Interview | Movies

Allu Arjun’s swag is matchless in 'Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo': Govind Padmasoorya

Allu Arjun, Sushanth (left), and Govind Padmasoorya (background) in a still from Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

His last outing in Tamil was a box office disaster.

But Kee, a film in which Malayalam actor Govind Padmasoorya (more famous as GP) played the antagonist, was instrumental in landing him a character in the upcoming Allu Arjun film directed by Trivikram Srinivas, Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (AVPL).

“I play the villain in this film too. But it is not a ruthless character like in Kee because AVPL is a fun film. It is a family drama with comedy and action... like how a Vijay sir film would be,” says GP, as we sit down for a conversation at a luxury hotel in T Nagar, Chennai.

Anticipation around AVPL is already sky high, considering the massive popularity of its songs.

Terming the musical score by Thaman S as a hit is an understatement; songs like ‘Samajavaragamana’, sung by Sid Sriram, and ‘Ramuloo Ramulaa’, sung by Anurag Kulkarni, have been viewed over 120 million times on YouTube.

Govind Padmasoorya

Govind Padmasoorya   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

For GP, though, the major takeaway from AVPL ought to be his versatility as an actor.

“I hope that after seeing [AVPL] people may cast me for a performance character... a positive role. Or, perhaps, a second hero in a big film. This is what I’m anticipating. After AVPL, they may not always want to cast me as a villain. There are more possibilities that I am trying to open up, but I don’t know how people are going to perceive,” he adds.

Excerpts from an interview:

Tell us about your role in the film...

My character’s name is Paidthili. It is a very interesting name. I play the son to Samuthirakani sir’s character in the film. He plays a very rustic Telugu person, but my character is sophisticated because he has a degree from an American university.

What convinced you to sign the film?

When I heard it was an Allu Arjun-Trivikram Srinivas sir film, I did not have to think of anything else.

They were coming together for the third time after two blockbusters, and the film is produced under the Geetha Arts banner. I wanted that brand association.

How do you explain Allu Arjun’s popularity in Kerala?

When Bunny (Allu Arjun’s nickname) started, he gave us these kind of love stories we would not have dared to make. Like Arya (2004), it was considered cheesy at the time, but we were ready to accept if it came from another film industry. It was a fun package, and his looks, dance... it just got into the girls and then the boys.

Allu Arjun in a promo still for Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo

Allu Arjun in a promo still for Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The main thing for Bunny is his presentation as an entertainer. We have a lot of actors in Kerala, but nobody has taken his space... where you see unimaginable, incredible dance steps, over-the-top stunts, and with such magnitude. Unfortunately, Kerala cannot afford the kind of budget that Telugu films can.

Allu Arjun is a major star in Telugu cinema. How was it working with someone of his calibre?

I was amazed by his humility. When he is on the set, all eyes are on him. You notice people’s body language change, everyone wants to acknowledge him. He also makes sure to acknowledge everyone.

By the time he leaves the set, he would have made sure that others think, ‘Bunny sir has noticed me’. That is an amazing quality. Besides, when you are a part of these films, it is like being in an acting workshop.

Can you elaborate...

With Bunny, it is interesting to watch him improvise a scene. Him and Samuthirakani sir do it very differently. Bunny knows his strength. He brings his swag into the action scenes, dialogues and dance.

He uses his entire body to say a dialogue, and only he can carry it off well. If I tried to do it, I’m sure it would come across as over-the-top. He is very comfortable with the loudness he brings in.

Allu Arjun and Pooja Hegde in a still from Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo

Allu Arjun and Pooja Hegde in a still from Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

With Samuthirakani sir, the effort he puts in to understand the nuances of folk Telugu... he knows very little Telugu but he writes and learns it to get the diction and mannerism correct.

Both these actors are like textbooks for you. It is a delight for me to watch them perform.

What is the core concept of AVPL?

The title means... There in Vaikunthapuram. Everything happens in the house, and Samuthirakani and I are the outsiders.

If you look at the film from a different angle, it is about three different father-son relationships, and the attitudes they share.

There is Jayaram sir and Sushant, Allu Arjun and Murali Sharma, and Samuthirakani and I.

One father does not respect his son, thinks whatever he says is not right and suppresses him. The other son does not know what to say, and the father is looking forward for his son to say something.

The third is very aggressive, and his father thinks whatever he says is good.

You are still waiting for a big opportunity in Malayalam films...

I’m looking for a lead role in Malayalam. Earlier, it was GP, the television host, trying to make it in films. Now I feel confident, after having done films in Tamil and Telugu. And in Kerala, the film industry is in such a position now that if the script works, it does not matter who the lead is, that film will work. It is just a matter of time.

Govind Padmasoorya

Govind Padmasoorya   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Would you take the parallel cinema route to fame in Malayalam?

If you want to become big, if you want to sustain in an industry, you will have to expand your horizon. Right now, doing small films could work for some time. But you become a star when you have releases on festival days... like an Onam release.

So, I’m not looking to build a niche image. Every actor wants that, but I don’t think that is a good idea. You have to be an Aamir Khan to pull off a Taare Zameen Par or Dangal.

That is the space which every actor should aim at... where when you do a Moothon, you also do a Love Action Drama.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 2:16:52 AM |

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