Multi-lingual actor Ashish Vidyarthi is known for popular Telugu titles such as 'Pokiri' and 'Gudumba Shankar'. A recipient of the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for 'Drohkaal' (Hindi), the actor has also acted in Tollywood movies such as 'Athanokkade', 'Narasimhudu', 'Lakshyam', 'Athidhi', 'Tulasi', 'Varudu' and 'Adhurs'.
Very soon, he will be seen as Suhas' father in 'Writer Padmabhushan'. In this interview, Vidyarthi talks about working on the February 3rd release. He also says that he is not just an actor but also a traveller, motivational speaker, vlogger, and much more.
I love to travel, meet people and communicate. I really wanted to do things that excited me. I became choosy. I declined big-ticket film offers that didn't have me in insignificant roles. When you say too many No's, you stop getting work. I had to explore some other way to make a living. Nine years ago, I got into motivational lectures. I travel all over the world delivering motivational lectures. I then wanted to tell stories. If you look at my social media profiles, you would realize how fond I am of photography. I would post candid pics during travels.
About two years back, I wanted to talk to people about life, as people are unhappy and angry all the time. I myself am unhappy and angry at times. I found good things, good people, and good experiences with some effort and started talking about them. A lot of us ignore our own people - in our family. We yearn for luxurious hotels and rich food. What about street food that is closer to us?
Simplicity is something I have always celebrated. You don't need to be famous to be great. Those are the stories I started telling on LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. I also started Vlogs. My YouTube channel has got 1.2 million subscribers. I put out interviews. Some people think that social media is meant only for youngsters. It's not the case. Technology of any sort has been made so that people can use it creatively. I am staying relevant at the age of 57 because of social media. It's a powerful medium.
Coming to 'Writer Padmabhushan', it happened because so many people who were doing little things came together to make this feature film. Chai Bisket and team made it possible. They made me feel I should do it. It's a simple film with lots of humour and family emotions. I love people who have passion and vision. Chai Bisket guys have so much passion. They have a modern mindset.
I am playing the male lead's father in the film. He comes from a humble middle-class background and spends money cautiously. He is sorted about how he should treat others in his circle. There is a nice ending as well.
Actor Suhas is an innately natural and simple actor. I hope he retains this flavour as he climbs in his career. I see a similar quality in Nani's acting.
How do I make simplicity likeable on screen? You don't make an effort to make it endearing. You do something and people find it likeable. The same goes for negative roles. People have to find you dangerous. Sometimes, people come to me and say they find me scary! (laughs). In 'Writer Padmabhushan', I just behaved the character.
I have never dubbed for my characters down South. In Hindi, I am always told my voice is a big asset. But the fact is that language is not my strength. That's why I have not dubbed for myself in languages I don't have a flair for. A variety of roles have come my way here in Telugu and other South Indian languages despite my language handicap. I have done more films down South than I have in Hindi.
I have done Netflix's hit show 'Trial By Fire' (Hindi). Later this year, I will be seen in 'Rana Naidu', starring Venkatesh and Rana Daggubati; it will be streamed on Netflix.
Pawan Kalyan's 'Gudumba Shankar' is one of my favourite Telugu films. Typecasting is part of the deal for any actor. I search for variety and films like 'GS' came my way, gladly. I haven't done cardboard characters in my career. You have to seek a variety of roles. You have to ask for it. You have to make it clear that you love to do Telugu films. You have to keep pushing your limits.
We should never be shy of asking for work. Recently, Jr NTR said that he would love to work in a Marvel film. That's the spirit! You shouldn't limit yourself. I tell my casting directors, filmmakers, agencies that there is more to me. I ask them to get me central characters. My dream role is the next role I am going to play.