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Each chapter in Happy Birthday taps into a separate genre of comedy: Ritesh Rana

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Director Ritesh Rana of 'Mathu Vadalara' awaits the release of his second film 'Happy Birthday' on July 8. In this interview, he talks about the film at length. He shares some crucial pieces of information about the surreal action-comedy for the first time.

I have retained the technical team that worked on 'Mathu Vadalara' for 'Happy Birthday'. Naresh Agastya played a key role in my first film. Even he has been retained alongside Satya and Vennela Kishore. The story takes place in a star hotel. Agastya has played a speech-impaired housekeeping worker.

Gun ownership is not legalized in India. What happens if guns are as rampant as mobile phones? You are going to see a variety of guns in the film. Indiscriminate gun ownership idea is at the root of this film. But since gun ownership is not free for all in India, I had to create a different world to tell the story of 'HB'. The Union Minister starts a Gun Bazaar where guns are sold for the asking; 'Ayudham Sale' is a pop culture reference he makes. This film is a surreal comedy and the genre helped me tell an otherwise logical story. The world in which the story takes place is imaginary and surreal.

The screenplay is non-linear style. Hollywood's 'Pulp Fiction' (1994) by Tarantino had a chapter-wise narration. 'HB' doesn't follow a chronological order. Even the trailer has been cut in such a way that the audience doesn't understand what is going on. It piques curiosity but doesn't give away anything. We have only introduced the characters.

I wrote the character keeping Lavanya Tripathi in mind. In real life, she is jovial and sometimes sarcastic. Her persona hasn't been captured by any film so far. 'HB' attempts to do that. You have never seen her in such a role before. A lot of crucial incidents unfold on her birthday and that's why the title.

'HB' is meant for communal viewing. It is best suited to be watched in a theatre.

The narration is chapter-wise in 'HB'. Each chapter explores a certain genre of comedy. Visual comedy, parodic comedy, sarcastic comedy and slapstick comedy are what you will see in each of them. Despite being a non-linear screenplay, the film doesn't confuse the audience. The screenplay is atypical and yet everything is clear-cut. Each of the chapters has a different colour palette: Neon, blue, brown, etc.

We are promoting the film as a Pan-Telugu movie just for fun. It's not a dig at the trend of 'Pan-India films' as such.

My first movie had to be a low-budgeted one. I chose a subject that didn't need many locations. Having proven myself, I inspired confidence in prdoucers. 'HB' had to be made on a bigger scale. I am looking forward to offering atypical stories in the future as well. I like to make commercial films but they shouldn't be formulaic.

Updated on July 2, 2022