Actor-writer Siddhu Jonnalagadda used the lockdown to his advantage in fine tuning the script of DJ Tillu. Siddhu has co-written the screenplay with director Vimal Krishna and penned the dialogues. The film is a blend of wackiness, drama, and loads of laughter. Though it was a tightrope walk to shine in both acting and writing departments, Siddhu blazed his way through the process. The trailer has got a lot of buzz and everyone’s eagerly waiting to watch DJ Tillu on the big screen on February 12. Here are the excerpts from Siddhu’s interaction with media.
Is DJ Tillu inspired from your life and experiences?
DJ Tillu is a love story with a dash of crime and loads of comedy. The story unfolds from Tillu’s perspective. I witnessed many weird characters since childhood and explored for a canvas to fit them. Finally, they found their way into DJ Tillu.
How living in Malkajgiri, Secunderabad influenced you in writing for the film?
I spent most of my life in and around Malkajgiri and many characters are born out of my experiences. They are extreme and eccentric and claim to walk an extra mile for friendship. They drink a single tea in an Irani café but talk about building the planet. One wants to be a youth leader, one dabbles with real estate, one is a mentor to others, and the list is endless. They are sweet and genuine, but they carry a bag of craziness with them.
On the use of Hyderabad slang in DJ Tillu?
There is a proper Telangana flavour in DJ Tillu. When the character gets into an extreme zone, he even speaks Warangal slang. I had friends who speak a different slang and that got into me. Also, I studied in a central school and that brushed my Hindi and English. When I write, I ensure to use the language and slangs to right effect to generate fun.
More about Tillu’s character
Tillu is not at all talented and lives in a false world. He claims to be a great DJ but all he does is to play for some local events. He has a bunch of friends who elevate him to a different level and paint a glory around him. He throws some parties to stay in their good books and that’s all. He is least worried about his career and becomes a victim of his creation. In a scene from the trailer, he compares himself with celebrities. He hails from a middle-class family so despite knowing the fashion trends in Australia, he can’t afford to revamp his wardrobe. He develops a lot of inferiority complex, and the drama unfolds accordingly. Enough said, please witness more of Tillu on screens.
On penning the dialogue for DJ Tillu
Everything happened spontaneously. During the first lockdown, things were messy. Vimal and I indulged in cooking, cleaning, and lot of things along with writing the script. In our discussions, we found something substantial that went into the story.
Why DJ as a profession for Tillu?
The DJs I saw till now had an artistic life, wacky clothing, Telangana accent, and many eccentricities. I overheard many conversations where people are discussing getting an entry into the club and many other things. It was fascinating with their talks. It luckily worked out for DJ Tillu and we were successful in creating a different world on screen.
When the movie was titled Narudi Bratuku Natana were you aiming for an OTT release?
We always wanted to release the film in cinemas. On the title front, everyone who used to check on me for the film’s progress asked me about Tillu. Then we thought Tillu had a better recall value so named it DJ Tillu. The change happened just before the teaser was out.
On narrating the story to producers
We pitched the story to producer Naga Vamsi garu. Ours is a comedy film and his reaction was minimal. We initially though it was not good. But he liked it and later we narrated it to Chinnababu garu. There were inputs from Trivikram and producers, and we made changes wherever needed. Trivikram even labelled the film a HIT after watching the final copy. There was a lot of freedom for us in terms of making the film.
Is DJ Tillu similar to Deccan cinema?
I can say DJ Tillu is a well-packaged product. You can call it an old wine in a new bottle. It has the soul of Deccan cinema and is wrapped in fine colours.
Did you expect such a buzz for the trailer?
I was very confident that the trailer will work. The credit for the song goes to Ram Miriyala. I gave a description of Tillu and he chiselled it to perfection.
What are the limits for Tillu’s character?
There are no limits for Tillu. In fact, we may plan a sequel too if things work well. Tillu has a wealth of information and uses it to keep an upmanship. This can be explored and stretched to any extreme.
If not movies, then what?
I would have become a lawyer.
Are you planning to write or co-write for your next films?
Acting is my forte. Many things happened by chance, so is writing. I am more of an actor and can slip into the shoes of a writer when needed. I am a not a writer by profession, but by desperation. I am not part of the writing team for my next films with Sitara and SVCC.
Any plans of getting into direction?
Not as of now.
Vimal is your friend. Has the helped in writing for DJ Tillu?
I vibe well with Vimal. We had some problems while approaching the script and shoot but thanks to the wonderful producers, we got all of them sorted. On the location, Vimal and I had a gala time conceiving the scenes. We did the whole shoot in a relaxed way.
On singing a song
I sang the song during the time of Guntur Talkies. But unfortunately, couldn’t use it there. We tried to place it in Kshanam, Krishna and his Leela, Maa Vintha Gaadha Vinumagm, but finally it happened in DJ Tillu.
On driving a customized vehicle in DJ Tillu
We wanted to design it crazily and this happened. The vehicle also speaks a lot about DJ Tillu’s character.
Siddhu the actor and Siddhu the writer – who dominates whom?
There is no competition as I equally enjoyed both. That being said, DJ Tillu was a tough film to write. There were many on spot improvisations. Tillu has to speak always and visualising and writing a character that has so much of brimming energy was difficult at times.
About the family
My mother worked for All India Radio, and I used to go with her for recordings. That generated interest in music. My father worked for BSNL and my brother lives in the US. I got an IT job after my engineering but didn’t take it as my interest was in cinema. We are a middle-class family with our set of struggles, and you can see some of it around DJ Tillu as well.
The movie has come out well and the entire team tried to live up to the expectations of Sithara Entertainments. They have a big reputation and a legacy of films. We will add another great film to the banner.