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'I want to play a real hero on screen'

Last updated on: May 25, 2012 10:18 IST

'I want to play a real hero on screen'

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Srikanth Srinivasa in Bangalore

Kannada actor Ajay Rao, who made his debut with Prem's directorial hit film Excuse Me in 2003, had to wait for more than four years for his cinematic career to take a decisive turn.

Director R Chandru gave Ajay Rao the deserved breakthrough with the successfulTaj Mahal that had Pooja Gandhi in the lead.

Ajay Rao tasted great success with the Krishna stories – Krishnan Love Story (opposite Radhika Pandit) and Krishnan Marriage Story (opposite Nidhi Subbaiah).

In his latest release Breaking News, directed by Nagathihalli Chandrashekar, he is again cast opposite Radhika Pandit.

The film opened in theatres last Friday.

In this interview with Srikanth Srinivasa, Ajay Rao talks about Breaking News and his career generally.

What do you think Breaking News conveys to audiences?

As the title suggests, it is about the constant struggle among television channels to disseminate the latest information in the form of 'Breaking News'.Thefilm talks about satisfying people's hunger to know what is happening around them.

With the proliferation of television news channels, intensifying competition and rising population, the film tries to show how news has been commercialised and become a commodity. The reporter in the film is under a lot of pressure to break the news first through his channel.


Image: A scene from Breaking News


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'The film no intention of hurting any section of the media'

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Do you think the film has succeeded?

It is a neat entertainer. This is a light-hearted, sarcastic comical film.

It has no intention of hurting any section of the media. It is neither an incident-based film nor is it based on any inspiration. It is purely situation based.

From the audience's point of view, this film is a hilarious view of current affairs, scams and controversies that people see on various news channels.

The film is not meant to be a mockery nor does it feature any real-life character. So, yes, we have succeeded.

How did you prepare to play a journalist's role?

I did a bit of research on the Internet about journalism and I have also been observing the behaviour of journalists with whom I have been interacting regularly.

I have been studying the mannerisms, body language and the dress sense of journalists. I have also studied how they handle assignments.

Basically, the film is about one journalist and what happens in his life, his dreams and struggles. It is not meant to generalise about the profession.

Today, the camera is mightier than the pen; it is a very powerful weapon. People are unaware of where the camera is placed. There are sting operations and anti-corruption campaigns that have become popular with the television-viewing public.


Image: A scene from Breaking News

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'I am not worried about who is going to be my heroine'

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What was it like working with Radhika Pandit who was your co-star in Krishnan Love Story?

Frankly speaking, I am not worried about who is going to be my heroine. It is my character and my director that are more important.

Working with Radhika came as a bonus as she knows the language and also because we share the same level of intensity when the camera is switched on.

What went wrong in your career between Excuse Me and Taj Mahal, when you were part of some really bad movies?

I switched to playing character roles and supporting roles before Taj Mahal gave me that break again as the hero.

Circumstances forced me to accept offers that I got after Excuse Me. I cannot term these movies as bad movies because every film-maker wants his film to succeed. Nobody wants to make a flop. Success and failure just happens.

What is sad is that the producer incurs losses. I have no regrets about doing such movies because once I am committed to a project I have to fulfil it.


Image: A scene from Breaking News


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'I cannot change the director's vision'

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You kicked up a controversy when you predicted that Prem Kahaani would be a flop. Why did you accept the offer if you knew that the film would fail?

While working on the film, I had declared that the film would flop. But as an artiste I had to honour my commitment and complete the film.

When I heard the story, I was never told the climax. I am not saying director Chandru made a bad film. He gave me a fresh lease of life with Taj Mahal so I made a comeback.

In the case of Prem Kahaani he felt that the film would click but I felt otherwise. I just said what was there in my mind then.

The director is always right and it is his film. I hold no grudge against him.

I am right on my part and everybody else was right on their part. I cannot change the director's vision and that's where my commitment ended.

How did Krishnan Love Story click even though it's a tragedy?

It is a director's viewpoint. Poetically it is not a suicide, but story-wise it is a suicide.

It is the director's confidence and conviction. I had this fear especially after doing Prem Kahaani. I constantly discussed the climax with director Shashank. But, it was his call and his film.


Image: A scene from Breaking News


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'I don't want to end up playing a helpless hero'

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Didn't you feel that Krishnan Marriage Story could have fared better although it was not considered a flop?

Every film-maker wants his film to run like Mungaru Male.

I am happy about how the film ended. We didn't want to end it as a tragedy. We wanted to show that she can die any day because she is surviving because of the love she gets from her family.

Which films are you currently doing?

I am currently doing Advaita, where I play a script writer. Krishna s/o CM is another heroic and action-packed film. I play a struggling slum dweller in Jai Bajrangbali.

I want to take a break from playing downright simple and helpless characters. I want to do heroic roles and play a real hero on screen.

I don't want to end up playing a helpless hero because audiences fail to connect with such characters.


Image: A scene from Breaking News


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