Allari Naresh will be seen as a cop in 'Ugram', which hits the cinemas on May 5. In this interview, the versatile actor says that director Vijay Kanakamedela motivated him to be subtle and understated.
He also counts on his director, Vijay Kanakamedala. "Krish Jagarlamudi believed in me and cast me in an unconventional role in 'Gamyam'. Vijay too falls in a similar category in terms of thinking that I could pull off serious roles in 'Naandhi' and 'Ugram'. I have done an angry role for the first time in my career," Naresh says.
Catch him talk about the film, his character in it, whether he wants to do comedies again, and more.
'Ugram' is about the journey of a young cop from his college days to his SI and CI days. It was challenging, obviously. The portions were shot in reverse. I had to bulk up for some portions. My character is inspired by a heroic cop who solved a number of missing persons cases. We adapted his real-life experiences into the screenplay. There are six action blocks in 'Ugram'. The producers at Shine Screens were confident that the output was shaping up extremely well right from the first schedule.
Mirnaa Menon's character travels with my character in all stages of life. There is a scene of hers in which I am not seen. It's my favourite scene wherein she emotes 6-7 emotions in a single take. Baby Uha Reddy has played my daughter. Kids are not conscious of the stature or image of stars. She is a 'bulli Savitri'.
The movie is going to elicit favourable responses about every single craft. Sricharan Pakala's RR and sounding will be talked about. You are going to talk about all major technicians. I am determined to deliver a hit. 'Naandhi' did well commercially despite Covid-related restrictions with respect to occupancy, etc. Two years later, we are seeking the audience's verdict with greater vigour and hope.
I needed to come out of my comfort zone. 'Maharshi' changed everything. It was a serious character that the audience liked. The film gave me the strength to do serious roles. 'Naandhi' followed. After those two films, writers stopped typecasting me.
Comedy is a hard thing. An actor who can pull off comedy can do anything. Take the example of Brahmanandam garu in 'Ranga Maarthanda' and Soori in 'Vidudhalai' (Tamil).
Director Vijay is totally cool. He has not stressed out ahead of the release. He knows his craft. He is not self-centric. He knows how to extract work from others. He is a perfectionist who avoids unplanned scenes/shots.
Vishwak Sen, Adivi Sesh, Nikhil Siddhartha and Sundeep Kishan have done a promotional video for 'Ugram'. It came as a surprise. I didn't know about it until it was released!
When was the last time you watched a comedy film? In the OTT era, darker films have become the norm. There are a few good directors like Sreenu Vaitla who are making entertainers. I am up for a comedy film if something exciting comes my way.
When I am doing a serious role, I have to be believable. I have to be natural even in a commercial outing. No genre is safe in and by itself. If I am playing a cop and am bashing up goondas, I must be able to sell the character. I believe in natural acting. I don't like put-up acts.
When you do a comedy entertainer, you are complimented for getting the comedy right. When you do a serious film and score a hit, people compliment your ACTING. Unfortunately, comedic performances are looked down upon.
'Sudigaadu' happened when spoofs were rare. Nowadays, spoofs are being made every day (by YouTubers, etc). People have also become sensitive. I can't do a 'Kithakithalu' today; I would be accused of promoting body shaming. People are expecting clean comedy these days.
There was a time when writers of comedy movies made by my father used to work together on a project without seeking fame. They never vied for the limelight. Nowadays, writers expect to hog the limelight. Any day, comedies are tough to be written. You need a certain literary or some other inspiration. Moreover, commercial movies are posting much better box-office numbers than comedies. That's why the genre has been neglected in recent years. There is a void that needs to be filled. If you want to do a comedy, this is the right to do so. Comedies age well. A good comedy never bores you. You will always want to catch up on a boring day and laugh out loud!
There have been good and bad Fridays in my career. There was a time when I didn't know how to handle success and failure. After 60 years and so many ups and downs, I am evolved in my thinking. I have got to work with legends like K Viswanath garu and Bapu garu. What more can I ask for?
I and my brother Aryan Rajesh are more like friends. We have got common friends. Although he wants to make a comeback, he wants to do something striking. He is waiting for the right offer to come his way. He has been listening to scripts.
I have okayed three stories. But then, the pace of projects has slowed down these days. Completion of projects at a fast clip is passe. They want to go slow and ensure the best quality.
If I find a script that matches my father's image, I am ready to bankroll a comedy entertainer. I might also wield a megaphone for a project once I am confident.
Sequels can be exciting. But there has to be scope for a sequel. 'Sudigaadu 2' has always been mooted. But since I have changed gears (in terms of doing serious roles), I don't think I am immediately up for it. 'Kithakithalu 2' is another exciting idea. My father, during his last days, wanted to do a new version of 'Alibaba Aradozen Dongalu' with me. 'Blade Babjee' is another film that has the potential for a sequel.
When I was doing parodies/spoofs, I used to dislike myself. Imitation is not acting. I have to be genuine and original. Doing spoofs is like doing mimicry. Nothing else is there to it.
My next is with a director named Malli. Faria Abdullah is its heroine. Subbu of 'Solo Brathuke Solo Better' is going to make a film with me. There is another film whose story was bought by me years ago. I am yet to finalize a director for it.