The film also marks Tarak Ponnappa's return to protagonist status
When Amruth Apartments opens in theatres tomorrow, it will herald Tarak Ponnappa’s return to lead protagonist status since his 2015 debut, Ajaramara. The model-turned-actor plays Vasudev Murthy, a soft-spoken software engineer in the film written, directed and produced by Gururaj Kulkarni, who had earlier backed the Kannada film Last Bus.
The film pairs Tarak with Urvashi Goverdhan, who, as Sapna, is his Bengali spouse. “Initially when I spoke to Gururaj, I realized that he is a good story writer. His craft was in full-display during the narration and I was quite impressed. What struck me the most about the story of Amruth Apartments is just how relatable the subject is to most Bengalureans, or for that matter, people in urban set -ups, accustomed to the apartment lifestyle. Bengaluru’s population has a healthy number of immigrants from other parts of the country, as well as from Karnataka. The story was a reminder of how life is for a regular Bengalurean; how beautiful it looks to an outsider, but how tough it can actually be. Also, the character was very different from my previous work. Vasu is a soft-spoken, patient and gentle software engineer and his story arc explores modern-day marriages, where couples commit to a relationship and all that comes with it, including the joint accounts for home and car loans, etc.,” he explains.
Although Tarak says that he’s always dreamt of being in films, his family had other plans for him. Tarak, holds an MTech in Highway Technology, and even though his family has a lot of members in the armed forces, films is what he has chosen as his career. “Initially, my parents were okay with me trying my hand at films, because Ajaramara was shot during the final semester of my MTech, which did not disrupt my studies. But they were not keen on me pursuing it seriously, because like most families with no filmi connect, they had no idea how things work in the industry. Also, as an outsider, you have to be prepared for a lot more downs than ups before something good comes your way. Right now, they are happy, though, because I have good work and am following a childhood dream,” he says.
Since Ajaramara, Tarak has had a handful of releases, including Brihaspati, Adhyaksha in America, KGF: Chapter 1 and Yuvarathnaa. Some of these roles, though, were as antagonist. How did he manage to break free from that image and return to hero status? “It’s generally not easy to play hero once you are seen as villain material. Whereas, if a hero does a character with grey shades it’s lauded. Here, you get stereotyped very easily. In fact, shortly after Yuvarathnaa came out, in which I played a police officer, I got 4-5 similar offers immediately thereafter. I didn’t take those up, because I was sure they would portray me as a macho police officer. Instead, I decided to play a common man in Amruth Apartments, which is a more relatable character. Soon after this, I will be seen in Gilky, in which I play an intellectually-challenged person. So, yeah, I am trying to do a wide variety of roles, instead of sticking to larger-than-life characters,” he says.