'I wanted to be 'Appu'

Producer Shilendra Babu has decided to introduce his son Sumanth Shilendra in his home production Aata.

Babu says he didn’t just push his son into acting. The young man, who has just completed his BBM from Jain College, underwent a year’s training in acting and martial arts at a film institute in Mumbai before he decided to plunge into the Kannada film industry. And Sumanth is confident that he will excel in his debut film, directed by Vijay Kumar.

The story has been written by Shashank for a newcomer. Vibha, who plays the female lead opposite Sumanth, is also a newbie from the Tamil industry.

“I have always promoted and popularised newcomers in most of my films. This time I thought I would introduce my son. I wanted him to complete his education and get a degree before he joins films. It’s a film about family, love and sentiment. The story befits a youngster,” explained Shilendra.

Sumanth is more than excited about his debut. He said he used to accompany his father to the shooting sets as a child. “I was bored and never liked to watch the shooting. It was after I watched the movie Appu, where Puneeth Rajkumar played the lead, that I wanted to become an actor. I wanted to be Appu,” he said.

Sumanth idolises Puneeth and wants to be like him. “I’ve met him and I think he’s a brilliant actor and a very humble person,” he added. He observes that his co stars, directors and technicians are very supportive. “I was very nervous for the first few days when I started shooting. But now I am used to a lot of people standing around and slowly, I’ve begun to feel at ease. Acting is also a learning process and I am open to acquiring new skills and polishing what I already have,” he said.

Sumanth hasn’t had it easy. He had to work hard to tone his body and keep fit. “I work out on a regular disciplined basis. Acting has come at a price. I was 85 kg and now I can’t afford to even put on a kilo,” he points out.

Reluctant to give away too much about his role, Sumanth said, “I play a young college-going guy. It has love, sentiment and here, unlike the other love stories, the guy doesn’t elope with the girl he loves. Instead he marries her with consent of his parents. That’s the crux of the story. The rebelliousness of youngsters and the concept of going against parent’s wishes have been challenged in this movie,” he added.

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