Colour Photo

Colour Photo is a 2020 Indian Telugu-language period racist romantic drama film directed by debutante Sandeep Raj. Produced by Amrutha Productions and Loukya Entertainment, the film stars Suhas in his first lead role, along with Chandini Chowdary, Sunil, and Harsha Chemudu among others.[1] The music was composed by Kaala Bhairava, marking his second film as composer after Mathu Vadalara. The film is set in Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh in the late-1990s and is said to be the story of a "below-average looking guy".[2][3][4] The film premiered on aha on 23 October 2020.

Colour Photo
Colour Photo film.jpg
Release poster
Directed bySandeep Raj
Produced bySai Rajesha Neelam
Benny Muppaneni
Screenplay bySandeep Raj
Story bySai Rajesh
Chandini Chowdary
Narrated bySandeep Raj
Music byKaala Bhairava
CinematographyVenkat R Shakamuri
Edited byKodati Pavan Kalyan
Amrutha Productions
Loukya Entertainments
Distributed byAha
Release date
  • 23 October 2020 (2020-10-23)
Running time
142 minutes

The films stars many debutants who previously worked in few short films including the director of the film Sandeep Raj.[5] The film was shot completely in Machilipatnam, Vijayawada and the surrounding areas in Andhra Pradesh.[6]


The film begins with Deepthi receiving the news of her father's death. She and her husband Chandu reach their village and meet their family. Ramaraju, Deepthi's brother and the local sub-inspector, tries to talk to her, but she shuts him down and goes to her ex Jayakrishna's house in his jeep. Her friend Padmaja accompanies her, and they spot a couple arguing. Deepthi finds their issues very similar to her past with Jayakrishna, and narrates her story.

Jayakrishna, the son of a milkman, studies in the same college as Deepthi's. He once saw her rehearsing for a performance as a goddess, and fell in love with her. However, unlike Deepthi, he is dark skinned and from a poor economic background. Hence, he never expresses his feelings towards her. A year later, a few seniors rag Jayakrishna by tricking him into going to Deepthi's rehearsal and then beat him up for "teasing girls". Deepthi and her friends go to the principal and explain what truly happened, and Jayakrishna gets out of trouble. However, he starts avoiding them, as he does not want anyone to think badly. Deepthi confronts and proposes to Jayakrishna. On Jayakrishna's request, she accepts to keep their relationship a secret. With her encouragement, he beats up the seniors who beat him up and earns confidence and courage.

Unexpectedly, Padmaja and Jayakrishna's friend Bala Yesu "Balu" get to know about their relationship. They, too, accept to keep this a secret. Things go well for the couple until a fest, where the college principal denies Jayakrishna an opportunity to speak on the stage because of his skin tone. Jayakrishna feels insulted and gives a speech on the stage, criticising colour discrimination in front of the chief guest - a foreigner who does not understand Telugu and considers it a speech favouring engineering.

The principal, along with the seniors that have a grudge against him, decides to take revenge. On Deepthi's birthday, when Jayakrishna meets her in an empty class, the seniors lock the room and allege that the couple were having an amorous relationship. Ramaraju is angered and sends her away from the village. Jayakrishna is beaten up subsequently. However, as Deepthi arrives to collect her hall ticket, Jayakrishna shows up and leaves with her as Ramaraju is stuck in the college with their friends' help.

The couple feels encouraged and leaves happily. Then, Padmaja and Deepthi recollect the actual happenings. Jayakrishna was beaten up, humiliated, and his certificates were burnt by Ramaraju, thus ensuring that he gets no job in the future. He also kills Lakshmi, and a calf Jayakrishna has raised very dearly, naming it after his deceased mother. When Jayakrishna retorted, Ramaraju broke his leg, leaving him lame.

Jayakrishna met Deepthi when she arrived to receive her hall ticket, and they decide to commit suicide by consuming poison. Jayakrishna dies on the spot, but Deepthi was rescued by Ramaraju. Balu was left devastated and lost his sanity. The film ends with Deepthi learning that no photo of Jayakrishna exists in the village, and she drawing his portrait, calling it the 'Colour Photo'.


  • Suhas as Jayakrishna alias Kittu, Kannaya [7]
  • Chandini Chowdary as Deepthi Varma alias Deepu[8]
  • Sunil as Inspector Rama Raju, Deepthi's elder brother [9]
  • Chemudu Harsha as Bala Yesu alias Balu, Jayakrishna's friend[10]
  • Divya Sripada as Padmaja alias Paddu, Deepthi's friend[11]
  • Vidya Maharshi as Rama Raju's wife
  • Sai Krishna Enreddy as College Principal
  • Kancharapalem Raju as Jayakrishna's father [12]
  • Aadarsh Balakrishna as Chandu, Deepthi's fiance
  • R. K. Mallidi as Dharma
  • Sri Krishna Paani as Paani
  • Sneha Madhuri Sharma as Roja, Deepthi's friend
  • Arun Kumar Pulavarthi as Murali
  • Chandini Rao as Deepika
  • PSN Murthy as Watchman
  • Pandu Pulapaka as Peon
  • Jaya Naidu as Deepthi and Rama Raju's mother
  • Veerabhadra Rao as Deepthi and Rama Raju's father



Director Sandeep Raj already directed and acted in few short films. He is known for his performance in short films. In 2019, he decided to direct a small-budgeted film with his short films team.[13][14] Most of the actors in the film made their debut were previously YouTubers and those who did few short films. In an interview, Raj said that he wants to direct the films which have versatile story-telling.[15]


As a maker of short-films, I used to work with a small crew. But when it comes to a feature film, there would be 80-100 people on set at any given time. Many wouldn't even be aware of who is the film's director. I have learned how to manage people on set. It's important, like directorial skills.

— Sandeep Raj, Raagalahari

Sandeep Raj decided to feature the YouTubers he worked with. Chandini Chowdary already made her debut as a lead actress in Tollywood, also acted in few short films in early days. Suhas, the hero of the film is a good friend of Raj, also started his career from short films.[16] Suhas also been as a comedian in many big Tollywood films. The director thus decided to cast these actors in leading roles.[17] Actor-Comedian Sunil was roped into the film as the main antagonist.[18] Most of the other actors were also acted in few short films. In an interview Sandeep Raj revealed that Chandini Chowdary was not the first choice for the lead actress role, it is Niharika Konidela who was the first considered for the role.[19][20] In an interview to Film Companion South, Suhas told that, "My hundred short films prepared me for feature films".[21][22]


With the success of the music album of Mathu Vadalara,[23] Sandeep chose Kaala Bhairava for the film's soundtrack and background score.[24] The story is written by Sai Rajesh from his own incidents he faced. Debutant Venkat Shakamuri handled the cinematography of the film.[25] Kranthi Priyam was chosen as the art director who previously worked in Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya (2019).[26]


Principal photography of the film started on 8 January 2020 in Hyderabad. The film was completely shot in Machilipatnam, Vijayawada and the surrounding parts. The story of the film also revolves around these places.[27][28]


By the end of the March 2020, shooting of the film is almost done.[29] While the post production was completed by mid-April.[30]

Themes and influencesEdit

The film's central theme revolves around the colourism. It is based on the real-life incidents that happened the life of the film's story writer Sai Rajesh.[31][32] A reviewer of TeluguCinema stated that the film is all about 'Colour'. He further added that Color Photo deals with colourism, and boasts good dialogue writing. Despite tad slow-paced and dull initial portions, the latter half of the film has touching moments.[33]

Another reviewer of GreatAndhra noted that "The genre of love stories has dealt with issues including casteism, and honor killings. What other new topics would a writer come up with for a conflict point for a love story? Here, Sai Rajesh has touched upon this issue of colorism. While this issue has not been dealt with much in our films, the proceedings have little novelty."[34]

Sanat Kumar Malik of FastNewsFeeds wrote that "’It’s 1999 and people still discriminate based on skin colour and caste,’ rues Jayakrishna in Colour Photo. Oh well, in 2020, we still need the hashtag ‘Black Lives Matter’ and skin lightening creams continue to have many takers."[35]


Colour Photo
Soundtrack album by
Released24 October 2020 (Jukebox)
StudioStudio 47
JB studios
GenreFeature film soundtrack, Romance
LabelAditya Music
ProducerKaala Bhairava
Kaala Bhairava chronology
Mathu Vadalara
Colour Photo
Thellavarithe Guruvaram
External audio
  Audio Jukebox on YouTube

The soundtrack and background score were scored by Kaala Bhairava and lyrics by Kittu Vissapragada and Sai Kiran. The audio was released on Aditya Music.[36][37]

The first single '' Tharagathi Gadhi's '' lyrical version was released on Aditya Music on 27 August 2020.[38][39] This single received good appreciation and is the most successful song among the album.[40][41] Second single " Arere Akasam " was released on 21 September 2020.[42] The third single '' Ekaantham's '' lyrical version was out on 7 October 2020.[43][44]

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Track listing
1."Tharagathi Gadhi"Kittu VissapragadaKaala Bhairava3:34
2."Arere Aaakasam"Kittu VissapragadaAnurag Kulkarni, Kaala Bhairava3:23
3."Ekaantham"Krishna ChaitanyaRamya Behara3:20
4."College Song"Sai KiranHema Chandra2:42
5."Tharagathi Pathos"Kittu VissapragadaKaala Bhairava2:04
Total length:14:23


The Hans India stated that ''Kaala Bhairava's music is a major asset for the movie. The songs are pleasant and the background score is impressive too.''[45] wrote in its review that ''One of the biggest plus points of the film is undoubtedly Kaala Bhairava, the music director. His songs are superb and have a haunting effect on you. His background music is also impressive.''[46]

A reviewer wrote that "Kaala Bhairava is here to stay. Very often, we see music directors taking small films lightly. He has done an excellent job both with the songs and the background score."[47]


Although the makers of the film initially wanted to the release the film in theaters, COVID-19 pandemic made them to opt for alternative sources. Finally, the producers of the film Sai Rajesh and Benny made a deal with OTT platform, Aha to release the film digitally. The producers and Allu Aravind announced the decision of releasing the film on Aha on 23 October 2020 on the eve of Vijayadashami festival.[48][49]


Many popular celebrities from Tollywood also praised the film and the debutante actors and the director.[50][51][52][53][54][55]

Critical responseEdit

The Times of India gave 3.5/5 stars and wrote that "Colour Photo is a heart-wrenching love story that stays with you." And also, Thadhagath Pathi, the reporter of TOI, stated that, ''Suhas has once again proved his mettle as an actor with Colour Photo. Every single detail, even the way he gets down the cycle without applying the break, is so natural. Chandini’s expressions and performance in this movie should at least now make writers want to pen strong characters for her. Sunil aces his role as the antagonist, and it’s no surprise, really. And the man of the moment is truly Harsha. The chemistry between Harsha and Suhas in this movie is as important as the chemistry between the lead characters and the boys who just killed it. Kaala Bhairava’s music is spot on, and other technicalities also worked out well.'' [56][57]

Sangeetha Devi Dundoo of The Hindu stated that "Colour Photo requires a patient viewing, given its deliberately slow pace. But it has plenty to root for. The team deserves a pat on the pack for going against the norms in Telugu cinema. After Mallesam and Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya, this is another film that celebrates the average, common man as a hero."[58]

Eenadu wrote that the film is "an impressive love story in parts." While appreciating the director for picking up a storyline based on colourism, the reviewer opined that he couldn't translate it well into the screenplay. The review also stated that the lead actors have performed well in their given roles.[59]

A reviewer from Sakshi praised the storyline, performances and the music but criticized the slow-paced screenplay.[60]

Jahnavi Reddy of The News Minute wrote that the film ''The intersections of biases around skin colour, caste and race are extremely complex, and the film doesn’t exactly do a perfect job addressing them. A rousing speech that Jayakrishna gives in college, for instance, reduces the preference for fair skin to a colonial hangover. But it also doesn’t entirely sweep over these complexities. Jayakrishna slowly becomes self-assured and confronts his oppressors, showing grit and strength of character. But this ‘heroism’ isn’t romanticised to be a simplistic resolution to systemic oppression.'' She gave 4/5 stars for the film.[61]

Baradwaj Rangan of Film Companion South stated that ''Colour Photo is one of the better products of this direct-to-OTT era. It may not come together perfectly, but at least, it’s not for lack of trying. The overall-ness could use a lot of work, but the touches almost make the movie. It’s a wonderful sentiment, sadly all too true. Here, then, is a woman’s “love failure” story. Among the many small successes of Colour Photo, this one’s the biggest.'' [62]

Murali Krishna CH of Cinema Express wrote that ''Colour Photo is the kind of love story where a pure-hearted youngster (Kannayya, played by Suhas) meets his lady love (Deepthi, played by Chandini Chowdhary) only to talk about the memories of his late mother. This idea would have felt superficial or dramatic in another film. But the brilliant dialogues and performances turn this scene into one of the high points of this hard-hitting, tragic love story. For a film that has got a strong climax, Colour Photo suffers from a couple of shocking shortcomings. There are several stretches of scenes that really don't add anything to the story. There is also a problematic angle. Apart from the heroine's brother, there are at least two characters who use a racial slur against the male protagonist, and it looks highly contrived. A good amount of screentime is wasted in propping up the senior character in the college portion, just to establish him as a red-herring.''

The Hans India wrote gave 2.5/5 stars and stated that ''Sai Rajesh Neelam is the story writer of the movie. He penned an interesting love story with a routine conflict. The film goes well with a section of audiences because of too many predictable things that it offers. The first half of the movie is pretty slow. The conflict gets introduced very late and keeps the audience waiting. The screenplay could have been better. The comedy track involving Viva Harsha worked well. The lead pair performances will be a huge plus point for the movie. There is enough drama in the plot, but in the second half, it became melodrama. All in all, Colour Photo is a film that is good in parts.''[63]

NTV wrote about the film that "Colour Photo', written by Sai Rajesh Neelam and debutant director Sandeep Raj, is a watchable love story with a touching climax. If you are someone who wants love stories to have a soul, this one is for you. Telugu cinema is usually known for jolly love stories. This film doesn't hanker after low-hanging fruits in the name of entertainment. It has the courage of conviction and doesn't shy away from delivering some unconventional content. "[64]


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External linksEdit