Two of Kamal Kamaraju's paintings will be auctioned for charity on Thursday. The actor reveals more

On March 24 evening, Kamal Kamaraju will be among eight artists whose works are to be auctioned for a cause at Marriot. The tall, lanky actor who made his mark in Godavari, Avakai Biryani and Kalavaramaye Madhilo among other films is more than just an actor. A qualified architect, writer and a gifted photographer and painter, he draws from his observations during film shootings to stay in touch with his creative side.

“Photography and painting keep me grounded and more in tune with the real world,” says the actor. “The glamour of the film industry and the recognition we get from people can move us away from reality. You won't find me at parties. Instead, I use my spare time to take photographs or paint,” he says.

Two of his paintings, Ganesha and Angel, are up for auction at the charity event, and the proceeds will go towards Marriot Home, a home and school for children of people affected by leprosy. “I share a personal and emotional connect with my paintings and don't like the idea of selling them with an intention of making money. In fact, even when a few of my paintings were bought earlier I contributed a large percentage went to charity,” says Kamal.

Ganesha, oil on canvas, and Angel, charcoal on oil, are his favourite works, discloses the actor. The actor's work gives a different spin to the Ganesha painting by placing a row of Ganeshas without hands. And Angel, he says, was inspired by a doll used in I Am Famous, his first film as a writer that was showcased at international film festivals. “The doll was a symbol of hope.”

Kamal draws his inspiration for paintings while travelling to different shooting locales. Recently, after shooting for his forthcoming film Virodhi, he is eager to paint some of the magnificent rock formations of Hyderabad. He likes to call himself a hobby artist and explains, “Painting is a reminder of who I was before I entered films. I do not want to let the artist in me languish. I'd like to take it forward through my journey.”

Known for choosing films that at times do not fit into the mainstream commercial realm, Kamal has two releases this summer — Virodhi in Telugu which is expected in April and the Tamil film Aayiram Vizhaku in May — after which he has two high-profile films slated to begin in June and July.