Adivi Sesh was never averse to taking risks as long as it indulged his creative cravings. His roles in the initial stages of his career were of a lighter vein. But with time and a decade’s journey in cinema, he has evolved as an intense actor. “It all changed after being part of Baahubali,” says the versatile actor.
“My graph from Panjaa to Baahubali was heading in one direction. Being an outsider I didn’t get too many opportunities. The audience too doesn’t believe in endorsing someone who they don’t know, so it took time for me to adapt and understand the industry dynamics,” he says, adding that with Kshanam, he rebranded himself as an actor who can make his choices. “‘Listen to your heart’ was what I had learnt with the success of Kshanam,” he said, and since then he never looked for validation.
The super success of Kshanam was followed up by even bigger hits like Goodachari and Evaru. He feels sheer hard work, relentless pursuits, focus and determination made him come this far. Interestingly, he reveals that these are the qualities he found in Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan (who was martyred in action during the November 2008 Mumbai attacks) on whose life his next film, Major, is based on.
Moving towards Hindi cinema
As South films have made a smooth transition to the north and are gaining to capture the national market, Sesh too, with Major, is foraying heading there.
Is that a planned move?
“Certainly not. I believe Major is the right kind of story to be told across the country. People only paid tributes to Major Sandeep’s heroism, but not to the way he led his life. I wanted to make a film on him from the moment I learnt about him after the Mumbai attacks. As I began to learn more about Major Sandeep’s heroics and the way he led his life, I became a big fan of his,” reveals Sesh.
Earlier, South actors weren’t accepted as heroes in Bollywood. But now, with a slew of south films like Baahubali, Pushpa, RRR, KGF, etc., striking gold at the box office in Bollywood, it seems to be the right time to get into Hindi cinema.
“I always believed I am an Indian actor and I am trying to make an Indian film,” he says firmly.
While Jersey was a super hit in Telugu, the Hindi version failed. A comedy like Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 is doing well. So what makes a hit film?
“These days the audience have got exposed to so much content – web series, OTT, dubbed films in other languages. My film Goodachari was a super hit and the dubbed version too did well on streaming platforms. But remaking it may backfire as the audience have already seen the film on various platforms.”
But he is quick to add that good films have an audience. “That’s the reason we have films like Kashmir Files working at the box office.” “Major too, is a sunshine story of Major Sandeep and his effervescent life. It’s an interesting story of an extraordinary guy who was very simple in his approach. It’s the spirit of the man himself that makes him extraordinary,” he explains, stating that it’s an inspiring story.
A multi talented actor
Being a screenwriter and director, Sesh always had the edge to bring out certain characters that suit him well. He uses those skills to his advantage. And when we call him a ‘thinking actor’, he candidly comments, “I am a successful actor, good writer and a failed director. I think having a common sense of what you do and what you are good at doing makes you what you are. That’s what I am following. I make the process very simple! I write the characters and the first draft of the script first. Then I look at casting according to the roles including myself in the process, and transform into the roles,” says the actor.
‘I am naive!’
Smart actors make smart choices, but Sesh begs to differ when it comes to him. “People think I am extremely smart because of the kind of films I make and the kind of twists and turns my films have. But I am actually naive,” he said.
People often comment that ‘his script selection is good’.
But Sesh says people are overlooking that he is slogging and working hard to get the desired script! “It’s a long mental process to understand the character and to feel convinced that you suit the character.”