The actor’s latest, Dooradarshana, a period film about the changes a television brings about in a village, is currently in theatres.
Last Updated: 01.28 PM, Mar 06, 2023
Pruthvi Ambaar has a fairly large number of films in his kitty, which are in various stages of production. The good reception of his debut Kannada film Dia on OTT is the reason for this interest in him, but the actor is not taking this lightly and nor is he randomly signing every film that comes his way. There is a method to it, he says. He’s trying to experiment with scripts and roles as far as possible, some of which, he knows, may click and others may not. But he wants to at least try and not get typecast in cute lover boy roles. In the process, he’s also hopeful that he achieves some level of commercial success, which, in turn, will boost his marketability as an actor.
We had caught up with Pruthvi prior to the release of his film Dooradarshana, which is currently in theatres, during which he spoke about his vision for himself, not being hung up about playing the lead in every film, and how he believes that the Marathi remake of Dia will give him a good break in that industry. Excerpts from the conversation…
KS Ashoka’s Dia was your claim to fame, but all that love from audiences came after the film found success on OTT. Tell us a little about how life changed after the film came out…
The biggest change in my career as an actor is that after Dia, filmmakers are looking at me when it comes to casting for performance-oriented roles. There are a bunch of good films coming my way, but what I am eagerly looking forward to is for one that will work in theatres. Even though Dia is much talked about today, it did not click at the box office. It became popular on Amazon Prime Video because it dropped a day before the first lockdown was announced.
It is only after I find success at the box office, that there will be a level of certainty to my career. Until then, I feel like I am in a bubble that can burst at any time. This also means that even though I have a bunch of films at hand, I am still constantly plagued by worry of how I will take my career forward. I do think that a commercial success is the need of the hour. The hope is that it will happen soon, as I have some exciting projects in hand in Kannada, as well as my Tamil and Marathi debuts. In fact, in Marathi, I have done the Dia remake, which will come out in May. It has turned out well and I am hopeful that it will give me a good opening in that industry.
Could you elaborate on this need for box office success?
It is the only way to ensure that I have a long run in the film industry. I can keep doing random films, but the marketability of an actor plays an important role here. If you look at my career graph right now, some of my films are experimental and others are more indie in approach. And now, they are struggling to get into theatres because distributors and exhibitors see if the leading man has a market. As long as that remains a stumbling block for me, I may not be able to do more number, or the kind of films that I want to explore as an actor. Even if I have just one commercial success, it will give me the freedom to do films and roles that challenge me as an actor.
But does that really hold true? If you look at the track record of some other mainstream Kannada heroes, there are some who have tried experimenting after achieving box office success, and had a string of flops, forcing them to return to doing routine commercial fare.
As an actor, I would love to only do films that offer me meaty roles with a difference, but then, this is my bread-and-butter and I have responsibilities and commitments that I have to meet. I think that if I am seen as a safe bet, or at least a minimum guarantee hero, I can do the kind of films I want to. If I am not doing something creative, then I might as well do any other job. There is no point in being an actor, then.
How can one keep doing experimental cinema without the guarantee that people will come to theatres to watch it?
These days, it is very difficult to pin-point what will appeal to audiences. There have been quite a few smaller films that had brilliant narratives, but failed to draw crowds. That is disheartening, but I believe that we have to keep trying to make those films and hopefully, one day, it will strike a chord with audiences.
So, what is it that you look for in a script?
First and foremost, it should not be repetitive. It was not easy ensuring that I do not do another film/role like Dia. For instance, right now, I am working on a film called Matsyagandha, in which I am playing a police officer. It is a realistic narrative of the life of a cop, with some action too. The film I did immediately after Dia was Sugarless, in which I played a young man with diabetes. My recent one, Dooradarshana, is a period film set in the late 80s. I am trying to break the image that audiences have of me in their minds – Adi from Dia – by doing roles with a dark, negative shade as well. Otherwise, it will get monotonous. People maybe looking for Adi in every role I do, but at some point, they will realize that I have at least tried to do something different. Dia is the best film in my career so far; I would like to have another good one like that, but not one that follows the same template.
Dooradarshana, meanwhile, is your second solo film as protagonist since Dia. A film about a time when a television was a novelty; how relatable will it be for audiences today?
There is a section of people who will relate to the subject, but the idea is to show the younger lot that there was a time like this, when every household did not have a TV or a telephone. I play Manu, in whose household a television comes. The narrative follows what happens once the television goes missing.
What’s next then?
For Regn and Life is Beautiful are ready for release. Bhuvanam Gaganam is a travel film and Aba Jaba Daba a fantasy comedy; these two and Matsyagandha are all in different stages of production.