Manoj: I am 20 kgs lighter in Gunturodu
Manchu Manoj, whose 'Gunturodu' will hit the screens on March 3, in this interview says that he believes in trying something new every time.
How is 'Gunturodu' different from your previous films?
So far, I have done films which are a mixed package, with both comedy and action in. But 'Gunturodu' takes off from a simple thread and develops into an action entertainer. My character can't take much happiness or sorrow. There are insane youngsters in all towns. The film is about one such insane guy. The whole conflict between the hero and the villain originates from the villain's ego. Nobody else but Sampath garu could have done this role. I was motivated to match up to his standard. When the other actor is so good, you want to out-perform him.
Chinna's RR will be specially talked about in reviews. Mark my words. The comedy involving Praveen and Sathya has come out very well.
Whose idea was it to go for Megastar's voice-over?
I asked Charan first to give the voice-over. Since he expressed his inability for the next ten days, I had to re-think. I came to know that Nanna garu would be meeting Chiranjeevi uncle for breakfast the next day. I joined them for it and said to uncle that I did a cute, commercial film for which his voice would be great. He immediately accepted my request. What an awesome gesture!
His narration takes the film forward. Since 'Gunturodu' is a fast-paced film like a Hari film, a Linguswamy film, uncle's voice introduces the characters, gives the leads from time to time. It's a full-fledged narration by him!
Putting behind a flop like 'Shourya', are you going to play safe from now?
I have been experimenting from time to time. The way I have looked has been different from one film to another. Films like 'Potugadu' and 'Current Theega' did well, but these are not the kind of films I like to watch again and again. I like 'Prayanam' and 'Vedam'. Experimental films are coming increasingly in Telugu in recent past, but I ventured into this arena long before. Even 'U Kodatara Ulikki Padatara' was a horror-comedy which was made before the genre became popular in the last two years.
It's only of late that we are making original, experimental stuff. Earlier, if something was different, it was a remake. The audience too are ready to accept such films. If an experiment flops, others will be discouraged. If it's a hit, it boosts the confidence of filmmakers.
What motivates you to try such roles?
Elders like Nanna garu, Chiranjeevi garu, Balakrishna garu are my source of inspiration to try different roles. Nowadays, with theaters coming to be monopolized by a handful of people, playing it safe is the norm. I am trying to wriggle out of that zone.
I listen to a script directly. There are no channels in between. I don't believe in asking the director to give the narration to my manager, brother, mother, father, my neighbor, etc. (laughs). I take the call myself. I don't go to a big director and seek roles. I don't know how to do 'maska'. If they want to cast me, they will do it. I don't make special efforts towards bagging films with big directors. There was a time when offers did come from them, but I decided to be there with akka in US.
I can't act when there is no scope for emotions. After a day's shoot during 'Potugadu', I would come back home and tell my sister, 'Akka, why I am having to do this?' It's a film in which I did a lot of over-acting.
You also do your own stunts. And you don't look the same weight in every film. What goes into all that?
I believe in showing something new in every film. I work hard to come down in weight. For example, I am 20 kilos less in 'Gunturodu' than what I was in 'Shourya'. This takes a lot of effort. Bokka la untundi aa process. (Laughs).
When is 'Billa-Ranga' with Sai Dharam Tej happening?
We both have planned to do a film together. That wish has been there since childhood. We are looking for the right project to happen.
What are your upcoming films?
'Okkade Migiladu' is up for a May release. My character is inspired by LTTE Prabhakaran's life. There are plans afoot to remake 'Gunturodu' in Tamil immediately.