Following the box office success of RX100 last year, things are looking up for Telugu actor Kartikeya Gummakonda. He has at least three films which will release this year. As his latest film Hippi hits the screens today, Kartikeya exclusively spoke to indianexpress.com about his working style, aspirations and upcoming projects.
Below are excerpts from the conversation:
What is the meaning of Hippi?
Basically, Hippi refers to people who live life on their own terms. It is the character description of the hero in this film. Similarly, we have also made this film without following the conventional rules of filmmaking.
How different is your performance in Hippi compared to RX100?
My acting in Hippi is very different from what I have done in RX100. After watching my last performance, the audience might find it interesting to see me doing this role. In RX100, I played an innocent person reeling from heartbreak. But, in this film, I play a very easy-going character, with a lot of humour and energy. The audience will see the other side of my acting.
What is the major reason for you to accept Hippi?
As I said, this film is very different from RX100. And, I also like do films that connect with the audience. My character has a boy-next-door quality which the audience will connect with.
Did you do any homework for your character?
Before going on to the sets, director TN Krishna conducted a workshop and worked on the character’s mannerism and body language.
Do you feel discomfort while doing lip-lock scenes?
If we force kissing scenes into the script, it may cause discomfort. If the script naturally demands intimate scenes, I feel like doing my job. On the other side, for any hero, it is very rare to get find acceptance as a romantic hero. I am glad that the audience has accepted me as a romantic hero.
How do you select your scripts?
I am very particular about the story. I will only further the discussion with the director and producer if I like the story. I grew up watching films among the audience. So, I have a basic understanding of how the audience would react to certain scenes/films. As an audience, I should like a film first before I sign on dotted lines.
Are you interested in doing films in other languages?
A good film will be liked by the audience irrespective of its language. For instance, Telugu people watch Tamil films and vice versa. If anything exciting comes my way, I am ready to do it. But as of now, I don’t have such projects.
Tell us about your next film, Guna 369.
Guna 369 is a very different film. The film is very intense and emotional to the scale which we have not seen in recent Telugu films. It is something which has never been tried before in Telugu cinema. The film is based on the real incidents in Ongole.
What is the USP of Hippi?
I think Hippi has three USPs. One, it shows me in a new avatar. Two, JD Chakravarthy’s energetic performance. And, this film will connect with the youth.
How was your working experience with director TN Krishna?
I liked his filmmaking style in Nuvvu Nenu Prema even though the pace was a bit slow. Nevertheless, it was a feel-good romantic drama. But, Hippi has a fast-paced screenplay and I like it. The speciality of TN Krishna is that he takes a scene to another level while shooting it. He turns a normal script into an extraordinary one and it’s only possible if a director has the ability to think creatively like Mani Ratnam, RGV and Krishna Vamsi.
Tell us about your character in Nani’s Gang Leader.
Gang Leader is a very special film for me. I am playing the villain and it has given me a new dimension as an actor. I am more excited about this film than Hippi. I am looking forward to seeing how the audience would react and change their opinion about me (as an actor) after this film.
Have you signed any new project?
I have two more films with debutant directors Shekhar Reddy and Sree.
How are you balancing your personal and professional life?
As of now, I don’t have time for other things. After Hippi, Guna 369 will hit the screens in July and later, Gang Leader will release. After that, I will start working with Shekhar Reddy. I will be completely busy.