Karthikeya: I've learned from Nani to take responsibility for my film's results
Ahead of the release of his upcoming film, 90 ML, the actor speaks to us about his journey in the film industry
From juggling roles to eating clean and exercising right, Karthikeya does everything to stand out as an actor. The RX 100 star, who is currently touring Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to promote his forthcoming romantic action entertainer 90 ML — Un authorized drinker, begins the conversation asserting that he is not comfortable doing vulgar and indecent scenes in his films.
He credits RX 100 with changing the course of his career. "The success of RX 100 changed things for good. It's the turning point in my career and the acceptance I've gained among the audience is truly humbling.”
Yerra Sekhar Reddy's 90 ML revolves around a youngster who can’t survive without drinking three times a day. Karthikeya plays the lead character Sekhar Reddy and newcomer Neha Solanki plays his love interest. Karthikeya's look in the film and the dialogues in the promos have already garnered attention among the audience. “The response to my tour has been amazing. My dialogue in the teaser 'Rey...diesel tho nadiche bandi chusuntav...petrol tho nadiche bandlani chusuntav...idhi liquor tho nadiche bandi...gudhithe address undadhu...' has become popular and whereever I go, people have been saying these lines to me,” says a joyful Karthikeya.
He says the film entertains the audience right from the word go. “Making the film was quite a challenge as its a quirky storyline with an undercurrent of emotion.” The actor reveals that he took reference from several films to play the part. “I have observed the body language and mannerisms of the protagonists in films like Kick, Race Gurram, and Bhale Bhale Magadivoy. Personally, I am a jovial, fun-loving person and I was able to relate to this character a lot,” says Karthikeya.
Female fandom: It feels good to be called a ladies man. I like this attention and I don't shy away from it. The kind of love I'm getting from my female fans is precious.
Fitness: Post RX 100, people got used to seeing me in a certain way. So, it has become a necessity to maintain a chiselled and ripped look for every film. There’s no shortcut to fitness apart from working out. I opt for abdominal training, weights, strength work, resistance, and kickboxing to improve flexibility and agility. I always prefer home-cooked food and stay away from sweets.
Learning from mistakes: Everyone makes mistakes, but the wise learn from them. To learn from mistakes, we have to first acknowledge that we have made one. My mistakes have been a great learning for me.
The young actor is unfazed by the mixed responses of his previous outings and feels more responsible as an actor now. “When you are nothing, it’s easy to become something. The failures have made me more responsible as an actor. Hippi had a unique concept and Guna 369 is still close to my heart. Even today, a lot of people say really good things about the film. They earned me a lot of respect as an actor and I don't know why they didn't work at the box office.”
He calls 90 ML his ray of hope. “Being my home production, I have taken extra care to ensure that it lives up to the expectations. I have learnt this quality from actor Nani, who always takes responsibility for his film's results.”
Despite always being interested in donning lead roles, Karthikeya tried his hand at playing a negative role in Nani’s Gang Leader and won praise for it. “I am not hesitant about playing negative roles. RX 100 helped me to reach the youth and Gang Leader took me closer to the mainstream audience,” explains the actor, who is currently shooting for newcomer Sri Saripalli’s action entertainer.
Does the team have any ideas for a RX 100 sequel? “Director Ajay Bhupathi and I never entertained the idea of making a sequel to it. It’s a cult film and I don’t want to ruin its reputation by trying to milk it. Except for the Baahubali franchise, the majority of sequels fail to repeat the magic of the original,” he says.