Happy to go back to college friends and romance: Nirup Bhandari
The actor talks to CE about his youthful character in the romantic comedy drama, making his Telugu debut and about starting his second film afresh, without the baggage of Rangitaranga
Not many actors get to relive their college lives onscreen. So Nirup Bhandari was thrilled when he was offered such an opportunity in his second film Rajaratha. "I could relive my engineering-college days through this film. My best friend in college was called Harsha, and Anup (Bhandari, his brother and the film's director) ensured that the same name was used for a similar character in the film. We were a group of eight and memories of time we had together have not faded, and I tried to experience them again onscreen," he says.
While Rangitaranga had the actor playing a serious character, Nirup says that Rajaratha shows a different side of him. "This character is fun, vibrant and full of energy. I even worked a lot on how a college student should look and on the body language. So far I have received positive reviews about the trailer and songs. I hope the audience like the film," he says.
Rajaratha is bigger project for Nirup because this film will be his Telugu debut, but he's not too stressed about that. "The number of languages makes no difference. The audience believe in us and we don't want to let them down. So we have all worked harder on it. At the same time, we didn't want to carry Rangitaranga's baggage with us. My father always said, 'Treat every film as your first, only then you will give it your best' and we followed his advice."
The Telugu version happened thanks to the support of producers, he says. "They believed the subject had a universal appeal and that Anup as a director could reach out to a wider audience. They placed their confidence in me too. Producer Ajai Reddy, who likes Prabhas, felt that I look like the actor. He even liked my voice and overall appearance and thought that I can make it in Telugu. His encouragement helped."
Nirup says that Rajaratha will appeal to all kinds of audiences, especially the youngsters. "Those who loved watching films such as Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayange or Dil Tho Pagal Hai will be able to relate to Rajaratha. The love story is fresh and the characters, real," says Nirup, who asks us to play special attention to the background score that plays during romantic scenes. "The movie transports you to a different world that is beautiful," he adds.
He says that he remains as confident as he was with Rangitaranga. But, he is clearer on what works and what won't onscreen, he adds. "After my first silver screen appearance, I was appreciated for my work, though certain people did say that I could do better. I agree that there is always room for improvement, only then can you grow as an actor. I have tried to correct in this what I believed I did wrong in Rangitaranga," says Nirup, whose approach to acting has been tempered by his experience in theatre, though he has changed his style to suit cinema. "The Indian moviegoers sensibilities are different from theatre aesthetics, where we have to overdo the emoting. I realised this over time. Being a method actor in English theatre, I tweaked my style for cinema, and I intend to keep learning and growing," he signs off.