He talks about Ugram, his director Vijay Kanakamedala, completing 60 films as an actor and his plans to direct, produce in the future
Allari Naresh, whose Naandhi turned out to be a surprise success at the box office in 2021, is back with the film’s director Vijay Kanakamedala for an action thriller Ugram, which releases in theatres tomorrow. Ahead of Ugram, the actor spoke of his script choices, staying away from comedy and what could a viewer expect from the film.
The confidence with Ugram
I’m very confident about the film and each of the crafts contributed to the result. Sri Charan Pakala worked extensively on the sound while art director Brahma Kadali, editor Siddharth, writer Abburi Ravi did their part to perfection. I’m aware that expectations from Ugram are high and we’ve put 10-times the effort that went into Naandhi.
Drifting away from comedy
Having tried my hand at comedy for over 20 years, it’s natural for audiences to be surprised about my recent roles. However, it’s important to come out of my comfort zone and Maharshi’s result gave me a lot of confidence. Ever since, I’ve been braver with my script choices. I’m sure writers will come up with a wider range of scripts for me after Ugram too.
Getting comedy right is difficult. Those who get the knack of it can perform any role - Soori in Viduthalai, Brahmanandam in Rangamarthanda are the best examples and audiences have received their transformation so well. Vijay discussed my limitations before my strengths when he pitched this script. He felt I subconsciously bend down to talk to characters in films and made sure I got my body language right for Ugram. The film was physically, mentally taxing.
The need to trust a director, why Vijay Kanakamedala is special
When you trust a director, you get great results - it was the case with Gamyam, Shambho Siva Shambho and Vijay deserves full credit for my image makeover. There’ll be three variations in my role in Ugram and the story unfolds over a five year span - from a lover boy to a family man to someone who’s out for revenge. I’m happy audiences have reacted to the promos positively.
Vijay is confident of his work and believes in his team, doesn’t leave anything for the last minute on the editing table. He knows what he wants and gets it done. He picked Mirnaa as the heroine, she performed her audition well, conveying anger, sadness and shedding tears. She’ll play a crucial role in my character’s journey. I call my on-screen daughter - Baby Savitri, she has done a fine job too.
In a nutshell, what is Ugram about?
Ugram revolves around how a few people go missing mysteriously and they resort to cops for help. However, if a cop faces the same problem, where will he go to? The film is a fine mix of suspense, action, thrills and is backed by a strong concept. The screenplay is very interesting, It’s an edge-of-the-seat action thriller.
On completing 60 films as an actor
Doing 60 films is no joke and I’m happy to have come so far. There’ll be many highs and lows in this career but I couldn’t have lasted long without the love of audiences. I got to work with many legends - including Bapu, K Viswanath, Vamsee, Krishna Vamsi - and I consider myself lucky. I hope I haven’t tinkered with my father’s legacy. I’ve stayed away from controversies, haven’t badmouthed anyone and simply mind my business.
What’s next on the cards?
I hope to produce films under EVV Cinema soon but I want it to be on the lines of my father’s films. I am waiting for a good script; once I find such an idea, I’ll produce it myself. Direction is on my mind too but it’ll take a while to materialise. I want to work on Sudigadu 2 if possible; Anil Ravipudi worked on the script then and asked me recently if I would be interested in a sequel.
I and Vijay will be back for another film next year and we have finalised the look for it already but it’s definitely not Ugram 2. I am working on a comedy film next with Faria Abdullah, another project with director Subbu. I have acquired the rights of a script called Jenda; we’re yet to finalise the director.