Interview Movies

Atharvaa makes his Telugu film debut with 'Valmiki'

Atharvaa   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Atharvaa Murali has had a crazy work schedule the last two weeks that he didn’t attend the pre-release event of Valmiki, his Telugu début in which he reprises the role essayed by Siddharth in the Tamil original, Jigarthanda. He was shooting for the Tamil remake of Ninnu Kori. Tall and handsome, Atharvaa was the right pick by director Harish Shankar to play the part of an aspiring director in the movie. The actor has an element of innocence and vulnerability and he comes to the Telugu screen without any baggage.

Atharvaa has clocked nine years of his career in Tamil cinema, and observes that in this digital era everyone is watching content from different languages. There is no barrier any more. He says that if the content is interesting and engaging, people will definitely watch a film: “I have always been making a conscious effort to see that each film of mine is different from my previous one. I am always in search of fresh subjects. The industry is constantly evolving and so is the audience perception. I will do only those films that inspire me.”

He listens to a lot of scripts when he isn’t shooting and keeps an eye on budding storytellers and keeps their scripts aside to be considered sooner or later. He terms Valmiki’s original, Jigarthanda (2014), as one of his all time favourite films and when when it released, he didn’t know what to expect from it. He observes, “The trailer projects an intense film but there’s an entertaining story. It is the kind of film that has no time or language barrier. Harish Shankar is known to helm remakes in his signature style and when he narrated this to me, I found the idea interesting. There are a few films that you watch repeatedly; you can see some random scene and laugh over it. It is a smart move to remake Jigarthanda. I can’t talk much about Valmiki but he has made a few changes and I’m confident it will be received well by the Telugu audience.”

A poster of Valmiki featuring Atharvaa and Varun Tej

A poster of Valmiki featuring Atharvaa and Varun Tej  

Atharvaa says that good films inspire him. Talking about the Ninnu Kori Tamil adaptation, he says, “The kind of emotion in Ninnu Kori is something you don’t get to see often in Tamil cinema. If we maintain the balance, it will definitely work in Tamil. Kathir and Vairmuthu are writing the dialogues.”

He is completely a morning person and spends an hour and a half at the gym before heading to work. “That is totally my time,” he says and recalls his work in the Tamil film Eetti. “For the film, I had to get a ripped look and for that I trained for a year and a half. Fitness became a lifestyle, I had to sport eight pack abs and look like an athlete; not a sprinter but a hurdler. When you take up a role like this, there’s something to look forward to each morning and you know this regimen is going to be good for you and the film.”

The actor has visited Hyderabad many a time for his Tamil film shoots. Shooting in Telugu for the first time was fun, he says, and he hopes to dub for his next projects as there was paucity of time for Valmiki. He is all praise for director Harish and hero Varun Tej, “Harish is a sorted director, he knows what he wants and has his version of what is better. He has control over the entire set. Varun is experimental. In his last few films he was seen as a lover boy and this will definitely showcase a new angle of him. He is a handsome dude.”

Finally ask Atharvaa if he is comfortable doing two films a year and he says he has been doing that for the past couple of years and before that it, was only one a year.

A film with director Balaa consumed a lot of time. Wrapping up the conversation, he says, “I want to explore new content. It doesn’t matter if the director is new or established. Take 100 (Tamil) for instance, it was an exciting film wherein I played a cop and the whole story revolved around a call centre.”

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 3:09:03 AM |

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