The urban lover boy turns earthy, speaks the East Godavari dialect and is all out to woo the family audience. Siddharth discusses his new release with Sangeetha Devi Dundoo
Siddharth has moved away from his on-screen city slicker image for this week's release, Baava. First time director Rambabu's film, co-starring Praneetha, places the actor in a rural setting for the first time.
“It was a huge challenge since I stepped out of my comfort zone. I took coaching classes to get the East Godavari diction right. You will see Siddharth in a never-before kind of role,” says the actor. The last few days have been gruelling for the actor, with a shooting schedule in Chennai for his Tamil film 180 directed by renowned ad film-maker Jayendra Panchapakesan followed by a schedule at Ramoji Film City before he could take time off to promote Baava.
Siddharth pitches Baava as a “clean entertainer for the family. It's the kind of film that people will enjoy and go home happy,” he says. Clean entertainers have been Siddharth's forte and in this aspect, he draws a parallel between Baava and Nuvvastanante Nenoddantana. “Rambabu has earlier worked with M.S. Raju and Prabhudeva,” informs Siddharth, who has sung the title song and a bonus track in Chakri's composition.
The actor who has had no professional training in music is happy with the response to the title track. Ask him if delivering chartbusters (in Bommarillu and Oy for instance) has made him more comfortable in front of the microphone and he quips, “It has made the process of deciding to sing much easier.” He admits to choosing songs that give him scope to emote. “I don't select tough songs, which are best left to professional singers,” he says. Singing, he feels, in addition to making him connect better with the audience, also serves as a marketing tool.
Given Baava's rural setting, Siddharth doesn't see it catering only to B and C centres. “It is a film that will reach out to both the urban and the rural audience,” he says. Baava is his biggest Telugu release so far given the number of prints. “It is both exciting and nerve wracking,” he laughs. Rajendra Prasad dons the role of Siddharth's father. “He is a greater actor and I got to learn a lot from him,” says Siddharth.
From Boys to Baava, barring Rang De Basanti and Striker, Siddharth has been identified with romantic roles. “After Nuvvastanante... become a huge hit, it was natural for producers to give me romantic roles. I've been told I have a good fan following among women. Since I have age on my side, romantic films work well for me. But yes, in my forthcoming films I am venturing into different genres,” he says.
His next film directed by Prakash Kovelamudi co-starring Shruti Hassan is an adventure fantasy flick, co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures and K. Raghavendra Rao. “I play a warrior and this will be my first action film,” is all that he is willing to reveal. This will be followed by a Dil Raju production where Siddharth returns to urban romance.
In between all this is the bi-lingual 180. “This is an honest film without commercial baggage and will stand apart from the clutter,” Siddharth says with conviction. The film, simultaneously being made in Tamil and Telugu, marks his re-entry into Tamil cinema after Mani Ratnam's Ayudha Ezhuthu (Yuva). His regional films have been punctuated by Rang De Basanti and Striker. Irrespective of language, it's good cinema that draws his attention. An international film is also on cards. “I will be able to make an announcement in a few days,” he says.
Siddharth is one of the few actors known to be adept with different aspects of film-making. Leveraging on his experience of having started off as an assistant director, he hopes to direct a film in course of time. Before that, he plans to start his production house in 2011. “I think I have an eye to spot talent. Apart from Shankar and Mani Ratnam, I have only worked with first-time directors. And I think I have made good choices,” he reflects. The box office success of films like Bommarillu, Koncham Ishtam Koncham Kashtam and Oy stand testimony to that.
Keywords: Telugu film star