Movies

‘Palasa 1978’ doesn’t advocate violence, says actor Rakshit Atluri

Rakshit Atluri and Nakshatra in a still from ‘Palasa 1978’

Rakshit Atluri and Nakshatra in a still from ‘Palasa 1978’  

Rakshit Atluri from Vijayawada might have had a disappointing start with his début film London Babulu, which released two years ago. The film was a remake of the Tamil film Andavan Kattalai and also starred Swathi Reddy in the lead.

Now, Rakshit is confident and looking forward to the release of director Karuna Kumar’s Palasa 1978, where he’ll be sharing screen space with Nakshatra. Talking about how he landed this film, he says, “I wanted to do something different from the regular format and around that time, I met director Karuna Kumar who made short films that fetched him national awards. He narrated the story to my father and director Tammareddy Bharadwaja who is a family friend. The latter is now presenting the film.”

The film moves from 1978 to 2018 and Rakshit’s character evolves from the age of 18 to 60; the actor is seen sporting four different looks, justifying his age. An incident took place in Palasa and the director, drawing from the observations of people in the region, has fictionalised a character for this film. The director hails from Palasa and that helped him add value to the story.

The tale is set against the cashew business, which is the main income of the people. The crime drama revolves around money and politics. Rakshit elaborates, “I play Mohan Rao and the character is seen participating in dance troupes as he belongs to a family of folk artistes. Srikakulam is famous for Janapadalu. How circumstances lead him to becoming a rowdy forms the crux of the story.” He stresses that the film will be entertaining, with dances, fights and all the elements that will appeal to the mainstream audience.

Rakshit shares that he will first be seen as an 18-year-old, then 24, 40 and finally a 60-year-old in the film. The director shot the portions that required Rakshit to play a 60-year-old towards the end, as the actor had lost weight to look like a teen.

He also learnt to speak Telugu in a dialect that fit the Palasa region in 45 days, with the help of an assistant director from the area. He talks of the ordeal the team went through at the Odisha border: “There were no great facilities. For the first 10 days, we shot at night and wound up by morning. We went to Palasa during the wedding season and stayed in different places as the hotels were occupied. What I observed is the population survives on the cashew business; though there are de-seeding machines, at least 40% of the people do the task manually. All this has been captured well in the film, since we shot at live locations.” He adds that the film doesn’t advocate violence. “Mine is an intense character and I was always in the mood. There is violence but it hasn’t been depicted as though we advocate it.”

Rakshit says he is satisfied at having done a good job. “Palasa 1978 has a realistic feel to it, like some of the films we get to see in Tamil and Malayalam,” he says. Currently, the post production is on and the film is due for release in October. Raghu Kunche plays the villain and S P Balasubrahmanyam and Baby recorded a retro melody.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 5:35:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/interview-rakshit-atluri-palasa-1978/article29430219.ece

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