I have a sweet affection for Hindi cinema and I would like to be part of it: Allu Arjun
Stylish star Allu Arjun marked in 2020 with Vaikunthapurramuloo wing , which reportedly has reached the top five movies in Telugu cinema , taking second place after Baahubali: The Conclusion. The actor, who is about to venture into Hindi cinema, told us about starting the New Year in a great competition and what keeps him stimulated as an actor. Excerpts ...
You took a break towards the end of 2018, and then opened 2020 with Vaikunthapurramuloo wing , considered among the top grossers in Telugu cinema …
This movie was worth the wait. I took a break because I wanted to make a movie in the genre of mass entertainment. Everything they offered me at that time was from other genres, and I decided to wait because I hadn't done something like that in a long time. From my point of view, the music of the film worked very well with the audience. Usually, everyone enters into an unrealistic reality,
Exaggerated space in this genre, but we chose to keep it very sincere. We were honest with our narration and I think that must have touched the sensitive fiber of the audience.
Why did you choose to release the movie only in Telugu? The dubbed versions could have taken him across India ...
When we started off, we knew that Vaikunthapurramuloo wing was a quintessential Telugu film. Also, we could not dub the movie in multiple languages because of time constraints. However, it has a Hindi satellite dub, which will come out soon. We also plan to release my next film in multiple dubs across the country.
The reports are that this year, he also plans to make his foray into Bollywood ...
The year started well and my movie show in Telugu is quite interesting. While Trivikram Srinivas (director of Vaikunthapurramuloo wing ) and I have cracked
another idea, which we’re happy about, I also have Sukumar’s AA 20 to look forward to. I’ve enjoyed working with Trivikram and after the box-office success of Vaikunthapurramuloo wing , it was challenging to find something that interests us and will also hopefully meet the audience’s expectations. I have a sweet affection for Hindi cinema and yes, I would like to be a part of it some day. Right now, I am just looking for that perfect project with a good director to start off with. My first move in this industry will matter a lot. A lot of actors from the South have done films in Hindi and I learn from everything that they have done. Content is extremely important. I’ve been working in Telugu cinema for 16 years now, but I will be making my debut in Bollywood . So, it’s a totally new terrain for me. I want to enter Bollywood with a film backed by content, with a producer-director team, which has a track record of delivering crackling content. I’ve seen a lot of people’s works and for me, Rajkumar Hiraniji tops my wishlist of directors to work with in Bollywood . I love all his films. I also like Shoojit Sircar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Aanand L Rai, they have a brilliant body of work, too.
If you had to get away from the image and compare Telugu and Hindi cinema, what would be your analysis?
Telugu has more density, while Hindi has more volume. The reach of Bollywood is much more than Tollywood. Telugu cinema has more ardent cinegoers, who are cinema-loyals. In terms of storytelling, we should appreciate the beauty of both industries. Bollywood is a content-oriented industry, which is bold, has a new-age take and balances commerce and art beautifully. Telugu cinema has great stories, too, which are more rooted in our culture, with superior command on action dramas and technology-driven storytelling. The industries have unique identities and that’s the best part of the story.
Lately, several actors from the South have forayed into Bollywood. On the other hand, apart from remaking hits, Hindi cinema is being dubbed down South and the actors are also being accepted and appreciated there. What do you make of this cross pollination?
That is a wonderful thing. The Hindi film industry has tapped a huge audience in the South. At the same time, the Hindi market has opened its doors to the talent and stories from the South. It's cool that without eating into each other, the industries are growing together. Ultimately, we have to acknowledge that Bollywood takes the lead. It’s an identity for all of us, especially when we travel abroad. For people there, Indian cinema is Hindi cinema, making Bollywood a flag-bearer. It fills me with pride that they recognize our cinema. As an actor and an individual, so many Hindi films have inspired me. The songs, the scenes, performances, direction, story - the list is endless. The first Hindi film that I saw was Karan Arjun (1995) and I enjoyed it. So, commercial cinema is something that has always appealed to me.
As an industry, cinema has been nepotistic. In such a scenario, where you are aiming to work in both Bollywood and Tollywood, what do you think has helped you build a reputation of your own, independent of your family’s name?
I think it's my passion for work. With or without a background in the cinema, your passion decides how far you can go. It's like the fuel in the car. No matter what car it is, the fuel in your tank decides how far it can run. I cannot deny the fact that I am a third generation of my family in this business. My grandfather was an actor and dad is a producer. Yes, people like me have had it easier than others, who came from outside the industry. But I have immense respect because they are passionate about cinema and their trade.
After more than a decade and a half in this business, what keeps you hooked?
My search and my desire to excel. For me, the good is never enough, my goal is to deliver a great product every time. It doesn't matter if it's a success or a failure, I'm proud of the fact that although the public has rejected some of my films, they are all beautiful cinematographically. No actor can decide the fate of a movie, but each actor can try to make a great movie.
Be it Bollywood or Tollywood, competition has intensified immensely ...
The competition has always existed and will continue to do so. What matters is the internal journey of each individual; The important thing is how good I was in my movie and how good my movie was. It is important to do your job with blinders. For me, my biggest competition is my mentality. Many of my colleagues are my friends or relatives. We socialize and are there for each other, but at work, we have to be smart. It's not about my comfort zone. I can have a personal relationship with people, but when I'm at work, I won't compromise. It has nothing personal, but I will not step back to make another colleague shine. I will encourage and even help you, but everyone has to earn their shine. As the son of a producer, I know that it is my responsibility to deliver an excellent product every time because people's money and hard work are at stake.
Many actors are now producing films in which they firmly believe. Do you also plan to take that path?
I have a family history in production, so I understand that space and could look to go there. But my greatest strength lies in my acting skills.