'Raja Vikramarka' will be released in theatres on November 12. In this interview, actor Kartikeya Gummakonda talks about the movie, how it all began, why it is special, doing Kollywood superstar Ajith's 'Valimai' (Tamil), his wedding plans, and more.
In 'Raja Vikramarka', I have played a comic timing-driven character for the first time. The look is also classy. In Nani's 'Gang Leader', I was stylish, but this one is even more classy. This is also a new genre for me.
The film takes you into a different cinematic world for 150 minutes. There is no deviation from the story. It's engaging throughout, and keeps you excited about what might come next. There are no forced songs/comedy tracks. The comedy is situational and emerges from the script.
We have seen only a certain kind of cop movies in Telugu. 'Raja Vikramarka', in contrast, is an action-comedy with a difference. Director Sri Saripalli has made a genuine attempt. The director has been associated with independent movies. He is also a trained filmmaker. Every filmmaker is different in terms of how they narrate a story.
Prashanth R Vihari's music is trendy and that's why my director picked him for the job. The cinematographer and the editor are debutants. Our director must be commended for bringing out the best with newcomers.
'Raja Vikramarka' is not a regular NIA film. The preparation involved having wide-ranging discussions amongst ourselves. Gun handling and all needed little research so that I look professional on-screen. The dialogues are measured and never go overboard. Every line, humour is organic to the situations in the story.
Doing 'Valimai' was a great experience. I was a bit nervous on the first day of my schedule with Ajith sir. But soon, he made me feel comfortable. From junior artists to others, everyone is made to feel comfortable in his presence. He doesn't show starry airs. I didn't know Tamil much before 'Valimai'. After I was roped in for the movie, I worked on the language.
The director of 'Raja Vikramarka' asked me to be me. I didn't put extra effort to look comical. I was natural.
As an audience, I watch all kinds of genres. The tastes of the audience are changing. Recently, I loved 'Doctor' (Tamil) a lot. The trends are changing fast. As an actor, I have to choose a variety of movies.
Some movies have not worked for me despite my best efforts. I don't attribute the failures to bad luck or something. I don't get carried away even when my movies click. I listen to criticism and improve myself. Script selection has to be genuine. It shouldn't be based on material calculations. 'Chaavu Kaburu Challaga' taught me some lessons.
I am doing a film under UV Creations. A movie with Sridevi Movies and another movie with a new director are also on. 'Valimai' in Tamil is releasing for Pongal. That's what I have been told. The final call will be taken by producer Boney Kapoor and others. As for dubbing for the movie, the director is yet to take the final call. I myself am not inclined to dub for myself, the mother tongue influence is there. I have done never-tried-before stunts in 'Valimai'. There are many risky shots done by Ajith sir. It's a grand movie. It's not easy to compete with an expert like Ajith sir. He suffered a minor accident while riding a bike on set. I was scared.
When someone gives me a compliment, the urge to live up to the compliment increases. For example, people say I am physically fit. I bagged 'RX 100' only because of my physique. The same goes with both 'Valimai' and 'Gang Leader'. They didn't choose me because they believed I can act. They were surprised that I could deliver a strong performance after working with me. My physique has been a great advantage. I don't want to reveal whether I would be showing off my body in 'Raja Vikramarka'.
I proposed to my fiancee Lohitha at the pre-release event of 'Raja Vikramarka'. I had planned it only the previous day. Since my wedding is going to be held on November 21, I wanted to use it as the last opportunity to propose to her in public. She didn't expect it. She was surprised pleasantly. It will be a life-long memory for us.
I and Lohitha had a quarrel during the making of 'RX 100'. She hasn't watched the movie to date. If ever she watches it, I would ask her to watch it from the second half (laughs).