The Mathu Vadalara actor has high hopes on this week’s release Ustaad, a coming-of-age tale directed by debutant Phanideep
Last Updated: 01.49 PM, Aug 11, 2023
Ustaad is Sri Simha Koduri’s third release in almost a year. Having acted in the survival thriller Dongalunnaru Jagratha in 2022 and the crime comedy Bhaag Saale this July, he stars in a coming-of-age tale Ustaad, directed by Phanideep. Kavya Kalyanram plays his romantic interest in the film that hits screens worldwide tomorrow. Ahead of its release, the actor spoke to the media.
The inception of Ustaad
I okayed Ustaad right after Mathu Vadalara. The shoot was delayed due to various reasons. It’s only coincidental that all my films are releasing at once. I liked how director Phanideep wrote his characters in Ustaad. I play Surya in what’s purely a character-driven film high on emotions; it left me satisfied as an actor.
The story behind the title
Ustaad is an Urdu term we use to convey a ‘boss’ or someone who’s an expert at his area of work. A bike helps the protagonist control his emotions in this film and it changes the direction of his life; hence Surya names it Ustaad. My character is arrogant and aimless, but the bike brings stability to his life.
The various dimensions to Surya in Ustaad
There are three dimensions to Surya’s role in Ustaad - he’s a college student first, loses track of his life later and turns a pilot - I got to portray different avatars in the film. I lost weight to get the college look right and grew my hair, beard for the next stage of Surya’s life.
It was challenging to portray a role with many variations. Besides the physique, I had to alter my body language too. I’m learning with every film - both with acting and other nuances of filmmaking. I want to experiment and try as many new stories as possible that has different variations.
Other highlights of the film
Audiences will truly take a liking to Gautham Menon’s role; he plays a crucial part of a captain who looks down upon his juniors. He brought a new dimension to the role and the bonus - our director Phanideep is a huge fan of his. Phani is a sorted, level-headed director - he has a plan A and plan B for every situation. Kavya Kalyanram came on board much before Masooda released. She plays a confused girl who’s not sure about what she wants from life.
Inputs from family
SS Karthikeya (Rajamouli’s son) and my brother Kaala Bhairava help me with my script selection. SS Rajamouli gives his inputs after he watches my films and all of them in the house - including dad (MM Keeravani), mom and others. I am yet to sign new projects and will take a call about them after Ustaad’s release.