Venkatesh talks about connecting to ‘Drishyam’ as a father and feels the film is path breaking enough to give producers the confidence to back new storylines

It was nice to see Venkatesh in a chatty mode after a long time; he had suffered a shoulder injury while shooting for a movie and has now recovered, thanks to plenty of rest and water aerobics sessions.

He is animated while talking about his forthcoming film and begins, “The media and the audience should encourage such films and only then will we see the emergence of fresh talent, more so in the form of story writers.”

He is not perturbed when people brand him an actor who looks for safe choices, a strategist picking only remake movies, the recent ones being Bodyguard and Masala. Now it is Drishyam, the Malayalam superhit slated to release on July 11 with the same title in Telugu.

Many discussions were held to come up with a new title but eventually the unit felt it was the right one for the subject.

Venkatesh observes that this is one of the strongest subjects he has taken up so far and decided to go with a fresh approach. “I felt it would be an apt subject for me when I saw the film, especially at this point of time. There is a strong emotional angle which will work; the film has done well in Malayalam and Kannada. I didn’t pick up the subject after it became a blockbuster in Malayalam. I saw Drishyam a day or two after its release and liked it a lot. If this film works here, producers will get the confidence to make movies with different storylines. I will take up the potboilers, but when I find something as interesting as this, I will grab it. Such path-breaking films are good for the industry too.”

The actor says he is not an avid watcher of vernacular movies but sees a number of Hollywood movies. He tells us that Kamal Haasan called him to say how happy he was to learn that he (Venkatesh) had taken up the Telugu version.

Sometime next month, the Tamil version will go on floors and Kamal will be reprising Mohanlal’s role. Drishyam is one of those story-driven scripts that do not allow the artistes or the director to take liberty and deviate or introduce new elements to make it work commercially.

On his co-star Meena, Venkatesh avers, “Both of us were a successful pair in Chanti, Sundarakanda, Suryavamsam and Abbayigaru. This is a far simpler film and Meena is looking good and has matured a lot. She hasn’t lost the emotional spark. About the climax, the incident itself is arresting; the simpler you are, you come across very well on screen.”

He adds: “There are other characters too that are well defined and we are all lucky to be cast in our respective roles. As a father I could relate to the character. Not many know I have daughters as old as the girls in the film. It took me seconds to get comfortable on screen; at home I am very protective about my daughters. Sripriya, the director, came to us with the story and she wanted to direct it and we had no complaints.”

Swami and Paruchuri brothers wrote the dialogues. The unit went to places in Kerala, and Vijayanagaram and Araku and found good locations to shoot.

The film, sums up Venkatesh, “is a thrilling experience of a person who loves his family and is placed in a piquant situation when trouble comes calling; the simple man comes up with a street smart idea that gets his family out of trouble.”