Bubblegum is a story centred on love and dignity, the debutant shares
Roshan Kanakala, son of anchor Suma and actor Rajeev Kanakala, who debuts as a lead actor with Bubblegum, was always destined and ready for a career in cinema. He’s grown up in and around his grandparents’ acting institute, watching his parents embrace limelight with grace, assisting filmmakers, playing brief cameos in films besides being a gifted dancer. In more ways than one, he’s quite equipped to handle the chaos of the industry.
Exhausted after a whirlwind promotional campaign across Telugu states, there’s a nervous energy enveloping him. “I’ve always wanted to be an actor and I better be ready for this. It feels good to be in the spotlight but I consider myself a student first. I’m open to constructive criticism and praise. I want people to give their views because it’s important to smell the coffee and not live in a cocoon.”
He was genuinely humbled when Ravikanth Perepu picked him for Bubblegum. The filmmaker hosted a month-long workshop for the team, ensuring that everyone was well-prepared as the project went on floors. “We read our scenes, planned how we could bring them alive and were comfortable with one another.” Roshan plays Aadhi, a budding DJ who’s the son of a chicken shop owner.
Adapting to the lower-middle-class milieu wasn’t a challenge. “Despite me being an industry kid, my parents ensured I had a middle-class upbringing; a major part of my childhood was in and around Rajeev Nagar and Yousufguda (in Hyderabad). I may not have been the son of a chicken shop owner, yes, but that’s where the power of imagination comes into play and you need to respond as an actor.”
His confidence and screen presence across Bubblegum’s promos have been the talk of the town, more so his portrayal of youthful rebellion and arrogance. “My preparedness as an actor was a huge advantage. I was enjoying the process every day, and I didn’t see it as ‘work’. As an actor, there’s a joy you experience with emotional, intense sequences; maybe the hunger came to the fore."
Roshan also credits the director Ravikanth for giving his co-star Maanasa Choudhary (a debutante too) a role with an identity. “Generally, you keep hearing things like ‘heroines’ come with an attitude. She was anything but that. I was pleasantly surprised by her performance, even though she had little acting experience in the past. Ravikanth made sure she stayed true to the role with the dubbing too.”
The singing debut with Izzat happened by accident, he insists. “Ravikanth wondered why I shouldn't sing for the number and I was game for it. There’s nothing more to it.” If not for Bubblegum, the film could’ve been titled ‘Izzat’, he feels. While Bubblegum is sold as a love story, it’s more a tale of a youngster fighting for dignity and self-respect.
Another reason why the film remains close to Roshan’s heart is the collaborative effort of the team. “The film is not here to launch actors but because we want to tell a good story.” He has already gotten good feedback from his parents. “Though I wasn’t with them during the screening, mum told me that ‘nanna’ was teary-eyed. It was special because he’s not an easy man to please.”
When asked if Bubblegum is an ideal commerce-friendly start to his career, he said, “Commercial or not, the USP of the film is its story.” He is all praise for Sricharan Pakala’s music and Suresh Ragutu’s cinematography for lending the film a peppy, trendy vibe. Though a few acting offers have come his way, he plans to take a call only after the film’s release. “It’s all about Bubblegum now,” he signs off.