Samantha’s Touch of Emotion – No One Else Can Replace

In an exclusive freewheeling chat with, sensible Tollywood director Shiva Nirvana opens up about his upcoming film Kushi, a romantic comedy starring Vijay Devarakonda and Samantha in the lead roles, which is slated for release this Friday. His last film Tuck Jagadish couldn’t achieve the desired box office result, but Shiva appears very confident about Kushi and bills it as a rollercoaster ride with beautiful human emotion.

Shiva, who earlier directed heartwarming entertainers like Ninnu Kori and Majili, says he wants to keep his stories simple and to the point with relatable characters. Having been brought up in a middle-class family, Shiva says he finds it easy to explore the emotional nuances and behavioral patterns of people in that social category. Shiva adds that he tries to elevate the drama and emotion attached to the harsh realities of middle-class families through his stories.

‘ I grew up watching films by directors like Bharathi Raja, Mani Ratnam and Sekhar Kammula. So, my writing and the way I execute love stories might be subconsciously influenced by their films’, added Shiva. The director admitted that the Kashmir backdrop and Naa Roja Nuvve song were the main reasons behind drawing comparisons with Mani Ratnam’s Sakhi. He, however, asserts that the comparisons are limited to only a few frames and adds he cannot recreate what Mani Ratnam already pulled off in Sakhi.

Shiva further stated that he has no qualms about casting Vijay Devarakonda and Samantha for this soul-stirring love story because he is not concerned with their real-life experiences. He adds that the story of Kushi has some magic weaved around it that appeals to and connects with everyone even though there are a great multitude of love stories told by filmmakers over the years and even after the advent of OTT culture where tons of such stories are readily available.

Shiva credits music composer Gopi Sundar, who worked with him for three back-to-back films before Kushi, as the one who helped him know much deeper about music and its instruments. He says he listens to songs as a music lover and his music taste is vastly influenced by the works of Ilayaraja and AR Rahman. Talking about Hesham Abdul Wahab who composed chartbuster songs for this outing, Shiva says the composer’s impressive eclectic work in Malayalam film Hridayam turned out to be the clincher. Hesham’s blend of Sufi and Carnatic styles impressed me a lot. I am a big fan of his vocals, quipped Shiva.

On doubling up as a full-length lyricist for the entire album of Kushi, Shiva says it happened as a coincidence. He added that they finalised tunes for Naa Roja Nuvve song in just four hours and Aradhya song in two days.

Shiva smiles when asked whether he is exploring the concept of inter-caste or inter-ideology marriage in Kushi. He says he wants to keep the suspense under wraps till the release of the film. He added that he didn’t reveal the conflict point of Kushi in the trailer.

Shiva says Chinmayi was brought on board to dub for Samantha because he wanted to bring the nostalgia of Yem Maya Chesave and Majili with her character in Kushi. Shiva further revealed he could have locked a more beautiful girl as the leading lady, but no one else could have pulled the emotions in the crux of his story as Samantha did. So, he rates her so high in the current crop of heroines. Shiva says the Vijay-Sam pair is the top billing for Kushi. Talking about Vijay Devarakonda, Shiva says he tapped into his comedy timing very much this time.

Rounding it off, Shiva Nirvana reaffirms that he will work on a different genre in his next film with Naga Chaitanya in the lead role. He concluded that more details about this project would be out at an appropriate time.