Anand Deverakonda: For ‘Gam Gam Ganesha’, I turned my fears into motivational factors

Actor Anand Deverakonda discusses his new Telugu crime comedy, ‘Gam Gam Ganesha’, how he differs from his brother Vijay Deverakonda, and why he does not chase stardom

Updated - May 27, 2024 05:00 pm IST

Published - May 27, 2024 03:14 pm IST

Anand Deverakonda, (right) in ‘Gam Gam Ganesha’

Anand Deverakonda, (right) in ‘Gam Gam Ganesha’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In a fictional village near Kurnool, a small-time thief gets caught in conspiracies and what follows is a cocktail of crime and comedy. Gam Gam Ganesha, written and directed by first-timer Uday Shetty, will feature actor Anand Deverakonda as a gregarious protagonist quite different from the man-next-door characters he has done so far.

In this interview in Hyderabad, talking about the film scheduled to release in theatres on May 31, the actor says, “Gam Gam… is far removed from my default state of calmness. There is an energetic side of me that comes out only in the company of close buddies. In this film, I sport spiked hair, and a tattoo and am hyper.” Initially, he wondered if people would warm up to the character. “Such questions stemmed from fear and I used them as motivational factors to do something new.”

Gam Gam Ganesha came his way when Middle Class Melodies was still underway. By then, Anand had got over the initial awkwardness he had in his debut film Dorasaani. He says it was incidental that his first few films required him to play characters close to reality.

“In Middle Class Melodies, Vinod (director Vinod Anantoju) gave me a placid character that required me to play it on an even keel. During that time, I would watch Malayalam films and was keen to do something in a realistic space. Even in Baby, I did not go overboard except in the scene where I am driving Vaishnavi to the theatre to watch a film. Director Sai Rajesh showed me how I should portray it.”

Getting the vibe

Anand Deverakonda in ‘Gam Gam Ganesha’

Anand Deverakonda in ‘Gam Gam Ganesha’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Uday Shetty, making his directorial debut with Gam Gam Ganesha, has been a writer for Vijayendra Prasad and K V Anudeep. While GGG is perceived to be in the zone of Telugu films such as Swamy Ra Ra, Run Raja Run and Express Raja, Anand reveals that in the discussion stages, the reference points ranged from the animation film Rango to Pirates of the Caribbean and Hot Fuzz. “There were small inspirations in terms of the mood we tried to achieve. Uday, Emmanuel (co-star) and I discussed quite a bit to get the right wavelength.”

Those who know of Anand’s career trajectory would be aware that he worked in the corporate sector before pursuing his dreams in cinema. One of the things that has not changed from those corporate days is Anand’s disinterest in looking into the mirror. “I would look into the mirror only when I needed to shave when I had a corporate job. Even today, I do not have the urge to check my makeup and hair just before going for the shot or checking the monitor after I am done. I rely on the director to tell me if things are fine.” His brother, Vijay Deverakonda, Anand says, has a different approach: “The minute he is done with a shot, he is intently thinking if he has got it right. He checks the monitor and plans what he needs to do next.”

Finding his form

Anand Deverakonda

Anand Deverakonda | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

This lack of vanity perhaps helped Anand get over camera consciousness in the early stages of his career. He recalls beginning to feel at ease during Middle Class Melodies. “My dad would say that when things click, you stop worrying about the angle from which you are filmed.”

He learnt to not be worried about how he looked on camera while crying or laughing heartily. “In Baby, there were three sequences in which I had to cry and Sai Rajesh planned each one differently. Sometimes it is like a batsman finding his form. You feel it in your bones when you get it right.” 

The conversation kept returning to his last film, Baby. While Middle Class Melodies was widely appreciated, it was a direct digital release during the pandemic. Baby was a blockbuster. Anand acknowledges the diverse reactions the film elicited and says he has learnt to take social media comments with a pinch of salt. “It was not a film about righteous people.”

Anand pauses and explains that the scene in which he shames the female protagonist with a cuss word was debated before filming. “We thoroughly discussed if that word should be used. Sai Rajesh felt that my character would react that way given that he did not care for his mother, had no father and would have seen his friends use foul language. Our intention was never to celebrate it or promote the film through that lens.”

Work on Gam Gam Ganesha began in May 2022 and there were times when he was simultaneously working on Baby. “Gam Gam was a breeze compared to the emotionally heavy Baby. Also, this film does not revolve around me, I am among the several characters. The story will unfold in three chapters — bhayam (fear), ati aasa (greed) kutra (conspiracy). I worked with Vennela Kishore anna for the first time and asked him for his candid thoughts on the film. He was appreciative of the detailed script with well written scenes and dialogues. The comedy in this film is situational. I think the plot twists and the comedy will hook the audiences.”

Since the time he began his film career, Anand has been clear that he is not here to chase stardom. He reiterates that things have not changed post Baby, which reportedly earned more than ₹100 crores. He cites the example of Dhanush who can straddle both starry and offbeat films and says, “If my taste in cinema translates into success and more people want to watch me as a star, maybe it will happen 10 years down the line. I am in no rush.” Anand’s lineup includes Duet, a film produced by Studio Green production house co-starring Ritika Nayak, another film with Sai Rajesh as a creative director and a raw action entertainer directed by Vinod Anantoju. 

With two actors under the same roof, ask Anand how the brothers deal with success and failures and he says, “There is gloom for a couple of days when a film that we hoped would work, doesn’t. But we have a good support system, our parents don’t let us brood for long. We take up physical activity or begin focusing on the next film, because there is nothing we can do with what has already happened.”

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