Venkatesh: I found Bol Bachchan very entertaining
After completing his 25 years in films, Venkatesh is now open to doing varied roles in multi-starrer films.
Venkatesh and Mahesh Babu starred in Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu which released during Sankranthi. Before that Venkatesh had done Eenadu with Kamal Haasan.
Now Venkatesh is ready with Masala (remake of Bol Bachan), yet another multi-starrer, with hero Ram, directed by Vijayabhaskar. It releases November 14.
In this exclusive interview, Venkatesh talks about acting in multi-starrer films and why he decided to remake Bol Bachchan in Telugu.
You did Eenadu (with Kamal Haasan), Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu (with Mahesh Babu) and now you are doing Masala (with Ram) and later a film with Ram Charan is scheduled to be directed by Krishnavamsi. What drives you to do such films?
When Seethamma Vakitlo… came I thought it was the right time and it was a good character of an elder brother and there was Mahesh Babu. It was a new feel for a film.
It (multi-star films) were there in Telugu before, but in our generation we missed out – Nag, Chiranjeevi, Balaiah and I. Even in the next generation it didn’t much happen as stardom came at an early stage for heroes and they were settled in their own genres and groove. They also did not take the initiative.
But with the Hindi industry doing them and some of the movies becoming blockbusters, storywriters started writing those kinds of films.
I felt if we play a character well, people will appreciate it even though it may not be a full-length role.
I have done lots of solo hero films, but we may not get solo hero scripts at regular intervals like before. I thought it was time to openly express my willingness to do films with all the heroes. So that’s how these movies came about.
Masala has turned out to be a good film. I consciously took Bol Bachchan as I knew it would be a good subject. I am hoping the films will run as it should not discourage anybody
Image: Venkatesh in Masala
'In a commercial hero film, the screenplay and style are predictable'
Do you think this way you also get a little more variety in your roles?
Totally. In a commercial hero film, the screenplay and style are predictable. When there is more than one actor, you tend to be clear about your character, it tends to be different and not in the regular format.
You play your character differently from the image you have been carrying over the years.
Also, there is no pressure of carrying a film on your shoulders…
Pressure is something each one thinks he has. No doubt the burden is shared in multi-star films. One must work with positive energy in these films. Telugu needs such films.
You started this new trend. Do you hope for more such films?
Yeah. I really hope so. The budget will increase, and scripts will also have more variety.
With the results being positive, directors and writers will think differently. It’s just the beginning.
Image: A scene from Masala
'I would have loved to do Ram's role in the film'
How do you think the fans will react?
It will take some time for hard-core fans, who are touchy and sensitive, to accept this trend. When they do not see what they expect from their heroes, they may feel a little upset.
Once the general public sees the film, the fans get a little calmer. But you can’t blame them. They love their hero so much that we have to understand their emotions and cleverly befriend them when we are doing these kinds of films.
Why did you choose to remake Bol Bachchan?
I found it very entertaining. Rohit Shetty had cleverly taken the old Golmaal and made a fantastic character out of Utpal Dutt’s character with Ajay Devgn’s role.
It was a solid two-hero film with clean entertainment and enjoyable action and a screenplay which never had a boring moment. He presented it in a colourful way to attract the family audience.
When I saw it, I told my brother to remake it, and he went ahead with that. It also gave me scope in a career spanning 25 years to play a character with a tough look. He (the character) is strict about people telling lies. At the same time he has a childish aspect. It’s an enjoyable character.
Ram has got a very challenging character.
Was Ram the first choice for the other hero’s role, and why?
We knew he had the energy and flexibility to carry out any role and he would be perfect.
It is a challenging role. It’s a new role for him. If he had done the regular kind of film, he would not have got this kind of a character.
In fact, given a chance I would have loved to do that role myself because it is such a nice, enjoyable character. If I had found somebody else for my role, I would have done this!
Image: Ram and Venkatesh in Masala
'Masala is a good, clean film'
The film is jointly produced by your brother Suresh Babu and Ram’s uncle ‘Sravanthi’ Ravi Kishore...
Yes, it is the Nuvvu Naaku Nachaav team with the director being Vijayabhaskar. The combination is very good.
Bhaskar had given me Nuvvu Naaku Nachaav and Malleswari earlier on.
Masala is a good, clean film so we thought Bhaskar will be the right person to direct it. The shoot went off very smoothly – in fact it was one of the fastest productions in recent times.
We managed to shoot in some good locations like Bengaluru, Panchgani, Pune, Hyderabad, while one song was shot in Bangkok and another in Japan.
You are working with Vijayabhaskar after close to a decade. The last time you worked together was for Malleswari in 2004...
Oh, has it been close to a decade since Malleswari? Really? Katrina (Katrina Kaif was his co-star in Malleswari) has been around for nine years?
Nothing has changed with Vijayabhaskar. He is the same simple man, friendly, energetic and warm. He is concerned only about his work and does not think about anything else.
He minds his own business. That is the one thing I have found about Bhaskar: from the beginning he is one of the few who minded his own business. He’s got that very good nature which is difficult to find.
Image: Venkatesh in Masala
'We have changed the climax of the film'
How has Bol Bachchan been adapted to suit Telugu sensibilities?
The climax is a bit different, my characterisation is a little more energetic and the dialogues by Anil are written very well.
We have not changed the basic essence of the film. Rohit has done a wonderful job with the original so we kept that in mind and made little improvements in music and a couple of scenes.
Working with Ram must have been a different experience as he is a young guy...
Yeah, he is much younger than I. Since we had the original in front of us, we knew what we had to do, what roles we had to play.
He has seen me at a young age since his uncle produced Nuvvu Naaku Nachaav. He knew my working style. I have seen his earlier films. He has got his own style, mannerisms and high energy.
I am glad he did the film because it will do him a lot of good. Once the film is out, I know he will be appreciated.
Image: Venkatesh and Ram in Masala
'Rohit Shetty came on the sets once'
Anjali has been paired with you again after Seethamma Vakitlo. How is her role defined and how is it acting with her?
It is a nice, simple role and of course not as powerful as in Seethamma Vakitlo. We thought after Seethamma Vakitlo it will be nice to have her in this film.
In the song shot in Hokkaido island in Japan, she looks good and the song has come out well. It was the season when you get the most beautiful flowers in Japan. Nobody has gone to this location before and so it is one of the highlights of the film.
Why is the movie titled Masala?
We felt that the film has nice commercial elements with a lot of masala.
The film has clean, healthy masala. It’s a family entertainer with a lot of fun.
Has Rohit Shetty watched Masala?
No. He came to the sets once and saw the shoot.
Your next project is Krishnavamsi’s film?
I have three projects lined up. I will be doing a film with Maruthi produced by Danayya. Then I will be doing Krishnavamsi’s film and there is a home production too which Suresh will be making.
Image: Ram and Venkatesh in Masala