us about your background?
I was born in Chennai. My schooling was divided
between mount St. Mary's Delhi, DAV Chennai and SPV
delhi. I finished my B.Com (Hons.) in KMC, Delhi.
I went on to complete my MBA from the S.P.Jain institute
of Management in Mumbai.
you got interested in films?
I have been fascinated with films for as long as I
can remember. My parents were responsible for exposing
me to excellent films when I was very young. I always
wanted to know how films were made. Curiosity turned
to passion, and I decided I wanted to write and direct
movies. When I wanted to make a foray into films after
school, my father rightly made me complete my graduation
and my masters. He always believed the uncertainty
in cinema warranted a solid backup plan. My education
is my backbone. I will always cherish the fact that
it has shaped me into who I am. I pursued amateur
theater in Delhi, and that helped me get in touch
with my creative facets. But I never intended to act
in films at that stage. I was only looking at writing
did you get a break as hero?
After the release of Kannathil Muthamittal
(Amritha in Telugu), writer Sujatha Rangarajan
wanted me to meet Shankar regarding Boys. I
met Shankar, he auditioned me, and I got Boys.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to act at that stage. I
expressed my doubt to Mani Ratnam. He was instrumental
in making me accept Boys. He felt the experience
would be invaluable as I would get to see commercial
filmmaking from close range.
worked youth-oriented characters in all 3 films so
far. And your body language suited them perfectly.
Are you contemplating on doing different characters?
I have played three youngsters between the ages of
18 and 22. I refuse to believe that is not different.
I would like to clarify here that acting is not always
about transformation. In our country and indeed even
in the holy 'oscars', acting is judged based on how
much the actor physically transforms himself. This
means that the best acting roles should involve handicaps,
prosthetic make-up, and excessive shades of drama.
I think it is equally challenging differentiating
3 youngsters, one who is middle cass, one who is upper
middle class, and one who is an NRI. I don't see any
similarity between my Munna, Arjun and Santosh. I
am now doing a very exciting Hindi/English film called
'Rang De Basanti'. This is a very challenging
role. I am still playing a youngster, but the challenge
is in giving him an identity of his own.
speak pretty good Telugu. How did you learn it? And
what prompted you to dub your character yourself?
Which other languages you are fluent at?
I think screen acting is difficult enough when
you know the language. I can't even imagine how hard
it would be if you don't. I learnt Telugu in a few
weeks by talking to people and watching TV. I even
dubbed Yuva in Telugu for practice. I think
half of my performance in NVNV should be attributed
to my dubbing. The response has been extraordinary.
I am fluent with Hindi as well. My next film is a
live sound film in Hindi and English. I am proud of
my linguistic versatility. I would love to learn new
languages and explore new regional films.
you satisfied being a hero? Or do you want to direct
films in future?
My current mantra is that I am acting with an aim
to direct one day. My pedigree is becoming enviable.
Shankar, Mani Ratnam, MS Raju, Prabhu Deva and now
Aamir Khan and Rakesh Mehra. I am learning something
all the time, and as a student of cinema, this is
very convenient. Make no mistake, direction is definitely
on the anvil. When and how, is anybody's guess!
than films, what do you like? Any hobbies?
Music is my life. At any time in my life, music
defines how I am feeling and what I am thinking. Other
than that, test cricket is something I am very seriously
in love with. Then there's video games; I am an addict.
are your favorite films?
Considering the sheer number of films I have watched
and continue to watch, I can never pick favorites.
I have a new top ten every week. I think it's important
to watch films without judging them, and exposure
to as many films as possible is always a good thing.
did you learn as assistant to Mani Ratnam?
The golden rule about aiming for a career in films
as far as I am concerned is to keep your expectations
very, very low. Only then will you be able to take
the disappointments. You have to learn everything
yourself. Nobody is going to spoon feed you. Mani
Ratnam is a great teacher because he creates an atmosphere
conducive to learning. I took as much as I could from
him. As an assistant, the ideal learning is to know
the process of filmmaking from start to finish. Once
that is done, it's a matter of getting the confidence
and the right script to make a start in direction.
helpful is the experience you got from Mani Ratnam
for you as an actor?
Not just Mani Ratnam, every director helps shape an
actor. When I was assisting Mani Ratnam, I was trying
to learn direction, so I didn't think as an actor.
However, being an assistant meant that I knew the
medium once I took up acting, so I understood technicalities
better. That didn't always help though.
helpful is your MBA from prestigious institute in
your professional career?
I think any education is always beneficial as nothing
shapes character like education. My post graduation
was instrumental in shaping me. It will always be
a part of everything I do. In filmmaking, it helps
me be more systematic and organized in the way I work.
is it like working with Trisha in two consecutive
Trisha is a good friend, and there is a very strong
mutual trust between us as actors. This trust is crucial,
because once actors trust each other and their instincts,
spontaneous performances become possible. Trisha is
an actress hitting the top of her game in terms of
acceptance. I look forward to seeing her grow more
and more as an actress in the coming years. Our work
in the two films we have done is completely different.
It is hard for me to pick a favorite among the two,
because I feel we managed to pull both off in very
the latest heartthrob, you must be chased by women
these days? Tell us about the sweetest and most embarrassing
situation you faced with female fans.
I am a very private person, so the fanfare hasn't
and in all probably will not ever get to me. I prefer
people judging me as an actor, as opposed to as a
person. The female attention is something I have only
heard of, mostly in interviews. I am much happier
hearing about it this way! Like I said, I haven't
gotten used to the adulation. I know it's a good thing
and I am thankful to them for it. I hope I can sustain
interest with my future performances.
NVNV happened to you. And who do you give the credit
of this stupendous success?
This film owes its success to the fantastic teamwork
of M.S.Raju and Prabhu Deva. The former is an ultra-passionate
maker who has extraordinary instincts in commercial
film making. The latter is one of the most unique
minds we have in this country. I expect even greater
things from both of them individually and as a team.
did you come up with funky hair-do for your character
I styled myself on instinct. I wanted to make Santosh
very unique, maybe even confusing. The 60's style
haircut in the first half is very much in vogue in
London right now. I felt it gave him a sense of mischief.
It also made him look cute and alien at the same time.
second half was about not styling. If a boy was in
a village for 3 months, he would just get up, wet
his hair and go to work. So I didn't cut it, I just
grew it and styled it back. It made him look mature
and more grounded. I am so thrilled the look worked,
because I would have had nobody to blame except myself
if it hadn't!
is your involvement as an actor in filmmaking?
I am lazy unless I am passionate about something.
I sign films that fuel my passion, and that's why
I give 200%! As an actor, I am very proactive. I believe
in homework, in rehearsals, and in following up with
consistency. I am trying to get better with each film.
I assure you, I honestly believe I have a long way
to go as an actor!
is it like working with Amir Khan?
Aamir Khan is an inspiration. We have just started
working together, and one thing I have realized is,
no matter who stops thinking about the film, you can
rest assured Aamir would be thinking about it. He
is a hands-on actor, and I am very comfortable with
him. His achievements have strangely made him very
humble and easy to work with, which is a boon!
did you come to know about idlebrain.com? What is
your opinion on it?
I found idle brain because my friends told me it had
very detailed film reviews. I was taken aback because
this is the only site that has said good things about
me in the past. I like the detail and the passion
in your reviews.
Keep up the good work!
message to the visitors of idlebrain.com?
The great thing about an idlebrain such as this, is
that it is anything but! The healthy nature of discussion
the site encourages is a must for young film watchers.
I hope to see more reactions to the blogs on the site.
Keep it rocking, people!
MS Raju (Producer)
& Krishna DK (directors)
Allu Arjun (Hero)