Happy with the success of his maiden production, Siddharth talks about the refreshing campus story and what makes him tick with college goers.

‘Failure' is not a word that a first-time producer or director would want as part of their film's title. But actor Siddharth and director Balaji Mohan were not the ones to succumb to superstition. Their small film is getting all the whistles, from moviegoers and critics alike, and producers Siddharth and Sashikant are happy that word-of-mouth publicity has strengthened the film at the box office in its second week.

In an interview to MetroPlus on the sidelines of the film's success meet, Siddharth retraces the making of Love Failure, his success as a romantic hero and what's in store for him.

Siddharth and Sashikant (whose Y Not Productions backed the sparkling Tamizh Padam and Va Quarter Cutting) happened to meet at a party in Chennai and discovered that both of them were on the lookout for young director Balaji Mohan whose Tamil short film, Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Eppadi (How to mess up in love), with a run time of 9.29 minutes, was a rage on social networking sites.

Siddharth recalls, “Balaji wanted to develop his short film into a feature film even before we met. I first met him after he had developed the screenplay. It was the most well structured script I had read in years.”

Twenty four year-old Balaji Mohan is the 10th first-time director Siddharth has worked with. “It was never my intention to only work with first timers. I just don't seem to fit in the scheme of established directors. I've stopped trying to analyse why that is the case,” says Siddharth. The actor lauds Balaji for his clarity. “He is also an editing student and that made him a unique director,” adds Siddharth.

Siddharth is a favourite with college goers and is identified with feel-good romances. Ironically, in all his 12 years in the industry, he hasn't been part of a campus caper. “I've always wondered why we don't make enough campus films. I've turned down many college-based stories because I found the artificial depiction of college life difficult to digest,” says Siddharth. He mentions how Balaji wanted a realistic look. “In my college days, I was comfortable wearing checked shirts, a sling bag across my shoulders and a pair of chappals. That's the look we used for the film,” he adds.

Boy next door image

At 32, Siddharth is happy he can connect to college goers. “I hope to do many more campus films before it's too late,” he says. His appeal, he feels, lies in his every man image. “The boy next door tag coupled with the fact that I have great music and beautiful cinematography in all my films makes it easy for me to attract younger audiences. That I predominantly do romantic films is also an asset. Very few actors prefer romance as a genre the way I do,” he states.

For Love Failure, he was also a hands-on producer and took the risk of distributing the film. Was it tough juggling multiple roles? “I take myself very seriously. My love for my film made it easy to take on way more responsibility than would seem practical. All my risks were, at the end of the day, still conservative because the budget was fairly low. So money did not drive any decisions. I refused to let people who don't understand my film be part of it in any way. This was one of the more enjoyable and positive working experiences of my career,” he says.

A Hindi remake is on the cards and Siddharth states that it's too early to disclose the details. “In all probability, very few adjustments will be made to this team as everyone really enjoys working together,” is all that he reveals.

2012 will see Siddharth in diverse films — Deepa Mehta's Midnight's Children, Sukumaradu by Ashok, Nandini Reddy's new film, a Hindi film by David Dhawan and a film by Vetrimaaran. “It's an important and exciting year. I can't wait to see what it has in store for me,” he sums up.

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MetroplusJune 28, 2012