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'Ashwini Nakshatra changed my life'

May 15, 2014 08:59 IST

'Ashwini Nakshatra changed my life'

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Srikanth Srinivasa/Rediff.com in Mumbai

Popular TV actor Jayaram Karthik, known as JK, makes his first big screen appearance in a lead role in Just Love.

The film releases on Friday, May 16, across Karnataka.

He has become a household name in Karnataka with the television  soap Ashwini Nakshatra.

He has played the antagonist in films such as Kempe Gowda and Varadanayaka, both co-starring Sudeep. He has acted in several other films in negative roles.

He was vice captain of the Karnataka Bulldozers team in four seasons of the Celebrity Cricket League tourney.

In this interview, Karthik talks about his film debut as a hero and the daily soap that catapulted him to instant stardom on television.

How did your first film as a hero Just Love happen?

I was not confident about playing the lead even when director Nagendra Urs approached me.

I had gained popularity because of Ashwini Nakshatra but I expected to be launched in films in a big way by a well-known director and banner.

When I heard the storyline of this film from the director, I liked it. I knew him as a friend and as an editor since 2009 and his movie Rocky did well.

He had also picturised a song in Vijay Raghavendra’s film Heart Beats quite well. He has the good taste to make a stylish film.

As nobody had ever approached me so far with an offer to play the lead, I thought of taking a chance.


Image: Jayaram Karthik


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'I kept on getting negative roles as I was not serious about doing films'

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What do you think works in a movie?

I concentrate a bit more on the songs and their picturisation and the fight sequences because these are essential ingredients to attract people to the theatres.

People need entertainment; they do not like long conversations in movies.

I never expected to be shooting the songs in Thailand. They have been picturised and captured well by the cameraman and I am happy with the way it has come out.

What is the film about?

The film has a thin storyline. It is all about love.

The story is not only about the relationship between the hero and heroine, but also explores the relationship between two friends, between a father and son and others.

Love is not the be-all and end-all; there is more to life.

People will like the climax as the film takes an unexpected twist.

How did this transformation to playing the lead role happen?

I kept on getting negative roles as I was not serious about doing films at that point of time. I have played negative roles in almost 10 films.

I did get offers for lead roles but I was very uncertain about taking them up, because I come from an academic background.

I am a structural engineer with a civil engineering degree. I was used to working in a corporate set-up where the accent is on process and a systematic approach is followed. I could not adjust to the functioning of the film industry and production units


Image: Neha and Jayaram Karthik

Tags: Thailand

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'I define luck as a meeting point between hard work and opportunity'

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How do you manage to work in a daily soap and movies?

I headed the civil engineering department in a gas plant construction company till December 2013.

But once I got this offer to play the lead, I quit the job because it became very difficult to do all of these things together.

While working in the serial I had to dole out bulk dates for this movie.

I immediately signed C/o Footpath 2 subsequently and Bangalore 560023, which made it impossible to get back to my job.

Now, I run a civil engineering consultancy firm. I provide structural inputs for a team of architects. I cannot leave this profession because I have studied engineering and worked for nine years. I love both professions.

Tell me about your association with Sudeep as you have come to be recognised as Sudeep’s man in the industry.

I have done two films with Sudeep and a small role in his Vishnuvardhana.

Sudeep is a good friend. I understand him, though initially I thought he had an attitude. He has helped me to make good decisions in respect of accepting film offers.

How did you react to the instant recognition that you got from the TV serial?

I felt very happy. I define luck as a meeting point between hard work and opportunity.

I patiently bore all the insults that I was subjected to. The serial came as a sudden opportunity out of nowhere.

I was in two minds whether to accept because people felt that it would spell doom for an actor to move into television from movies. There was a lot of confusion in my mind.

Ashwini Nakshatra gave me the big break. I found overnight success through this serial. People from all ages and all walks of life appreciated my work.

I became a superstar on television just like the character I played in the serial.


Image: Jayaram Karthik


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'If people want to see Just Love, it's because I am now a well-known face'

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Do you think you may be overexposed on television and that will not help get you film offers?

No. I don’t think so. Whatever you do should be done from your heart.

I just love to act, be it cinema, drama or television. You get the fruit wherever you give your best.

Overexposure on television has helped me. People have started recognising me because of the popularity of the serial.

If people want to see this movie it’s because I am now a well-known face.

What do you think clicked for you in the serial?

I worked hard to get my mannerisms right. I had to portray arrogance.

I also provided my own costumes. The production house paid for part of the costumes, but I spent three times that amount to see to it that I don’t repeat my costumes. That’s one of the reasons the serial looks so nice.

A superstar doesn’t repeat his costumes. I had to build that image for myself and the serial.

Director Jagadish deserves credit for projecting the serial cinematically. I couldn’t have done justice to the role if he wasn’t there.

He corrected my Kannada, my diction and delivery effectively. I worked hard on the dialogues.


Image: Jayaram Karthik

Tags: Kannada

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'I will continue to work in Ashwini Nakshatra as long as it is on air'

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Do you now want to work in films or continue in television?

I will continue to work in the serial as long as it is on air. But I will accept film offers.

I will not move out of the serial because it gives me happiness.

Negative roles in films helped me gain confidence and fame, but Ashwini Nakshatra changed the direction of my life.

What can audiences expect from Just Love?

My basic intention is to pull in both the masses and the classes.

The film should entertain people of all ages.  My co-star Neha has acted well although she doesn’t know the language.    


Image: Jayaram Karthik


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