'Don't treat cinema as Plan B'
... says ‘Lockdown Star’ Siddhu Jonnalagadda, who is basking in the success of his recent OTT release, Maa Vintha Gaadha Vinuma
Siddhu Jonnalagadda wears his heart on his sleeve — much like his characters in the films, Krishna and His Leela, and Maa Vintha Gaadha Vinuma. He begins by saying that while he loves speaking to the press, inane interviews irk him. "I have the attention span of a goldfish. When I get annoyed, my sarcasm kicks in and that could be dangerous," he admits, candidly.
There is no such angst as he talks about how his career has shaped up so far, since his debut in Life Before Wedding in 2011. The actor, who is now busy with his new film, Narudi Bratuku Natana, says, "I am more than ecstatic at how far I have come in the Telugu industry. I have a decent body of work, more opportunities coming up, and the future looks exciting." He has also just signed the Telugu remake of a Malayalam movie being made by Sithara Entertainment. "I have been dubbed the ‘Lockdown Star’ as two of my movies released on OTTs during this period," he laughs.
Siddhu is an actor who has dabbled with the other crafts of moviemaking too. "Singing, dancing, acting, writing... I don't think there is anything I cannot do," he says with the confidence and irreverence of an overachiever. "It's not like I planned to take up all these avatars to become an all-rounder. It happened organically," adds the techie, who is a management graduate from Hyderabad.
He turned writer after being struck by a beautiful love story that he turned into a script. When director Praveen Sattaru wanted a young, handsome guy with Telugu values, Siddhu seemed to fit the bill and came on board as an actor. "When we were thinking of a song, I started humming and everyone around suggested I give it a shot," he says.
Recently, Color Photo actor Chandni Chowdary spoke about having struggled for seven years to get a break and how it was tough to retain her passion. Did Siddhu face something similar? "Yes, for me it was more of having to stop the sympathy vibes from people who tell you that you have 'wasted' enough time. I became comfortably numb when family friends started nagging me with questions like, 'Pelleppudu chesukuntav?' or 'Inka eppudu nee cinema release?' They give you timeframes, like those who suggested that I stop my ‘movie mania’ at least by 2021 and get myself a job. But it doesn't work that way. If you have a plan B for cinema, cinema will treat you as a plan B. This is an industry that demands creativity, passion, dreams, and more. Be here until you make it!" he asserts.
Siddhu dismisses his struggles with a smile. "At the most, I had to hang out in clubs without money as someone told me that's where I can get to meet directors. But otherwise, I think I have been fairly lucky with work coming my way all through," says this actor who grew up in Malkajgiri.
He isn’t one to be content with mere survival in the industry; he intends to live and thrive. A reluctant entrant into social media, Siddhu's creativity comes through even in the ultra-sarcastic captions he posts for his photographs. "I haven't yet got a photoshoot done and spammed my social media accounts. I better do it soon," says this actor with a sizeable fan-following, not just for his good looks, his clever captions, but also his sparkling creativity.