Sree Vishnu is a relieved man now. The success of his latest, the family comedy Samajavaragamana (2023), has put an end to his dull phase, with his last three films, Arjuna Phalguna (2021), Bhala Thandhanana (2022) and Alluri (2022), putting up an underwhelming show at the box office. “I was supposed to start filming for Samajavaragamana ten days after the release of Alluri. But the day Alluri was released, I knew that the film was a flop and I called Ram Abbaraju (the director of Samajavaragamana) to ask if it was possible to start shooting the very next day. He said it would be difficult to start filming the next day but assured me he could do it in two days. He supported me and we worked on Samajavaragamana nonstop, to forget the failure of Alluri. All of us worked with a lot of force, without wasting a single minute. We finished and released the film within six months,” says a proud Vishnu, adding that he kept the schedule free for ten days after the release of Samajavaragamana, to accommodate promotions. “I am glad this film worked. Otherwise, I would have gone mad for ten days after the release,” he quips.
With Samajavaragamana, Vishnu admits that the team intended to make a “chinna size” Nuvvu Naaku Nachav (2001), a family comedy that has achieved classic status over the years. Vishnu has been vocal about his admiration for actor Venkatesh and Nuvvu Naaku Nachav, a film he watched 72 times in theatres. So when the audience is calling him "a Venkatesh in the making", considering there’s a void for mid-budget family films in Telugu cinema, it is, indeed, an incredible achievement for the young actor.
Addressing the comparison, Vishnu says, “Some people draw the comparison out of love. They might have seen Nuvvu Naaku Nachav as kids and now that they have come of age, Samajavaragamana might have reminded them of that film. I keep seeing tweets saying that the film felt like a Venky Mama film. There are also some people who think I don’t deserve to be compared to Venkatesh sir. It’s their personal opinion. I, however, find it scary when I’m compared to Venkatesh sir. And whenever I am scared, I go directly to him. I feel quite lucky in that sense. I am certain about one thing though: As his fan, I can’t do anything to add to his legacy, but I won’t taint it with my films. Although I am not sure if we can make family films as they used to in the past, considering our lifestyles have changed a lot in the past few years, whenever I get an opportunity, I’ll try to remind the audience of those kinds of films.”
Samajavaragamana, one of the biggest surprise hits of the year, has definitely given Vishnu a much-needed boost but he’s aware of the risk involved in emulating the formula. “Like Samajavaragamana, my next two films are also aimed at a wide audience. They are light and fun. After Prema Ishq Kadhal, I was offered many fun roles but I did not pick many. If I had done that, people might have gotten bored of me by now. I’m cautious about that. I will touch return to this genre only if I find a fresh and unique story.”