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The Rediff Interview / T Gopichand
'I don't think I am a star'
October 18, 2006
Despite being the son of late director T Krishna, T Gopichand did not have a bright beginning in the film industry. His first film Toli Valapu flopped, and he had to wait a while before getting on to his next project. His villainous roles in Jayam, Nijam and Varsham were appreciated though, and better days and films were in the offing.
With hits like Yagnam, Andhrudu and Ranam (where he played the hero), he reached out to a large audience. Gopichand is now back with Raaraju, a film directed by Udaya Shankar. He spent a few minutes on a Sunday afternoon at his home, discussing his film and career with Radhika Rajamani. Excerpts:
Is Raaraju different from your action films like Yagnam, Andhrudu and Ranam?
Although there is an element of action, the love angle and emotions are strong in Raaraju. In that sense, it is different. That made me sign the role, as I want to do different characters.
What is your role like?
I play a mike supplier. Kali, as the hero is called, is a character who helps everyone and is respected by everyone. He meets the heroine (played by Meera Jasmine) and the love story begins. The first half of the film is entertaining as it is filled with comedy enacted by Venu Madhav and M S Narayana. The second half is sentimental.
Are Meera and Ankitha your co-stars?
Meera is the heroine. What can I say about her -- she is a National Award-winning actress. She is apt for the character and has acted well. Ankitha is the police officer who adds an element of glamour to the film.
What is working with Uday Shankar like?
He is a soft, cool and pleasant man. Working with him was no stress at all.
Yagnam, Andhrudu and Ranam were hits. Do you think the wave of success will continue with Raaraju?
I got a mass audience to watch Ranam. So, with Raaraju, I think the family audience will come. I hope the film does well. I will certainly feel happy if it is successful. People accepted me as a negative character in Yagnam, and later as a hero. They have received me in different roles and I hope they will continue to do so.
Is nervousness setting in as the date of release draws close?
Yes, there is some tension.
You are now working with Yeleti Chandrasekhar (director of Aithe). Is the untitled film an off-beat one?
The treatment is commercial. I play the hero and (model) Neha Jhulka is the heroine. I can't divulge more.
Is Mahesh Manjrekar acting in this film?
Yes, he is. I haven't worked with him yet, but I will shortly. I am looking forward to acting with him. He is a good director and I have watched his films. He also acts well.
There is another project on the cards with Anushka Shetty as the heroine�
Yes, I will begin shooting for that when I am in the finishing stages of this film I am working on. There again, I play the lead.
You have proved yourself with villainous roles before becoming well-known as a hero�
When one plays the villain, there are no restrictions. One can do anything within the limited format. Of course, if it is a strong villain, it's good. When one is the hero, there is a lot more tension as one has to carry the film. But, as a hero, one gets to do everything � sing, dance, fight. There is more variety.
You come from a film family. Has the journey been easy, or a struggle?
Initially, it was a struggle. I had to play the villain before getting roles as a hero. The journey has not been easy. My first film was a flop. After that, I had to sit home for nine months before I was offered Jayam by Teja. Every film is a first film. Also, there is more competition these days.
What is your mantra?
Be cool, work hard, do your job perfectly and wholeheartedly.
How do you keep yourself grounded?
I don't think I am a hero or a star. I move around like a regular person. It's better to be down to earth and remember where we come from. A balanced behaviour is necessary.
How do you perform on the sets � more instinctively?
Acting has to come from within. It is how you react to things � like one does in real life. I listen to the entire story of the film � not just my role. If I have doubts, I prefer to clarify them at the script stage itself. I then run the scenes in my mind and perform on the sets as I see them. I leave it to the director to assess and guide me further if necessary.
Are there any particular kinds of roles you would like to play?
I would like to play powerful, negative roles like the one Al Pacino essayed in The Godfather, or the kind played by Robert De Niro. I have yet to get those kinds of roles.