As a lead actor, Venkatesh has always had a high success rate when compared to others. In his upcoming film Guru, he plays a boxing coach. “This is the first time I didn’t wear much make-up and went completely natural with the salt-and-pepper look,” he reveals.
Director Sudha Kongara had approached Venky for the same film three years ago, but he couldn’t do it then, so she went ahead with the Tamil and Hindi versions of the film. “I always wanted to do a sports film and when I watched it, I immediately told the director that I wanted to do it,” says Venkatesh, adding that he started working out and growing his beard for the role. “I needed to build my body, so I went on a strict diet,” he says.
Director Sudha gave the script to Venky and even did complete research on his look and role. “We did rehearsals with the two leading ladies. We discussed a lot and the whole journey has been a complete change for me,” says the actor. “I did my own research too; I signed up for boxing classes, observed my coach and watched many Hollywood films,” shares the actor. This is the first time Venky is also working with a woman director. “Sudha is very hard working and clear about what she wants. Also, she always supports the producer, which I like,” he says.
“The film is based on the true story of a boxing coach who went to the Olympics along with Mary Kom. He didn’t want to reveal his name, so we didn’t announce it,” reveals Venkatesh.
Many actors, especially the younger lot, have appreciated the trailer and first look of the film. “When I shot the film in Bheemunipatnam, people told me that they want to see me in more roles like this,” he says, adding that they shot a few candid scenes in Vizag: “I rode a bike on the main road of Bheemunipatnam and we also shot at the busy Poorna Market in Vizag. But we shot the scene and left before the public arrived.”
The actor also sung a song in this film for the first time. “When I read the song, I wanted to give it a shot. I practiced the lines for a few days and then sang it. It has come out nicely,” he says.
About the role, he says, “It was challenging. The character is frustrated — his wife leaves him, he loses his job and is transferred because of politics. He loses his glory and is eccentric, but very strict.”
Actresses Ritika Singh and Mumtaz, who were in the Tamil film, reprised their roles. “Both of them are like professional boxers. With due respect to all the actresses, if we roped in a regular actress, we would not get the right feel and body language. They were perfect,” he says.
Venkatesh says that this film will inspire writers to come up with better stories. “Writers should first write the story and then choose the actors. I hope this film will give them new ideas,” he says.
Venkatesh’s family has always been low-profile. His son is now in class 9, and the actor says, “He is very clever and likes basketball more than acting. He is a big fan of the NBA and always watches those matches.”
About his upcoming projects, he says that he may join in another multi-starrer with a couple of actors and one including Rana. “My home production is also coming up and I have to see which one will go first,” he says.