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Meet the actor who plays Veerappan in Attahasa

Last updated on: March 8, 2013 11:48 IST

Meet the actor who plays Veerappan

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Srikanth Srinivasa in Bangalore
Kishore had two simultaneous releases, Haridas in Tamil and Attahasa in Kannada.

While he played an encounter specialist who takes care of his autistic son single-handed in Haridas, he played sandalwood smuggler Veerappan in Attahasa.

Kishore worked as a lecturer at a college in Bangalore before the arclights beckoned.  His first acting role was in Kanti where he was also supposed to design the costumes.

He won an award for the best supporting actor from the government of Karnataka for his performance in Rakshasa which had Shivarajkumar in the lead.

He met director A M R Ramesh, who had made Cyanide, at an awards function and was offered the role of Veerappan in Attahasa.

It took more than eight years for Attahasa to go on the floors after that first meeting.

In this interview, Kishore talks about playing Veerappan in his new film.

How did you get the role of Veerappan?

I met Ramesh for the first time a few years ago when I got the state award for Kanti and he got an award for Santosha.

He told me then that he wanted me to do Veerappan's role as he was planning a biopic on the forest brigand. I was at the beginning of my acting career then.

Image: Kishore in Attahasa


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'It's a challenge to do real-life characters'

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How did you internalise Veerappan's character in Attahasa and what is the kind of preparation that went into portraying such a character?

There was no separate preparation involved. Ramesh involved me at the scripting stage itself. I visited the locations from where Veerappan operated, met people and interviewed them to know more about him.

As I had to look like Veerappan, a lot of effort went into getting the right look. A lot of wigs were tried and we had to get the moustache right.

I had to study his attitude from my interactions with the related people. Ramesh had a lot of press clippings that came in handy and so there was not much of reading to do.

How much of Veerappan's real life persona did you have to imbibe?

The movie attempts to be as close to the real person as possible. We have tried our best to make the character real without glorifying him or going overboard.

Our interactions with his associates showed that he could survive without any vices. He helped villagers. So we wanted to treat Veerappan's excesses as they are, and show his crimes as crimes.

How much do you relate to doing real life characters like Veerappan or Selvam in Polladhavan before you take up such offers?

There was no specific inclination to do real life characters. But yes, it is a challenge to do such roles. If you see Polladhavan you will realise it is a director's film given the character that I did.

Image: A scene from Attahasa

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'I'm surprised by the response'

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How has Veerappan's character changed you or your life?

I am overwhelmed by the response. During my theatre visits, I was surprised that people liked my performance. I should say my marketability has improved.

Despite Veerappan being a hated person, why do you think you got such positive feedback for your performance?

I am surprised by the reaction. Audiences are discerning today. They know the difference between real and reel life. When they watch a film, they get involved in the movie but they are smart enough to realise that it is only a character.

Audiences are quick to come out of the characters that they watch. Unlike earlier times when people identified actors with the roles they donned, today people have changed their outlook.

Image: A scene from Attahasa

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'We did not want to hurt anyone'

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Do you not feel that the Rajkumar kidnap episode did not reveal much about what actually went on behind the scenes?

Yes. The whole episode was shot within the framework of limitations of filmmaking. We did not want to hurt anyone in the process.

Rajkumar's family has wished the film unit good luck. But they said they didn't want to see the film. What do you make of that?

I can understand their feelings and emotions. They would not like to relive the episode and the trauma they underwent. I respect their feelings. I appreciate their maturity in wishing the film good luck. 
 

Image: A scene from Attahasa

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