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'I could relate to Back Bench Student'

Last updated on: March 14, 2013 10:02 IST

'I could relate to Back Bench Student'

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Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

After his success in the Tamil film Mankatha directed by Venkat Prabhu, which happened to be Ajith's 50th film, Mahat Raghavendra was flooded with film offers. Yet he chose Back Bench Student, a Telugu film directed by Madhura Sreedhar Reddy, as his next film. 

Mahat chats about his Telugu debut film in this exclusive conversation.

How did you come to sign Back Bench Student

I really never expected to do a Telugu film though I am a Telugu, born and brought up in Chennai. An associate director suggested my name to Sreedhar Sir as he wanted a young actor. 

He normally doesn't narrate the script, but when I came to Hyderabad, he narrated it. I must have heard about 200 scripts before this one, but when I heard Back Bench Student, I said, I'm doing this film.


Image: Mahat Raghavendra in Back Bench Student

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'I was naughty in school and college and on the sets too'

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What appealed to you about the film? 

The role was right for me. I could relate to it. Any student can relate to it. The screenplay sounded interesting. It was quite different from other films. 

Did you draw on your life as a student for this role? 

I was naughty in school and college and on the sets too. I enjoyed doing it. The student has 16 backlogs and is yet successful. The film sends out a good message.

Were you comfortable doing your first Telugu film?

I felt more than comfortable. I am not an experienced actor. I'm just one film old. Before I began the film, I travelled with Sridhar Sir for a month and a half. I wanted to be comfortable. He encouraged me. Sreedhar Sir is very friendly and like a brother to me.

Did you dub the dialogues yourself?

Yes, I did.


Image: A scene from Back Bench Student

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'I called Simbu and said, I want you to sing, and he agreed, even though it was in Telugu'

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How was it acting with the heroines Piaa Bajpai and Archana Kavi?

Both are experienced actors. Archana is a state award winner. They did a great job and were very supportive. Being with the whole team was fun.

Did Simbu (Silambarasan) sing in the film because of your friendship with him?

Yes. I called Simbu and said, I want you to sing, and he agreed, even though it was in Telugu.

How did you find working with Madhura Sreedhar Reddy?

I didn't feel uncomfortable. I was happy. I would give suggestions and he would take them. I could give him ideas as a friend and he would agree to them if he felt it was right. There was improvisation on the sets.


Image: Mahat Raghavendra in Back Bench Student

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'Simbu has been my friend from childhood since our families are friends'

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How would you describe the experience of doing your first Telugu film? 

It was amazing. Although it was tiring, I enjoyed it. 

What drew you to films?

I love films. Simbu has been my friend from childhood since our families are friends. I loved what Simbu did. Acting attracted me a lot. I used to watch films being made. Simbu used to tell me to be chilled out, work hard and be natural. 

When I was shooting for Mankatha, I asked director Venkat Prabhu if I should go for acting classes. He advised me not to. He said I should just be myself.

Would you want do more Telugu films?

If it's really good, I'll do it. I prefer bi-linguals as I want producers to make big profits.


Image: A scene from Back Bench Student

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'I watch a lot of films, love dancing and singing and going for long drives'

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Your debut film Mankatha attracted attention and your role won you the Edison Award...

I had the same name Mahat in Mankatha. So I went into people's hearts because of that.

What are your future projects? 

I'm doing a tri-lingual, Jilla, directed by Nesan with Mohanlal and Vijay. I play the younger brother of Vijay and both of us are rowdies in the film. 

There's another bi-lingual produced by Cloud 9 Movies being helmed by director Bala's associate.

What is your favourite pastime?

I watch a lot of films, love dancing and singing and going for long drives.


Image: A scene from Back Bench Student

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