Has winning the State Award made a big difference to your career graph?
In a way it has. But I think my career graph took off after my first film Chadrachakori did very well. The film ran for over a year and therefore proved to be a great launch pad for me. The award for Kanti came as a surprise, only because it has come so early in my career. Kanti is my third film, and I am only 24 and therefore am the youngest actor till date to receive the State Award for Best Actor. I have known actors who have worked hard in brilliant films but managed to receive the award much later.
Awards are usually surrounded by controversy. What do you have to say about that?
There was a controversy this year, but it arose only because people claimed some of the award-winning films were remakes. As far as Kanti is concerned, there has been no controversy. It is a clean and well made film.
But you did have problems while shooting?
The story and content of the film is such that it raised a couple of issues. The story revolved around two individuals who fall in love. The girl is Marathi and the boy is a Kannadiga and the film was shot in Belgaum which is a language sensitive area. There were certain objections raised by the localities there, but once they realised there was nothing controversial, they were fine with it.
What is your opinion on remakes?
I don't see why people make such a big deal about remakes. A film is a film, and even if it is a remake it involves a whole new unit and cast and of course a new effort. That is just how it ought to be viewed as well. I have no problems acting in a remake as long as the story is something that I can relate to.
Has life changed after appearing on the big screen?
Yes, a lot actually. I have no spare time anymore. I find it difficult to hang out with friends at the places where I used to. Even coffee shops are out of the question, because you always have people coming across to your table to talk to you and congratulate you. It is a nice high, but it does eat into your space and I am still coming to terms with it.
And the offers must be pouring in too?
Yes, especially after I have won the award. I have a film Gopi that is yet to be released. It is a fun-filled film and I am looking forward to its release to see what the audience thinks about it. I have also started work on my home production. I am now managing the finances for my brother's (Vijay Raghavendra) film Sevanthi Sevanthi. I have signed on two other projects of which one will begin in mid-December and the other in April. I choose my roles very carefully as I want to be able to do a variety of roles. I am yet to try out a complete action-oriented role. I think I will be able to do very well in those sort of roles.