Radhika Rajamani Hyderabad
young and budding Telugu actor Ram is proving to be a popular hero and his fan base seems to be increasing by the day going by the success of Ready and Maska.
Ram's next film Ganesh (directed by debutant Saravanan) with Kajal Agarwal (who is in the big league with the runaway success of Magadheera) is storming the theatres on September 24.
Ganesh is produced by Ram's uncle 'Sravanthi' Ravi Kishore and the music is by Mickey J Meyer (Happy Days, Kotha Bangaru Lokam).
Over to Ram.
Is Ganesh a romantic entertainer with a lot of fun and frolic?
I would say Ganesh is all about freshness and fun of course. It's a cute neat love story with a lot of universal elements. For example, I have used a weapon called Sansetsukon (new kind of weapon used in 36th Chamber of Shaolin).
I wanted to use something new. That will be the highlight of the film wherein everyone -- right from kids, girls to families would enjoy.
'In a love story, the heroine is as important as the hero'
What appealed to you about the story?
After a typical commercial film like Maska, I wanted to do something really fresh and new. The minute Saravanan came and narrated the script to me, I was very impressed. If I had actually taken this script and gone to another director, maybe I would lose the freshness. Saravanan is a new guy, his ideas are fresh, his way of thinking is fresh, the way he makes a film is fresh.
Right from the casting, to the music director, we had meetings on whom to choose. We chose Mickey J Meyer because he is young and his music sounds fresh.
Kajal also looks fresh. She had hardly done films by then. Now Magadheera has come. As an actor, I strongly believe that in a love story, the heroine is as important as the hero.
'There are 26 kids in the film'
Saravanan is a protege of AR Murugadoss who has made action films. This is a love story. Is it Saravanan's own script or is it inspired by any other film?
It is not inspired by any film, as far as I know. Personally I feel Saravanan is really good at love scenes. Murugadoss has done action films but it's the love story in Ghajini is more famous than the 15-minute memory loss.
The last when we met, you had said you were shooting with 23 children and you were loving every moment of it. Was the presence of these kids in the film a reason to sign it too?
There are 26 kids in the film. Definitely. After Devdas and especially after Ready, I had realised that kids started to like me. That's a lucky thing for any actor because kids are not that easy to impress.
So I should do a film which would attract them. The minute I heard this script where there are kids from the beginning till the end, I felt I should close my eyes and sign the film.
'There is no devotional angle in using the name Ganesh'
What do so many children have to do in this film? Can you talk about that?
[Laughs] The love story is all about the hero and the heroine and the 26 kids in between.
The film is called Ganesh and the tagline says "Just Ganesh". Is it to do with the hero's name? Any devotional angle to it?
There is no devotional angle, definitely. We tried not to keep the title Ganesh because it has already been used 10 years ago.
'The emotional part of Ganesh is going to be the highlight of this film'
Venkatesh had done that film...
Yes and it was really famous. We were thinking of other titles but Ganesh was really apt for the film. Ganesh is the character's name. Lord Ganesha is known for clearing people's obstacles. That is similar to the hero's characterisation. "Just Ganesh" is because the hero is an orphan and he doesn't have a family name. So it's Ganesh and "Just Ganesh".
Could you talk a bit more about your role?
I play a software engineer in Hyderabad. He's fun. There are a lot of scenes where he behaves like a kid with the kids, he behaves really mature when it comes to adults or he's really romantic when it comes to the heroine. There's a lot of comic touch to him.
So you'll continue the Ready bit (in terms of comedy) to some extent?
[Laughs] Definitely. I got a lot of appreciation for my comedy right from Devdas. So I thought I shouldn't let go of it. Like I said, I want to do different kinds of films. People should say, Ram can do anything -- be it comedy, action or/and romance.
The emotional part of Ganesh is going to be the highlight of this film -- something which I have not tried in my previous films. It's a typical love story with an emotional feel.
'It's not easy to play Kajal's character'
You are paired with Kajal Agarwal for the first time. How was she to work with?
She's a fantastic co-star. She was stressed in the beginning because Saravanan was a new director who spoke only Tamil and was not that fluent in English. Kajal can't understand Tamil so there was a lot of communication gap.
I played the middleman (interpreter) throughout the film, between the music director and director and Kajal and director. It's not easy to play Kajal's character as there are variations. I think she's done a fabulous job.
Saravanan as a debutant director is...
Fab, energetic, full of ideas and a good listener. That's one thing I like about him. He's got no ego hassles. He would appreciate new things.
So there was a lot of improvisation on the sets...
Lots. I love to go on sets and improvise.
'The first half of Ganesh is very entertaining'
Ganesh is shot in Araku (Andhra Pradesh) and Switzerland. So can we look forward to some picturesque locales and good camera work?
The camera work is by Hari Anumolu garu, who is a Nandi Award winner. My uncle is very particular about locations in his films. Even though in the film was supposed to be shot in some place on the outskirts of the city, we went to Araku because the location was good. We had to take the entire unit there and shoot for over a week but we did.
There's a scene where the hero and heroine are on a bike and it's raining and they stop under a tree. That tree had a small stream in the background. We found that in Araku in a picturesque location. A love story has got to have a dreamy feel to it.
We shot in a lot of places in Switzerland, in and around Interlaken, Zurich and others.
Can you talk about Mickey's music?
I have to talk a lot about Mickey's music [laughs] because music plays a key role in any love story. His music added a lot of freshness and feel to the film. A lot of people were very curious when they came to the audio release because Mickey is known for his soft, slow melodies and I am known for my energetic music. People were quite confused about this.
Can we expect full entertainment in Ganesh?
Throughout. The first half is very entertaining with Kajal, the kids and I doing the entertainment. The kids are not like adults in Ganesh. The kids are just kids.