The Shashank Redemption
The Kannada actor who will be making his full-fledged entry into Kollywood through Karthik Subbaraj's Mercury, talks about the film
Kannada actor Shashank Purushotham, who played a cameo in Karthik Subbaraj’s feminist film, Iraivi, hopes that his role in the director’s upcoming silent film, Mercury, will make him a name to reckon with across the South. It’s rather curious that Shashank was approached for an important role in the film, given how part of his popularity stems from admiration for his voice. The dental surgeon-turned-theatre artiste admits that the ‘silent film experience’ was very unique. “I have always depended largely on my voice to express myself. Even in all my years of theatre, I have not done anything like Mercury."
Starring Prabhudeva, Mercury is about the story of five friends, one of whom is played by Shashank. "A lot of preparation went into this film. I had to attend several workshops. The film also gave me an opportunity to bond with artists from other regions," he says.
Shashank and Karthik Subbaraj apparently go back a long way. “Whenever he has work in Bengaluru, he stays at my place. When he asked me to audition for Mercury, I readily agreed,” he says.
Prod him to talk about the film and he says, “It’s about what happens when a group of friends meet for a reunion. I can’t let out more.”
Doing a silent film was quite a challenging process, he says. “As a trained method actor, I rely on dialogues a lot. Here, we had to use silence as a medium of conversation. The face becomes much more important as an instrument of expression," he mentions, and adds that the team from New Delhi’s National School of Drama helped the cast prepare for their roles.
Given the film features Prabhudheva, there was naturally a bit of dancing involved. "We shot for a promotional song that was deemed necessary to attract North Indian audiences. I am not a dancer at all, but Prabhudeva helped a lot," he says.
Shashank is a self-confessed admirer of the 80’s silent film, Pushpaka Vimana. “And now to work on a silent film is really exciting. I am quite eager to watch it on the big screen and I’m convinced that audiences are too. A film like this, which is not bound by language restrictions, also appeals across regions. I think with this film, I’ve now made my debut in Telugu and Malayalam too," he says with a laugh.