He’s short, squat, dark, and his teeth show. All this couldn’t stop him from instant fame. That’s Sampoornesh, a.k.a. Sampoo Babu, the lead star in Hrudaya Kaleyam (HK), directed by Steven Shankar’s and produced by Sai Rajesh (the latter’s alias).

Amrutha Production’s debut film has come as a dream-come- true for all those involved.

How did it begin?

“My director narrated the story to me sometime last March with the warning that it would make or break me. Once I heard the sheer audacity of the content, which was not in tune with any of the established norms of film-making, I was sold on it 100 per cent,” says Sampoo Babu.

Interestingly, the pre-production for HK started with the release of a poster on which hit filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli tweeted, showing his interest. Then came a one-minute trailer shot, which was uploaded on YouTube last May. It attracted a whopping 10 lakh hits.

“This drew the attention of director Maruthi (of Eerojullo fame). So interested was he in the project that he instantly offered to chip in with about 25 per cent of the production cost,” reveals Sai Rajesh.

“A couple of months later the film was wrapped up in a straight schedule of 29 days of shooting. And since its release last Friday, it has become the talk of the town,” says the hero.

A modest guy who used to help his brother in a jewellery shop, Sampoo, as he is popularly known, has been interested in films since childhood.

Ask him about what helped sell the film and attract audiences and he says, “The very fact that it goes against everything that film buffs think should be in a film is its USP.”

What next?

Sai Rajesh will produce Cobbari Matta, to be directed by a colleague in the Production Department of Amrutha Productions called Rajesh. This will have Sampoo in three roles, that of Paparayudu, Pedarayudu and Androidu and it’s going to have seven heroines.


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