Pushpa is your first Pan-India movie. How thrilled are you?
“Usually Telugu films will do well in Karnataka. It’ll be dubbed in Malayalam, and Hindi dubbed versions will be telecasted on TV. But, for the first time, it’s going to hit the screens in all the languages simultaneously. I’m elated. I do not know how it will do in Hindi. But I want the Tamil audience to like the film. It’s a special feeling when people from where you grew up, love your work.”
It took you 12 years to team up with director Sukumar and DSP again. How long have you been planning this?
“Yeah, it’s been 12 years since the release of the blockbuster ‘Arya 2’. In the past ten years, Whenever Sukumar sir and I meet, He would say just one thing: ‘If we join hands again, it should be for a cult film, and it should be magic. We should not just work for a regular hit’. Then Pushpa happened. I loved the project right away and got on board immediately. Pushpa is my 8th movie with Devi Sri Prasad. He composed music for my second film, “Arya”, the movie was a super hit. My career kick-started with that movie. Devi and I are childhood friends. He has given me numerous hits than any other music director. This musical journey with him has been beautiful. I have worked with many music directors, but Sukumar had worked only with Devi. They have a great rapport. The music in ‘Pushpa’ has come out exceptionally well. Randy (Cameraman Rathinavelu) is the only person from the ‘Arya 2’ missing out here in Pushpa. He was quite busy with other projects. If not, even he would have been on board for ‘Pushpa’.
Your thoughts on the massive success of ‘Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo’?
“Very, very happy. It was an Industry Hit. Hit or Flop, I have to work harder each film. That’s my job, and there is no end to that. Resting is not the next step after a blockbuster. In my journey, ‘Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo’ is a high point. Usually, I enjoy the success for a moment and start running even faster again.”
There is swag in whatever you do. Where did that come from?
“It’s definitely from Chennai. I grew up in Chennai, and you cannot separate a man from a place he has lived in for 18 years. The swag you mentioned didn’t suddenly come in my 20s. Chennai and Tamil Nadu have hugely influenced my life. Many have told me this, and even I realise it now.”
Your title has Changed from Stylish Star to Iconic Star. Why is that?
“Sukumar, sir, is the one behind this change. ‘You should change your Stylish Star image. If the title remains the same, you’ll remain the same. Getting rid of it is necessary to explore different kinds of roles. So, I’m going to change that. Whatever you do turns out to be iconic. So you’re an Iconic Star,’ he said. I liked it.
“We learned that there will be numerous meetings with your hairstylist once you’ve signed a film. Is it true?”
“Yes, I work a lot on my hairstyle, and I love it. When you see a close-up shot of mine, you should be able to identify the movie without freezing the frame. Not just me; everyone should recognise that. That’s my goal, and that’s why I am very cautious about it. The word hero isn’t singular; too many people’s work goes behind it.”
“What’s the plot in Pushpa. What kind of Allu Arjun shall we expect?”
“Red Sandalwood smuggling is the plot of the movie. It’s a huge mafia. You’ll see me in a power-packed role. Before Pushpa, I have done many stylish middle-class kinds of roles. But, that’s not the case in Pushpa. It’ll be an out and out ‘mass’ character. And ‘Pushpa’ also has Fahadh Faasil. That particular character needed a star performer. And you know how big he is in Kerala. He has immense love for both Sukumar and me. So, He signed the film right away. We are grateful.”
To be Continued. Stay Tuned!