Vijay Raghavendra: I try not to repeat characters

In ‘Malgudi Days’ (no connection to RK Narayan except the name), he plays a 60-year-old writer
Last Updated 22 October 2019, 13:17 IST

Although I come from a family of actors and producers, I never set out to be an actor. My interest in cinema grew deeper and stronger as I grew up. I studied at Poorna Pragna school and later went to Seshadripuram College.

I was active in theatre, dance and music through school and college but I never pushed myself to participate in anything. But when an opportunity came by, I never missed it. I also worked as a child artist in films like ‘Chalisuva Modagalu’ in 1982, ‘Chinnari Mutha’ in 1993 and ‘Kotreshi Kanasu’ in 1994 for which I won an award. My big breakthrough in cinema was ‘Ninagagi’ in 2002. I won much appreciation for my role in that and I haven’t looked back since.

Experiments with roles

Over the years, I have experimented with all kinds of roles and I’ve made an effort to never repeat my characters, whether in ‘Kallarali Hoovagi’, ‘Shivayogi Sri Puttayyajja’, ‘Rishi’, ‘Khushi’ and ‘Kaaranji’. People are also used to seeing me in different roles and sometimes, it’s the more sober ones that are loved and still remembered by people.

There are newer challenges thrown at me every time I choose a script. My latest film, ‘Malgudi Days’, is one such example; I play a respected writer in it. I had to look like a man who is over 60 years of age.

We spent months trying to finalise the look for the character. When we finally did, though the makeup was perfect, I had to try really hard to identify with the person behind the transformed look.

The film has nothing to do with the original version. We have only borrowed the title. I don’t want to reveal too much about the character but the motion poster, that we hope to release in the coming weekend, will give people a sneak peek into the film and the characters in it.

Family is a big support

My wife Spandana and son Shourya are my big support and best critics as well. My son is 10 years old and has watched almost all my films. He hates
to see his father get killed in films. In fact, he tells me that I can do any kind of film but the only condition is that I must not get harmed in any of the scenes. He also gives his feedback after he watches the films.

He loves his chikkappa’s (Sriimurali’s) films. He recently watched ‘Bharaate’ and called him up to tell him how much he loved the fight scenes.

Working on commercial films

I don’t have too many commercial films to my credit. I have always been drawn to films that are more performance-oriented. I’ve also noticed that most of the scripts that come my way
are also those that are in line with the person that I am in real life — calm and composed. Films with a social message and those with strong characterisation have always fired my imagination.

Most of the commercial films that I have worked on have had a good run at the theatres. However, I still have some fans tell me that they wish to see me in a full-fledged commercial film someday.

I have realised how much love I earned from people after I won the first season of Bigg Boss.

There are really no roles that I haven’t tried but the one role that I wish to portray is that of spastic person — all that is required to put them on the road to a speedy recovery is love and they don’t get enough of it. I have always wanted to experience their feelings and see the world from their eyes.

I turned a director with ‘Kismath’ and I often get asked when I am directing my next film. But I tell people that I yearn to do more work as an actor and later venture into direction.

(Published 22 October 2019, 13:17 IST)

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