Adivi Sesh, who shot to superstardom with the thriller Kshanam, has had a favourable year with Goodachari impressing with its box office numbers. The Telugu star-actor looks back on his movies and on what lies ahead. Excerpts from an interview:
2018 was a watershed year for you. How do you look at the progress you made this year?
The credibility that comes with the perception of success is something I cherish. I’ve lived with the idea of Goodachari for 14 years and the film itself was in the making for a little under two years. Kshanam (2016), Ami Tumi (2017) and Goodachari (2018). Each year it’s been nice to be part a film that has done well.
As an outsider, how do you react to the opinion that the Telugu and Tamil industry is lorded by nepotism?
Like most outsiders, I used to come with a lot of pre-conceived notions about how nepotism might ruin my chances in the movie business. Today, I feel differently. A doctor’s son in India tends to become a doctor. A farmer’s son tends to become a farmer. So, I don’t see what the big deal is, when an actress’s daughter becomes an actress. Much of the anti-nepotism brigade doesn’t realise that this culture exists across the spectrum in all facets of Indian society. If you’re going to scream it, then, talk about it all across, why just limit it to movies? Just, because they’re a soft target?
In the South, audiences are very sentimental and protective towards children of veteran stars. What’s your view?
It’s all about branding. In the movie biz, if you can position yourself as a brand that can earn a profit for an investor, the movie business will give you chances, because, they have a higher chance of earning their money back.
Did you find it tough to break in and when you did was it tough to convince the industry about your language of expression?
It was tough to find the credibility to become a lead actor. That didn’t happen until late 2015. A lot of people in the trade told me that I became a leading man of sorts in 2015, and Kshanam cemented that. I always thought that growing up in different countries would’ve been my asset. And it has been, when writing a story. As a person living here, I’ve always felt like a square peg in a round hole. I still do.
Goodachari was a smash. Did you expect it to be such a success?
It’s become my career’s biggest hit and I’m very proud of the work we put in. I’d always hoped and dreamt that it would be a huge success. That’s exactly what happened. And now, a franchise is born. I couldn’t be happier.
Arjun Reddy, Bahubali, Goodachari... is Telugu cinema going through a process of radical genesis?
I feel that the new wave started sometime in 2014. People’s ideas started changing. The kinds of concepts being discussed were a little different. For a big star like Ram Charan to agree to his character in Rangasthalam is incredible, and speaks volumes about how creatively inclined the movie business has become, top to bottom. Commercially as well, the last few years have been phenomenal for the Telugu movie business.
Your career changing film Kshanam was made in Hindi as Baaghi 2. What did you think of the remake?
To this day, I haven’t seen Baaghi 2. But I’m told by a lot of Telugu folk who’ve seen Kshanam that Baaghi 2 isn’t their cup of tea. But then, Telugu audiences will always pick Mahesh sir’s Pokiri over Salmans Wanted. They’ll always pick the original.