'The film took me back to my childhood'

'The film took me back to my childhood'
Actor-director Ramesh Aravind will complete 100 films as the leading man in the Kannada film industry with the release of ‘Pushpaka Vimana’ on January 6. But this has not slowed him down for he yearns to do more and further explore the actor in himself. Ramesh not only chooses his scripts carefully as an actor but also gets down to fine-tuning every detail, including the titling of the film, which he believes is the most important aspect after the script and the pool of actors.

He sums up his experience of shooting for ‘Pushpaka Vimana’ as memorable. In an interview with Nina C George, Ramesh talks about how he got into the skin of the character for this film.  
What got you to accept ‘Pushpaka Vimana’?
I portray the character of a six-year-old mentally challenged person and go by the name Anantharamaiah in the film. The beauty of the role is that the actor Ramesh Aravind is not seen anywhere in the film because I portray the emotions of a child. As a part of the character, I was expected to behave every bit like a child who is mentally unstable. I am paired opposite child actor Yuvina in the film. There are scenes where the two of us are seen running around, fighting and playing like children. The film took me back to my childhood.  

What were some of the challenges you faced?
The challenge was to bring about a certain abnormality to my features, to make the character appear natural and believable. I had to work towards achieving a slightly protruding lower lip and an unusually-shaped lower jaw. This helped alter my accent and pronunciation. These additions lent a lot of strength to the character.

What about the choice of costume?
I not only wanted my character to appear abnormal but also have a distinct look. I am seen wearing an Army uniform with a cap. Here, I wear this costume because the character that I portray was very close to his grandfather who was an Army man. The uniform is like the second skin for Anantharamaiah and he refuses to get out of it. The traumatising point in the movie comes when he is forced to remove his Army costume and wear a jail uniform instead.      

How was your experience of shooting for the film?
I was juggling a lot of things last year. There were times when on a day I would be in a three-piece suit shooting for ‘Weekend with Ramesh’, then get into the uniform to shoot for ‘Pushpaka Vimana’ where my body language had to transform into that of a child and towards the end of the day, I would wear the director’s hat to complete shooting for ‘Sundaranga Jaana’. Tough as it may seem, I enjoyed switching characters and locations.

Do you always consciously choose your films?
This will be my 100th film as the lead actor in the Kannada film industry. This character is unlike anything that I’ve done before. The only negative shade that I’ve portrayed is in ‘Amruthavarshini’ where I played a villain. I don’t make a conscious attempt to play different roles, I only look for scripts that tell a definite story.  

Was portraying this particular character an emotionally exhausting affair?
My character was indeed an emotionally exhausting one because there were scenes where I had to quickly and swiftly switch emotions. There are scenes where I was naturally moved to tears and I am sure many in the audience will relate to the emotions after watching the film.

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