sampoornesh Babu’s ‘Martin Luther King’. (X)

“Politics and business have the last laugh in the system. In this present situation, some leaders like Pawan Kalyan are honestly trying to bring about a change in the system. I am not endorsing him. A serious political upheaval is being witnessed in the State. Martin Luther King tries to portray a realistic picture of murky politics subtly and artistically with a tinge of humour,” the actor said.

The film was shot in the rural setting of Ongole. Director Puja Kolluru held several workshops before getting the camera rolling. As many as 60 actors took part in the workshops.

“There is no set formula or set rules in moviemaking. Martin Luther King doesn’t seem to be the remake of the Tamil movie Mandela (2021), because the topography, culture, and political atmosphere in Telugu are different from Tamil Nadu’s. The music scored by Smaran Sai would be a highlight of the film,” he signed off.

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