Promotional poster for the film
|Directed by||Anish Kuruvilla|
|Produced by||Sekhar Kammula, Chandra Sekhar Kammula|
|Written by||Anish Kuruvilla|
|Music by||Manikanth Kadri|
|Editing by||Praveen Boyina|
|Distributed by||Amigoes Creations Pvt Ltd|
|Running time||140 minutes|
Avakai Biryani is a 2008 Telugu film written and directed by Anish Kuruvilla. Filmed in Telugu, the film revolves around Akbar Kalam, a Muslim auto rickshaw-driver and Lakshmi Jandhyala, a traditional Hindu woman with a romantic backdrop. The film stars debutant actors, Kamal Kamaraju and Bindu Madhavi in the leading roles.
Avakai Biryani (Pickeled Biryani) is a coming of age story of two individuals from two totally different backgrounds and cultural upbringing. The only similarity between them is the fact that they both belong to the same picturesque, historic town of Devarakonda, a few 100 km outside of Hyderabad city.
Akbar, an orphan Muslim is the male protagonist. An auto driver, whose days are all about lugging passengers from one town to another on the highway. But driving an auto is not all he wants to do. He wants more in life. His continuous goal is to pass his final year B.com examinations, something he has failed to do now three times in a row.
Lakshmi, a traditional Brahmin girl is the female protagonist, she and her family resettle in Devarakonda, having been displaced from Polavaram. Her family used to traditionally run a hotel over there for many years. Her aim now is to be able to open up a hotel on the highway near Devarakonda and make it a success. She also takes a lot of pride in the avakai (mango pickle) she makes and has big plans of selling them in Hyderabad.
While these central characters go about their goals, the town of Devarakonda itself has a lot of things going on. The village panchayat which seldom takes care of its own people, a thriving 7 seater auto business run corruptly, etc. The conspirators in this case being two influential people in the town.
Akbar and Lakshmi become friends after first being apprehensive about each other's faiths and backgrounds. Their relationship doesn't evolve into love right away, instead there is a good deal of self-respect for each other's dreams and ambitions, which much later turns into a mature loving relationship.
The goings on in the town compel Akbar to take a stand on certain issues. He becomes an accidental hero, but what happens to his relationship wth Lakshmi? How much further can it go? Her father is uncompromising in his attitude towards Muslims….the couple take a decision…. Avakai Biryani is a social/romantic/coming of age film. It intends to romanticize highway roads, small towns and their people's ambitions and finally the whole point of view about Muslims and Hindus, how different can we be if we are all human in the first place.
Anish Kuruvilla previously assisted Nagesh Kukunoor in Rockford. At that time, Sekhar Kammula cast Kuruvilla for Dollar Dreams - Kammula's maiden directorial venture. Kuruvilla help Kammula in not only acting, but also by assisting him with the direction. Their relationship continued with the rest of Kammula's films - Anand (2004), Godavari (2006) and Happy Days (2007 film) (2007). It was only after the latter film, Kuruvilla found himself ready to direct feature films. Though Kuruvilla had directed a film titled Naa Video Diary in 2007, Avakai Biryani was his first feature film.
Having the story ready, Kuruvilla narrated it to Kammula shortly after the release of Happy Days. Kammula liked the "nobility in the story"; asked him to expand it further. Kuruvilla was not only unsure about his story finding acceptance with Kammula, but also about the film's commercial success. In a special interview conducted by Kammula, Kuruvilla said:
"When I narrated the story to you, I expected 50/50 chance of you accepting the film. There are some elements that appeal to your sensibilities and some elements are unique to me. The avakai girl character will be liked by you. But there are some elements which might not be liked by you. Lucky, you liked the soul of the story. Another apprehension I had was the audience’s expectations. They come to theaters expecting a Sekhar Kammula’s movie ."
Kammula gave him the freedom to select the cast and crew for the film. After Kammula was satisfied with the third draft of the script, he did not involve himself with the rest of the filmmaking. Kuruvilla revealed that the script was a result of two years of his research. Having worked with Kammula before, Kuruvilla found his influence in his use of natural dialogues, characterization of the female protagonist and the taste of music.
Madanapalle-born and Chennai-based Bindu Madhavi was a model for sarees, jewelry and other consumer products. When she received the offer for the lead role, she accepted it right away after realizing that it involved Kammula and Kuruvilla. This film marked her debut as a mainstream actress.
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- Jeevi (4 October 2008). "Interview with Anish Kuruvilla by Sekhar Kammula". Idlebrain.com. Retrieved 2009-11-13.