Venkatesh Interview: 'I am not a big star!'

Monday, August 8, 2016 - 15:00

Having completed 30 years in Tollywood, Venkatesh is fully contentment and overflowing gratitude. When he opens up, it's a treat. In this interview, he does just that. From talking about his next film to his spiritual leanings, son and more, he gets candid and straightforward.  

You are playing a funny cop in 'Babu Bangaram'. What is unique about your character?

More than a funny cop, Krishna is a cop who has 'jali' (pity) in his genes. It has come to him from his father. I found the characterization is very entertaining. It's a family entertainer.

Haven't we seen enough number of characters who, forced by circumstances, turn violent after being soft in the beginning?

I haven't done any research on this. I think this element is new for a cop. There may have been a few films that had this concept. But Maruthi has dealt it in a unique way.

Considering that a film you had planned earlier with Maruthi didn't work out, what made you accept this script in particular?

We had planned a film (known as 'Radha'), but that got canceled. Then Maruthi came up with this story line. It's a simple story line. I am liking the way I have been portrayed.

Maruthi is known for double meaning dialogues. Weren't you sceptical?

I don't care about what a director has done before. It's not in the culture of Suresh Productions either. I did 'Babu Bangaram' because I liked the script.  

Why the reference to your 'Bobbili Raja' quirk?

As a teenager, Maruthi had watched the film a number of times in his village. So, he carries that impression in him. 'Ayyo.. ayyo' is a kind of punch line. Many of the present generation who haven't watched 'Bobbili Raja' are liking it after the trailer.  

Why isn't Nayanatara seen around?

She is professional and told us that she won't promote the film. Even earlier ('Lakshmi' and 'Tulasi'), she was clear about it.  

Was Nayantara selected for sentimental reasons?

We felt she would be apt. Our jodi is good. And she is beautiful. For these reasons, we went with her.  

There aren't too many heroines for actors of your age. What's your say?

I have become older now. I have to accept it. It is difficult to find a good pair for myself, but so what? We will find.  Wasn't it me who introduced so many actresses when I was young?

After doing remakes like 'Drushyam' and 'Gopala Gopala', you have gone for a straight film.

I don't plan anything. Things just fall in place and I get on to it. There was a time when I thought I should slow down.  Today, I am looking at four films. I would say it sometimes depends on him (points to Ramana Maharshi's portrait in the room). I don't plan things for myself, neither do I do it for my kids.

But haven't you said that you will continue to act till your son Arjun debuts? That means, you have plans for him.  

My father never compelled me to do anything. That's the way I am bringing my children up. Arjun is free to choose his field.  He is studying 8th Standard. Off late, he is full into Basketball. The other day, someone told him, "Wow!  You are the son of a big star. You should follow in his footsteps". Arjun stared at him and said, "I have my own footsteps". That's the way I like him to think.

It has been three great decades in cinema. Was it destiny or hard work?

It's a combination of many things. I am happy that after I got into films, I have discovered myself. Earlier, no such self-discovery was happening. To begin with, I had no expectations. After doing a few films, I told myself that I am emoting well, etc.

Do you interfere with the director's work?

If I don't like something, I tell it on face. I have to be comfortable doing a scene. I don't interfere beyond a point. One has to be modest in everything.  

When are you doing a devotional film?  

A biopic on Swami Vivekananda's life was planned. One would want to do certain things, but they may or may not fall in place.  
You being such a big star..  

(Interrupts). I don't care about such tags.  Call me a senior actor, if you wish. I just do my thing and go home. I like to be alone and reflect. We have to self-introspect. The tragedy is that we are mostly bothered about others. We compare ourselves with others and become sad. People have to read good literature. 'Bhagavad Gita' is for free, but nobody reads it.  If someone released a book titled 'How To Earn One Million In One Month', people go gaga over it. I would say, read both.  I too like to earn more and more.

Are you bulking up for your next?

It's a remake of 'Sala Khadoos'. I am bulking up a bit. That's why I am on a diet. Even as I am giving this interview, I am having dry fruits.