From professor to bandit

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CHATLINE Actor Kishore Kumar is the talk of the town with his portrayal of Veerapan in the Kannada film Attahasa. He tells BHUMIKA K. that the recklessness and intensity of a hunter he had to portray was a new experience

He looks so convincingly like Veerappan in the bilingual film Attahasa (Kannada)/ Vana Yudhdham (Tamil); on a first face-to-face meeting, one instantly looks out for those features in actor Kishore Kumar’s face. That nose with the crooked bridge is there, those brooding yet menacing deep-set eyes are there, that scrawniness is there. It is only in profile that Kishore matches Veerappan some more.

“I did look a bit like him; we have similar features. I did have a thin and huge nose. That’s what director A.M.R. Ramesh also imagined I suppose,” Kishore breaks into a disarming grin. “While making a biopic on Veerappan, looks were important…he’s popularly known.” The last person you would imagine playing Veerappan would be someone who started off as a Kannada professor! But then again, Kishore had already established himself as an intense actor in both the Kannada and Tamil film industries, ever since his debut with the Kannada film Kanthi in 2004.

Known for playing characters that fit the bill of the anti-hero — be it a cop, politician, or character role, the reticent Kishore has also made a space for himself in Telugu and Malayalam films. “But the recklessness and intensity of a hunter that I had to portray as Veerappan were new to me,” confesses the 38-year-old.

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