Chiranjeevi Sarja: Satisfying the audience is my priority
The actor's Shivarjuna hits the screens this week
Though Chiranjeevi Sarja’s Shivarjuna is not facing competition from big releases, the coronavirus outbreak is a prospective threat to the film's opening. “There is fear amidst people, and we don’t know how to deal with this situation. People have been asked not to go to public spaces. I believe theatres and malls have come up with safety measures for cine-goers, and I ask the people not to panic, and instead go watch something entertaining,” he says.
The actor feels fortunate to be associating with producer Shivarjuna, after whom the film has been titled. “It was more like working under my own production, as the producer is like a family member. I have known him since I was a child. Shivarjuna comes with 35 years of experience in the cinema industry, and he knows best. As a producer he was happy and confident with the film’s outcome, which was very important for me,” says Chiranjeevi.
This is his third film in a row this year, with Khaki and Aadya releasing in January and February, respectively. “I never planned to have three releases in three months. The films were supposed to be released last year, but owing to unavoidable circumstances, they are coming out now,” he says.
About working in Shivarjuna he says, “I won't say that the content is unique. The story is very simple, and to be honest, it is like old wine in a new bottle. When I chose the script, I knew the story was familiar, but it was new for me and the audience will see me in a new avatar. Shivarjuna is a revenge drama with commercial elements that the audience generally looks forward to in my films.”
Does he not feel he has become very predictable in his choice of stories? “An actor or filmmaker must present what the audience wants from them. I am just doing that. I also tried to experiment with films like Aatagara, Aake, and got appreciated too. But the audience usually expects me to be a part of out-and-out commercial films and my motto is to abide by their taste,” says Chiru.
Asked if he would work in remakes, he says, “I've never said that I will not be part of remakes. I have been narrated original scripts several times, but they haven’t worked for me. And there are times when I watch a film in another language and feel I would fit in those roles. I believe it wise to pick a role and story which would suit me from other languages and add my touch to it, rather than waiting for something similar to come my way.” He goes on to say that films like Chandralekha and Varadhanayaka were remakes, but were still appreciated. “I don't particularly seek out remakes. However, producers might feel that a script made in other languages will work in Kannada and approach me. If the role appeals to me, I would do it.”
Amrutha Iyengar looking for a hat-trick
Shivarjuna will be the third release for Amrutha Iyengar this year, after Love Mocktail and Popcorn Monkey Tiger. “Both my films have done well at the box office. The year began in a good way, and I hope Shivarjuna will be my hat-trick,” says Amrutha, who has played a rural girl for the first time.
“While my previous two films demanded subtle performances, my role as Paru in Shivarjuna demanded a bit of overacting. The film, which is based on two families, Ramadurga and Rayadurga, is a pucca entertainer and has a host of comedians like Kuri Pratap, Nayana and Shivaraj KR Pete,” she adds.
Amrutha also feels fortunate to be sharing screen space with Hindi actor, Ravi Kishen. “He plays my father in the film, and I was awe with his performance.”