'We were in a remote village where there was no phone or internet. So, for 40 days, it was nothing but getting up in the morning, going to work, having fun and coming back to sleep.'
Sumanth Ashwin gets candid about his next release, Right Right!
Producer M S Raju's son, Sumanth Ashwin, made his acting debut in 2012 with the Telugu film Tuneega Tuneega. He followed it up with interesting projects like Anthaka Mundu Aa Tharuvatha, Kerintha and Columbus.
Now, the talented actor is ready with Right Right, the Telugu remake of the Malayalam film, Ordinary, which is set to release on June 10.
In this conversation with Rediff.com contributor Radhika Rajamani, Ashwin delves into the details of the film and reveals why the first day of shoot was difficult.
Why did you want to remake the Malayalam film, Ordinary?
Actually, I saw Ordinary a couple of years ago. The remake did not happen then. I saw Ordinary again a year ago and thought the film would be apt for the Telugu audience.
I wanted to play a character people would identify with. A conductor is a character a common man can connect to. Also, the film’s setting is in a remote village; the atmosphere and the location too excited me.
There is a thriller element in the film; the last 40 minutes are really good.
Has Right Right been adapted for the Telugu audience?
The first half of the film has been tweaked and comic elements have been added. Some scenes have been added, while some were deleted.
There was no scope for changes in the second half. The length of the Telugu version is shorter by 20 minutes as compared to the original.
You mentioned that comedy has been added. Is this comedy a separate track or part of the film?
This is a natural film and the comedy goes with the story. The audience won’t miss the commercial elements.
How did you prepare yourself to play the bus conductor?
I did not watch too many movies or take too many references. My director asked me to watch an old Mohanlal film to see how he portrays the role in a simple and natural way.
People have to believe I am the bus conductor. So I travelled by bus and observed how conductors behave.
The first day of shoot was difficult as it was pretty intense. Prabhakar (who plays the driver) and my character are friends. It took us a few days to connect and get into the mood.
For the first 10 days, I wore the conductor’s uniform all the time so that I felt like a conductor.
We were in a remote village where there was no phone or internet. So, for 40 days, it was nothing but getting up in the morning, going to work, having fun and coming back to sleep.
The travel to the shoot location took about an hour and a half.
Was it tough shooting the film?
It was difficult. We shot it at Araku where the roads were narrow and bumpy. It was difficult for the cinematographer to position the camera.
But the bus was filled with actors and comedians, so it was fun to shoot on the go!
You are paired with Pooja Jhaveri for the first time. Is there a scope for a romantic angle in the film?
Yes, in the first half. Pooja is a choreographer in Hindi films. She plays a village girl who has a home-stay where foreigners come and stay.
When the director wanted Prabhakar and me to do some dance steps in one of the songs, Pooja composed the movements there and then for us as there was no choreographer.
How was it acting with Prabhakar who plays the driver?
Prabhakar is known for his villainous, macho roles. However, in Right Right, he plays a positive and different avatar.
His character is fresh, like the one Srihari played in Nuvvuvastannante Nenuoddantana.
What do you look for in a film before you sign it?
When the director narrates the story, there has to a part where I feel a jolt, there has to be a wow factor. I look for it. If that excites me, then I sign the film.
You have done half a dozen films so far. How has the journey been?
It has been quick. When I look back, it has been pretty good. Every film, every character was a different experience.
For Anthaka Mundu Aa Tharuvatha, there was lot of homework and preparation; then, when we began the film, it was fun. As an actor, I felt satisfied.
Doing Lovers was fun. With Kerintha, I got to work with Dil Raju and others.
What are your expectations from Right Right?
I am excited about the second half, the interval sequence and playing the conductor. I am waiting for June 10. The film is a thriller and has suspense like Drishyam.
I am waiting for the audience's reaction.