Watch: Rangayana Raghu interview: I love roles that make me think

Watch | Rangayana Raghu interview: I love roles that make me think

Enjoying all the praise for his lead performances in the recent Kannada films ‘Shakhahaari’ and ‘Moorane Krishnappa’, the veteran actor talks about his love for acting and breaking the monotony

Updated - June 06, 2024 01:02 pm IST

Published - June 03, 2024 03:22 pm IST

Rangayana Raghu is reveling in a fresh phase of his career. The Kannada actor, with three decades of experience in cinema, is now being seen in stories that revolve around his character.

Actor Rangayana Raghu

Actor Rangayana Raghu | Photo Credit: Ravichandran N.

Raghu rose to prominence with his terrific comic timing and admirable consistency as a character artiste. But with Shakahahaari and Moorane Krishnappa in 2024, he is now carrying films on his shoulders with aplomb.

Well aware of Kannada’s rich legacy, Raghu was excited to do both films as they allowed him to explore the different dialects of the language. “Sandeep Sunkad, the director of Shakhahaari, is from Shivamogga. The story unfolds in Thirthahalli, a town in Shivamogga. He had a strong hold over the kind of Kannada spoken in the district. Once I picked up the dialect, it was easy to live that character,” says Raghu.

Rangayana Raghu in ‘Shakhahaari’.

Rangayana Raghu in ‘Shakhahaari’. | Photo Credit: MRT Music/YouTube

Moorane Krishnappa was a story of a villagein Anekal. “Director Naveen Narayanaghatta is from that part of Karnataka, so he wrote the script in that dialect. I had fun playing the character who speaks Kannada with Anekal and Kolar slang,” he adds.

Shakhahaari is a thriller in which Raghu risks his life giving shelter to a man accused of murdering his wife. Essaying the role of a cook who owns a small hotel, Raghu’s character, Subbanna, is also a theatre enthusiast and loves someone secretly. 

The seasoned actor brings out his versatility to make a mark in a challenging role. After a decent run in theatres, the film has now crossed one crore streaming minutes on Prime Video.

“I was impressed by the story. Subbanna loves his small little world, and he wants to enjoy life. But what happens when he must protect his dubious acts and hope for a bright future? This sort of challenging situation makes the character very vulnerable. And the film has several twists to keep you hooked,” explains Raghu.

After a point, Subbanna turns ruthless to survive. How did people respond to the intensity of the role? “Some found it hard to digest,” reveals Raghu. 

Rangayana Raghu as a panchayat leader in ‘Moorane Krishnappa’

Rangayana Raghu as a panchayat leader in ‘Moorane Krishnappa’ | Photo Credit: Anand Audio/YouTube

“In Ramayana, Kaikeyi is an important character, but not many like her due to her intentions. Crime and sex sell on OTT platforms these days. We all know about the Delhi man chopping his partner’s body into pieces and storing them in a refrigerator; streamers eye gruesome true crime stories and latch on to them. Shakhahaari is also partly based on a true incident.”

With his mannerisms and terrific dialogue delivery, Raghu is also hilarious as a panchayat leader in Moorane Krishnappa. It’s a delight to watch him play a desperate man who wants to bring the Chief Minister to a temple inauguration in his village. 

“Perhaps my long stint with Rangayana (theatre institute in Mysuru) helped me master comedy. I travelled around the country and performed many humorous plays. People from different regions reacted differently to comedy. For instance, people from Mangaluru are hard to please. They offer a straight face to whatever you do; only if they really like a performance, they appreciate you,” he says. “So I observed people to understand what works and what won’t in comedy,” he adds.

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Many fans feel that Raghu was underutilised by Kannada filmmakers so far, and opined that he was wasted in exaggerated, comedic roles. “Being over-the-top is a kind of performance too. Not everyone can pull it off. I agree that I have done formulaic roles, but I have never let my career be monotonous. Filmmakers like Suri (Duniya, Junglee) and Yogaraj Bhat (Gaalipata, Paramathma) have always written unique characters for me. If I feel I am no longer versatile, I will quit this profession,” he offers.

ALSO READ:Rangayana Raghu: ‘I was distracted by the term, cut’

Raghu is excited about his upcoming projects, which he feels will extend his 2.0 phase. “I have played interesting characters in Powder, Agnyathavasi, Uttarakaanda, and Sanju Weds Geetha 2. I can never ditch commercial cinema. However, I want filmmakers to give me roles that make me think. Unique characters bring the best out of you, and it helps you reflect on your personality,” he signs off.

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