How and when did you enter the film industry?
I completed a course in acting about 10 years ago, with Mr. Devadas Kanakala. While I was scouting for a chance in movies, I met with an accident. Consequently, there was a two year break for my pursuit. As I was recovering from a severe leg injury, I had put on a lot of weight. Earlier to this I was slim, and maintained my attire carefully, as I was aspiring for lead roles in films.
I acknowledged that this chubby looks of mine will not fetch lead roles. So, I temporarily shelved my aspiration to be a hero and started to work as a freelance photographer. Awhile before, I also did Fashion Photography in Mumbai. Because of which I was in constant touch with the film industry.
Later, I worked as an assistant director under Rasool Ellora for ‘Bhageeratha’ (2004). During this time, one of my friends Sandeep was making a short film ‘Che foot Niche’, and I acted for the first time in this film. It was exhibited in a film festival. As an artist that was my first break. After watching the film Puri Jagannath offered me a role in ‘Pokiri’. But my first film ever is Priyadarshini Ram’s ‘Manodu’, the director offered me the role, after watching the premier of our short film. However, my first film that got released was ‘Modati Cinema’.
Which is your film that brought you recognition?
‘Pokiri’ gave me the break in which I acted as Maheshbabu’s friend. As the film was a major hit amongst the audiences, obviously in turn I got recognized well from the film. Then I got a major break with ‘Happy Days’. Subsequently, I did the role of Viji in the most popular ‘Yuva’ serial. As an artist ‘Yuva’ was a very good experience for me. Because, when I was expecting myself to do competent roles I got only short roles, but ‘Yuva’ provided the scope to prove my acting skills. It was a better platform for me to perform versatile.
How did you get the chance to act in ‘Happy Days’?
Prudhvi, who played a friend of mine in ‘Happy Days’ previously worked in the character of Virus, in my first film. He handed one of my photographs at Shekhar Kammula’s office. After looking at my working still, I was asked to meet them. Thus, I got the opportunity to act in ‘Happy Days’.
How about the opportunity in ‘Vinayakudu’?
Sai Kiran was an associate to Shekhar Kammula, while I was acting in ‘Happy Days’. I met him in the sets of ‘Happy Days’. Ravi was another associate with Shekhar who reminded Sai about a subject he kept on hold about a fat mans love story. He advised Sai to check if I am suitable for the character in his subject, and recommended my work to him. Sai then remembered his subject, and was telling me through out the ‘Happy Days’ production work, that he wanted to discuss something with me. Before the release of ‘Happy Days’, Sai narrated the subject to me, and I liked it very much. Further, Sai confirmed that I am the hero in this film which was a pleasant surprise for me.
What is it that attracted you more, when Sai narrated the subject?
Initially, when Sai narrated the story he didn’t reveal that I am going to be the hero. He just said he has a subject and asked me to listen to it. While he was narrating it I felt very emotional, actually the whole line is entertaining but at the end it is fully emotional. I was touched by some of the scenes and tears literally rolled out of my eyes. Then suddenly he said ‘you are the hero’, to which, I was on the dot shocked and surprised. When I was slim and trying for roles opportunities shied away from me, and now when I least expected to become a hero, Sai really shocked and surprised me with the news. The emotion was like, when Susmitha Sen won the Miss Universe pageant she was crying instead of expressing joy.
Now that ‘Vinayakudu’ is done, have you made plans to slim down?
Definitely… but after completing few more projects I have committed to along with ‘Vinayakudu’. They are also in need of my present chubby looks. Adnan sami inspired me the most to achieve this, I mean if we are determined we can achieve anything. When I found a real example from him, I thought why I can’t do it myself. Sure, I am going to down my size and get into shape.
Tell us about the character ‘Vinayakudu’
The name of my character is Karthik. He comes to Hyderabad from Rajahmundry and works for an advertising company. Karthik is cool and resembles my real life nature. While the heroine is arrogant and strong, she will always strives to get what she wants. Karthik prefers to have happiness than to have one crore rupees (wealth) in life.
After ‘Vinayakudu’, would you like to continue as a hero?
Not only hero characters but I would like to portray also in versatile roles. You know the Bollywood artist Paresh Rawal, he is a great actor and did characters that showed wide rage of variations. I want to play such kind of versatile characters. So presently I am not focusing to stick on being as only a hero. If I get to do a good role I will surely go for it. Followed by Vinayakudu, I am working in Sukumar’s film and also in Siddharth’s ‘Jai’ in the direction of Anand. Both the characters are quite good. I have been waiting for the past 10 years in frustration to get an opportunity. Now the time is mine, and I don’t want to miss it, I want to make my mark.
How was it to work with Premkumar Patra, who earlier made the feel good film ‘Aa Naluguru’?
We came to know the taste of Premkumar when he made a film like ‘Aa Naluguru’. Because, there are very few people who would agree to produce experimental films like ‘Vinayakudu’ and that too with a hero like me. He liked the subject very much, and when director Sai introduced me to him, he looked at my photographs from ‘Yuva’ serial and confirmed that I am suitable for the role. He has a very good taste, I am happy that he accepted a unique script like this.
What kind of a movie is ‘Vinayakudu’?
It is a good entertainer and a feel-good movie that will linger for quite awhile in your mind.
How does audience respond to Vinayakudu on screen?
The movie touches the audience’s emotions, because they get to see the kind of people that they see around themselves in real life. All are not born rich or handsome there are pros and cons in every ones life. Humanity is the prime requirement in human relations. Emotions are a part of our life and a prominent one among them is ‘Love’. The movie sends a message that love is to be taken as love and in no other perspective, and this has touched the hearts of every viewer.
What kind of support you received from your family in becoming an actor?
Actually none of my family members liked the idea of me becoming an actor. Because they opine that a career in other fields like software will have the guarantee to settle down in life. However, in the creative field it is very difficult to know when exactly you will get a break. So they never supported my aspiration to become an artist. That is the main reason I took up photography & direction for survival. Definitely, in future I would like to move into direction, and will surely direct a movie.
How was the experience working with Sonia for ‘Happy Days’?
While working for ‘Happy Days’ I never interacted with Sonia. Actually, there are no scenes in the film that has us together. At the premier, she met me and complimented that I did well. When Sai narrated the story of ‘Vinayakudu’, I didn’t even expect that Sonia is the heroine in this film. After we started working together, we became friends. She is a very good person and has a very good attitude. As an artist she has proved her talent. She is also a good friend of mine now.
What are your expectations from ‘Vinayakudu’?
Definitely, my meticulous efforts will be recognized. Though, I have been doing short length characters, ‘Happy Days’ gave me the major break in my career. In Vinayakudu, I did a full length lead character, which was challenging as an artist to carry the entire movie on my broad shoulders (chuckles). I proved myself successful in this aspect. I am sure ‘Vinayakudu’ is my first major mile stone in my career. I could do the character so well because of the support I received from our director SaiKiran Adivi. I am waiting to taste success in the years to come starting with Vinayakudu.