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Malli Modalandi actor Sumanth: I am a loner- Cinema express

Malli Modalandi actor Sumanth: I am a loner

Actor Sumanth reflects on what life and cinema means to him in this interview

Published: 25th January 2022
A still of Sumanth

Sumanth is a thorough professional, not just because he is good at work but due to his unflinching passion and unending love for cinema. When I called him for a telephonic interview to discuss his first-ever digital release Malli Modalandi, he told me that he contracted Covid-19 and is recovering from the illness. “My voice is weak and I have isolated myself in my home and resting. It’s the story of everybody and everywhere,” he says adding, “But I can talk andi...usually morning times are better and evening times are difficult.”

Excerpts from the conversation:

Malli Modalaindi is your first film releasing directly on the digital platform. Is it exciting to venture into this new space?

Yes, definitely. We made this film originally for theatres, but the pandemic has forced a change in plans. Considering the prevailing circumstances and the trend, the digital platform is being explored for the release of Malli Modalaindi. I think it's the best way to choose amid rising Covid-19 cases. 

Are you upset with this scenario?

I am not sure because I enjoy theatre experience and have made it a habit to watch all films in theatres. I equally enjoyed films that streamed directly on digital platforms. I think there's space for both the mediums. I believe certain films have to be watched in theatres, but Malli Modalaindi is one such film that can be enjoyed on a digital platform as well. I am hoping that our film will get good viewership. 

Talk to us about your character in the film.

I play Vikram, a 30-year-old guy, who’s leading his life post-divorce. Although the story narrates a serious subject, it was dealt with in a light-hearted and quirky manner.

What made you work in a film like Malli Modalaindi?

When director TG Keerthi Kumar pitched the line, I immensely liked the concept of life after divorce and asked him to come up with a bound script. I was excited by the thought and was convinced that it’s a subject that’s entirely fresh and is a story that makes for an interesting watch for our audience. 

Was it challenging for you as an actor to portray this complex role? 

It’s not a film that deals with the story in a heavy-handed way. There is no room for melodrama but the story has a few serious moments. Even a rom-com will have emotional moments in certain portions or towards the end. The trailer gives an honest depiction of the film, and we delivered a product that is as believable and realistic as possible. 

Which has been the most relatable character you have played so far?

I would say Vikram in this film (laughs). Of course, not in all aspects, but in many places I found some connection. Although it's not an easy character, I was at ease portraying this. 

What kind of response did the promos get you?

Be it the reactions on social media or the responses from my fans or the directors of my upcoming films, I understood that the film has good anticipation to it.

What have you discovered about yourself over the years?

Nothing (laughs). I am a realist and one of my biggest mantras in life is that I know that I don’t know. I am clear about that. We don’t know about too many things and I don’t pretend to know about them either. I am flexible and not opinionated. I am a constant learner and am adaptable in nature. I discovered that there’s definitely more to discover in my life.

Which quality of your late grandfather Akkineni Nageswara Rao have you inherited? And which quality do you wish you had?

I would have liked to be a person with detached attachment. My grandfather never took things personally and there was always a sense of balance in his life. He was never affected by the lows in his life and always lead by example. I have learned all of these traits and I think I have a little bit of them in me.

Looking back, any regrets?

I do, but not too many. It was because I had an opportunity to do a film or two and I couldn’t take it up due to various reasons. If that’s called a regret, so be it!

How have the events of the pandemic influenced you as a person and an actor?

As a person, the pandemic didn’t affect me much. I am a loner and I am always good at dealing with solitude (laughs). Even as the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns wreaked havoc in our lives, one positive of it is the booming of the OTT space. It has opened new avenues with exciting content and a lot of good work is also coming our way.

Can we see you and the Akkineni heroes together in a multi-starrer?

To be honest, it’s unlikely to see this combination because each of us deserves some space in a film. Even then, if something comes our way, we will definitely take it up!

What's next after Malli Modalaindi?

My next film Anaganaga Oka Rowdy is ready for release. It is a remake of the Malayalam gangster dark comedy Padayottam (2018), but we have changed about 70-80% of the film to suit our sensibilities. I am doing a psychological thriller Aham Reboot, which is in the last leg of production. I am also playing a supporting role in Dulquer Salmaan’s period drama directed by Hanu Raghavapudi.

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