Anand Deverakonda: Vijay had warned me early on that it wouldn’t be easy

Actor Anand Deverakonda is a tad nervous ahead of the theatrical release of his new Telugu comedy thriller, Pushpaka Vimanam, on November 12. His previous film, Middle Class Melodies, was a roaring hit, going by the warm response it received after its direct digital release during the pandemic. But a theatrical release is a different beast altogether.

While returning to Hyderabad after promotions in Guntur and Vizag, Anand found himself asking the director (debutant Damodar) and others if the film would work at the box office: “Having worked so closely with the project, I find it tough to be objective and gauge how people will receive it,” he says.

Pushpaka Vimanam was offered to him soon after his debut film Dorasani (2019). Anand was enthused by the journey of the protagonist, a school teacher at a government school, who holds romantic notions about marriage, and is shattered when his wife elopes: “He believes that marriage is a beautiful institution. To deal with nosy colleagues and society, he puts up a charade to make people believe that he is indeed leading a happy married life.”

The title harks back to director Singeetam Srinivasa Rao’s 1987 silent dark comedy Pushpaka Vimana, starring Kamal Haasan and Amala Akkineni. “Damodar approached Singeetam sir to inform him about the title. In that film, the title was a metaphor for Kamal Haasan’s dream of a life of luxury. The tangible reference came from a hotel named Pushpak. In our film, the title is a metaphor for my character’s journey in marriage. Incidentally, a travel agency is named Pushpak in the film.”