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Sushanth opens up on why he signed ‘Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo’, and life after ‘Chi La Sow’


Sushanth   | Photo Credit: By arrangement


Actor Sushanth says he got to learn new things about himself while working with director Trivikram Srinivas

Actor Sushanth says things have come full circle with Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (AVPL), releasing on January 12. This is the first time he’s not playing the main protagonist, but he talks about having gained a lot of experience working with director Trivikram Srinivas and a star cast that includes Allu Arjun, Tabu, Jayaram, Pooja Hegde and Nivetha Pethuraj.

The onus of box office collections aren’t on his shoulders, and he doesn’t mind it. “I thought about this film as an actor rather than a hero. But I worked more days on this set than I’ve done for some of my solo hero projects,” he declares.

After the warm reception to the romance Chi La Sow through which Sushanth reinvented himself, everyone expected him to announce more solo hero projects. He took everyone by surprise when the news trickled out that he’s been signed by Trivikram for a part in this Allu Arjun starrer.

Sushanth had already heard another story titled Ichata Vahanamulu Nilupa Radu (No Parking) pitched to him by first-timer Darshan. He liked the story but felt the script needed more work. Meanwhile, when AVPL came his way, he didn’t want to let go. “This is the first time I got to work with such a reputed director and I got to learn new things about myself. I need to thank both Trivikram sir and Bunny (Allu Arjun). Trivikram, from what I’ve observed, gauges the traits of an actor within a short time and designs the character accordingly. He works on your strengths and nudges you to step out of your comfort zone,” says Sushanth.

A still from Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo

A still from Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo  

Though questions were raised about him not doing a solo hero project and capitalising on the reception to Chi La Sow, Sushanth stayed quiet because it was too soon to announce Ichata Vahanamulu Nilupa Radu. This film was launched a few days ago and shooting will begin towards the end of this month. He’s confident that it will work for the better: “AVPL will give me more visibility and that, I hope, will help my next project.”

On the sets of AVPL, he would observe the cast closely. “We shot several portions at a house set in Annapurna Seven Acres. Just watching actors like Bunny, Tabu and Jayaram at close quarters was so good. Chaitu (Naga Chaitanya) and I had stayed in Tabu’s house in Mumbai for nearly a month when we were aspiring actors and had taken up an acting course. I first met her when she was shooting for Ninne Pelladata. To be working with her feels like I’ve come full circle,” he says.

Sushanth won’t talk about his role in AVPL but discloses that he got to experiment with “a couple of different looks”, and adds, “After the first narration, I was convinced and blindly followed what Trivikram sir said. I watched a few important scenes while dubbing but haven’t seen the final edit, but I can say that mine isn’t a predictable role. I have scenes with most of the cast and my work can hopefully be a mini showreel for potential filmmakers and the audience as well.”

In the last two years, if Sushanth has come across as more confident and assured, he says he decided to look beyond setbacks and work with a new approach. He talks about having been through fluctuating and testing times until around 2017: “My family tends to give all of us the freedom to be independent in our choices. I’m thankful for that but there was someone from the outside who wasn’t a good influence on me during most of my initial career. Having said that, I take responsibility for being influenced in the first place,” he says, without wanting to take names. “I learnt to move away, become independent and make my own decisions. That changed everything.”

Chi La Sow may have been a small film but the fact that it fetched a National Award for Best Screenplay for its writer-director Rahul Ravindran made it a good project to be a part of. Sushanth could discern new-found respect even in known circles: “I felt my journey has been worth it, to return from the US after my education and take up films.”

Things are looking up on the professional front. “More quality scripts come to me today, and with AVPL, I am sending out a signal that I am not following a fixed pattern but am flexible both as an actor and a hero depending on the project. I am curious and excited,” he sums up.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 2:23:44 AM |

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