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Siddharth has carved a place for himself in the Telugu film industry. His 'love stories' right from Nuvvuvastavante Nenuoddantana to the last Oye have done pretty well at the box office.
In this exclusive interview to rediff.com, Siddharth spoke about his latest venture Baava directed by new director Rambabu where he works with the eminent actor Dr Rajendra Prasad. The film releases this Friday (October 29). Excerpts:
Baava is directed by Rambabu, a debutant director. You seem to have a penchant for working with new directors. Is it because they come up with innovative ideas?
I've made a habit of working with new directors. It's not a conscious choice. I've just never been offered films by seniors or even slightly experienced directors. I'm not complaining. I'm proud of having started my career with Mani Ratnam and Shankar. That's enough for one lifetime.
What did you like about the script of Baava?
Baava was written for me by a filmmaker who wanted to show me in a different light. It's my first film with a complete village backdrop. It's a challenging role. The body language and dialect are completely different from anything I have done before. As for the script, it's a simple film but is treated with a nice flair. Hopefully it will entertain audiences of all classes equally.
Is it a love story and a family entertainer as well?
It is the village equivalent of a 'Siddharth' film. Romance, family emotions, great music and comedy will be the pillars of the film.
What would be the highlights of the film?
The energy of the film, the presence of Dr Rajendra Prasad, and the rural setting are the highlights to look forward to.
Tell us about your role. Is it something different from what you have done before?I'm taking baby steps towards trying different things in the accepted formula, as far as Telugu cinema is concerned. I don't want to abandon my strengths in search of something different. It was a very different experience purely because of the East Godavari slang
How was it sharing space with Rajendra Prasad who plays your father?
He has always been one of my favourite actors. I have learnt a lot from him. It's endearing and enriching to be around an actor who is still so alive and competitive in every shot of the film, even after achieving so much in his career. I used to refer to his films in the early days of my career for his comic timing, and the boy next door virtues.
You worked with Praneetha for the first time. How was she on the sets?
Praneetha is a young lady to watch out for. She is very professional, and an eager and polite actor. Her attitude and her natural talent were wonderful to have on set.
What are the plus points of Rambabu? How good is he as a director?
Rambabu is very honest about what excites him as a film goer. You will see glimpses of many films and filmmakers that have influenced him as an individual. His vast experience helped him execute this film very efficiently in terms of time and budget. His sense of comedy and emotion is very strong.
You must have shot the film in various rural locations. Could you name the places? How challenging was it to shoot in those places?
Baava was shot in places like Palakollu, Rajol, Rajahmundry and Hyderabad. It always helps to shoot films on location. Authenticity is the first step towards good cinema. Baava is the first film after Jayam that I feel does justice to the village backdrop in Telugu cinema.
You have done quite a few love stories which are family entertainers as well. Would you want to explore other genres of cinema in Telugu?
The next 12 months are very exciting and also challenging. I'm doing four films in many genres. There's a village film, a fantasy action adventure, a unique slice of life film, and a conventional romantic film. I am excited to be expanding my horizons and offering new content to my fans.
You are given the lover boy tag. How do you perceive this?
I don't believe in tags. If I had to pick one, I'd be content with the 'good actor' tag.
How far has the film directed by Prakash Rao progressed? Is it a socio-fantasy film?
Prakash's film is a magnum opus in the fantasy genre, with extensive use of CG and special effects. It's a one of its kind film, and Walt Disney's involvement adds great strength to the already exciting film. It will be the biggest budget film of my career till date.
Besides this, you have the film 180 with Jayendra. Have you started shooting for it?
180 is a bilingual being shot simultaneously in two languages. My mentor and ad film veteran P Jayendra makes his feature film debut with this film. It is exciting to return to Tamil cinema after almost 7 years.
Are you acting in the Tamil/Telugu remake of 3 Idiots?
I am not a part of the remake of 3 Idiots. I do not do remakes as a matter of principle. I am more interesting in crafting my films from scratch.