Shiva Kandukuri awaits the release of 'Gamanam' on December 10. In this interview, the actor talks about doing the Sujana Rao directorial, his character, why he feels blessed to have done the movie, his future projects, and more.
'Gamanam' is a very special project that came in the early stages of my career. When I listened to the story, I connected with it instantly. Usually, there are calculations after listening to a story. For the first time, I didn't bother about commercial calculations.
When I listened to the narration, I didn't know that Ilaiyaraja garu would be composing the music. I came to know it only later that VS Gnanasekhar garu would be cranking the camera.
'Gamanam' is my second release. 'Manu Charitra' will come next. I have played a cricketer in the film. It's not a heroic character but a flawed, realistic one. He bonds with his grandfather. In real life, too, I am like that. I love my grandfather a lot.
I used to play cricket a lot in India. When I moved to the US, I stopped playing for 8 years. For 'Gamanam', I trained in cricket so that my body language looks genuine. Sports drives the drive, but the emotional baggage is taken care of by the love story.
It's a blessing that I have got to play with acclaimed actors like Charu Haasan garu. Although he is more than 90 years old, he was never late to the set. He did a rain scene with dedication. He is always natural in front of the camera. It felt like a blessing. The film has got three stories and there is a common link connecting them. I don't have scenes with Shriya Saran garu.
This is my second film with a female director. My first movie, 'Chusi Chudangane', was also helmed by a female filmmaker. My love interest in the movie is Zara, played by Priyanka Jawalkar, a Muslim girl. There is a strong conflict and there is also entertainment in the story.
The credit goes to the cinematographer for the visuals. I am looking like an authentic cricketer. An underwater sequence took eight days to be shot. The cinematographer was always by our side. Sai Madhav Burra garu's dialogues have conveyed the core emotion with ease. He has penned dialogues for commercial movies (like 'RRR') already. And his lines are as good for our movie. He also gave me inputs on pronunciation.
Besides being a cinematographer, Gnanasekhar garu is also a producer of the movie. He and the other two producers took full care of the requirements.
Only those films are memorable that have emotional content. 'Gamanam' is one such subject. I want to be choosy and even if I do only a handful of movies in the next 10 years, I want them to go down as meaningful.
'Manu Charitra', my next film, is a raw story. I have played the character not because it's aggressive or something. There is a strong reason why the character behaves like that. The story has no similarities with any movie. It's an intense love story but has no similarities with 'RX 100' or 'Arjun Reddy'.
I am doing an episode in 'Meet Cute' (anthology film directed by actor Nani's sister Deepthi), which is produced by Nani anna. I am doing a crime comedy and also a crime thriller. So, after 'Gamanam', my next three releases are sorted already.
'Gamanam' was supposed to be a pan-India movie, considering that the emotions are universal. But given the situation prevailing during the pandemic, it is not possible to release in multiple languages.
I take my father's suggestions before signing up for a movie. But the final call is always mine. If I don't have conviction, I won't be able to give my best shot.