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'I am a key player in the journey in Virodhi'

Last updated on: June 30, 2011 11:05 IST

'I am a key player in the journey in Virodhi'

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Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

Telugu actor Kamal Kamaraju has done meaningful yet entertaining films like Godavari, Avakkai Biryani and Kalavaramaye Madilo. The trained architect is also a painter who is constantly on the lookout for roles in which he can explore different facets of the character. He says he got one in Virodhi directed by Neelakantha, which is releasing this Friday.

He speaks to Radhika Rajamani about the film and the experience of playing a Naxal.

How did you land up in Virodhi?

The criterion I look for in a film is the freshness that will show me in a different light. When I heard that Neelakantha had written the script of Virodhi, I knew it would be superb as the director showcases films beautifully. My character interested me and I knew this is what I wanted to do. Initially there were apprehensions that I was too young for the role, but after the second or third meeting, I was okayed.

Have you seen Neelakantha's films? What do you like in him as a director?

I have seen his National Award winning film Show. I like people who are passionate about their work. Neelakantha has his own style. He gives a fresh new look to films. I like his way of looking at cinema.

Image: A scene from Virodhi

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'To play a Naxal and be politically disturbed was difficult'

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Neelakantha has said in an interview to rediff that the film is a socio-political thriller and a journey of several people. Are you one of those in that journey?

Of course, I am one of the key people in the journey. All of us are interlinked and travelling together.

How did you prepare for the role?

It all started with the fact that I looked too young and I I had this urban look in contrast to the person I was supposed to portray. So I had to get into a zone to play a Naxal and be politically disturbed, and that was difficult. The character was someone who had experienced and travelled much, so we had to get the look right.

I was adamant about getting my hair trimmed. Also I had to get some mass on my body, so I ate a lot of carbs like white rice. Mentally also, I had to get into the zone of being a Naxal. I looked at some videos on YouTube and read books at home on the subject. Looking at the videos, I realised one had to have sternness in the eyes and I was internalising all of this.

What was it like acting with Srikkanth who has a century of movies to his credit?

It didn't seem as though he had done 100 movies and it looked as if he was doing his first film. He was free with everyone and wants everyone to grow. Even though it was his brother who was producing the film, he was so part of us and exploring with us.


Image: A scene from Virodhi

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'I was excited to act with Ajay after four years'

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There are many others in the film like Ajay, Sivaji Raja, etc in the film. How was the bonding on the sets?

I was looking forward to acting with Ajay. After working together in Chhatrapati, we are close pals and we are in touch. When I heard that Ajay was in the film, I immediately called him. I was excited to act with him after four years. We gelled well.

Virodhi is a serious film and Sivaji Raja provided the comic relief. Sri Ramya is a good actress. With Kiran Varanasi, who is a lyric writer, I used to exchange views about politics, cinema etc.

You shot in hilly and mine terrains in one schedule. How challenging was that? 

I wasn't able to visualise it when I read the script. When I landed in Gangavati, I was shocked to see the hilly terrain. I wondered how they would shoot because it would take a lot of time to get one crane up and there was a lot of assembling too. Credit should be given to the crew, especially the director of photography and his crew, for everything.

It was nostalgic to go to Bellary in the latter part of the shoot. My dad used to work in Dunimalai and I used to go there as a kid.

 


Image: A scene from Virodhi

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'I play a negative role in Aayiram Vilakku'

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What was the overall experience of working in the film?

Anil Meka, the producer, made sure we were comfortable. He planned everything well and we shot within 45 days. There was not a day of extra shooting. He provided everything. If the producer gives everything, the director can fulfil his dreams.

Neelakantha is particular about every shot. He is meticulous about his planning. He never shot extra. He shared a bond with the director of photography and the actors and gave us the freedom to explore and made us confident.

What are your future projects?

I have a Tamil film Aayiram Vilakku directed by Hosimin (along with Sathyaraj, Santanu Bharadwaj, Sana Khan, Suman). I play a negative role.  I may be starting a Telugu film shortly, the details of which cannot be revealed now.


Image: A scene from Virodhi

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