You are commencing your Telugu career again with a bilingual, "Aparachitudu"?
That's true. I wanted to revisit the Telugu audience with a good film, and this could be the right one.
I was also happy to know that "Sivaputrudu" (the dubbed version of "Pithamahan") was a quite a hit. That is also one of the reasons for my comeback.
As for "Aparachitudu", I am doing the most complex role of my career in this multimillion-rupee magnum opus. It would enthral viewers in a big way.
So either you will be doing bilinguals or remakes?
Not at all. I want to do an exciting Telugu film sometime next year. I had a long association with the Telugu industry after debuting with "Chirunavulu Chindisthava" and did films like "Bangaru Kutumbam" and "9 months" but I couldn't get the right break.
During this period, I also did Tamil and Malayalam films. But only after "Sethu" did my career take a definite shape.
I love to work with top Telugu directors like K. Raghavendra Rao and Krishna Vamsi.
My next Telugu film will be a 'straight' one, since I don't want to do remakes of my own films. I dislike repeating my performance all over again.
Were you apprehensive playing the unusual role of a burial guard in "Sivaputrudu"?
On the contrary, I was very confident as soon as I heard the outline from director Bala. We did struggle for 10 days to get the right expression but after that it was smooth sailing. On one or two occasions, we did think of making him 'speak' but later we stuck to his dumb expressions and it clicked.
I am happy to have received the National Award for this unique role and Bala should take credit for it.
I couldn't come out of the "Pithamahan" hangover even in my next film, but Shankar cautioned me and I corrected myself.
While doing small-time roles, did you ever imagine that you would be a superstar of Tamil cinema one day?
I was definitely confident and always believed that hard work and perseverance would count one day.
Even my first big film "Sethu" had no takers but we believed that it had the potential. I was depressed when the manager of a famous theatre in Chennai called up and informed me that they would shift it due to lack of viewers. But after two weeks it picked up and became a runaway success.
I didn't look back after that. I would attribute this success to the directors and the fans.
I don't believe in the numbers games but I think that I have just crossed two or three steps and have a long way to go.