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'Sarkaru Noukari' blends education and entertainment: Hero Akash


'Sarkaru Noukari', helmed by Sekhar Gangamouni, marks the debut of Akash (senior singer Sunitha's son). Veteran filmmaker K Raghavendra Rao is its producer. Starring Bhavana Vazhapandal as the heroine, the film co-stars Tanikella Bharani, Surya, Sai Srinivas Vadlamani, Mani Chandana, Rajeshwari Mullapudi, and Ramya Kolhoori. The comedy-drama has music by Sandilya Pisapati. With cinematography by the director himself, it is up for a theatrical release on January 1. In this interview, newcomer Akash says that the film's beats and brand of comedy are going to strike the right chord with the audience. Dealing with a so-called taboo subject, this New Year Day release is endowed with earnestness, he suggests.

Actors have more fame than singers. They make more money, obviously. But these are not the reasons why I have become an actor. I have always been fascinated by acting since childhood. I have only pursued my primary interest. Fame and money don't determine my path. My mother always knew that acting interested me. Playback singing has never been my passion. I was in school when I told my mother about my acting interest. But we never had a real, serious discussion about it. I was 22 or so when I first started meeting directors/writers in my age group. I socialized with them so that I got to know them and they would get to know me. I trained under Uttej garu in his acting school for 75 days. Nobody can learn acting in such a short span, yes! But I got to learn some nuances from him.

Patience is the key. An actor has to know how to handle success and failure, besides trolling on social media. An artist has to be down-to-earth so that trolls tone down their mockery. Otherwise, they will double down. Any star kid has to keep this in mind. Even highly experienced stars like Nani garu are mindful of trolls.

I was not fixed about which genre I wanted to debut with. 'Sarkaru Noukari' came to me as a surprise. When I read the script, I didn't know that Raghavendra Rao garu was the producer. I liked the subject and the commercial edge given. Director Sekhar narrated the story both to me and my mother simultaneously. I participated in acting workshops to get into the skin of Gopal, the character. He marches ahead despite all odds and vehement opposition in his social circle.

In the early 1990s, there was an HIV epidemic in India owing to the lack of awareness about protected sex. Hundreds of families were affected. By then, many HIV patients' condition had degenerated into the AIDS stage. My character is a witness to such personal tragedies and resolves to spread awareness about safe sex. Talking about condoms and protected sex to illiterate villagers was a big deal back then. Forget villagers, even city-dwellers were shy to talk about such topics. This film tells the story of a one-man army that goes against societal norms. The nature of humour is situational and drawn from real life. Thanks to his job, he develops friction with his conservative-minded wife.

Sanitary pads are well-known to us urbanites. In 'Pad Man' (Hindi), Akshay Kumar's character tries to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene in villages. It was an impactful film. While I am aware that I am no star hero like Akshay Kumar, I must say that 'Sarkaru Noukari' brings to the fore the reality of India's villages back in the 1990s.

I got to interact with several villagers affected by AIDS during the shoot of the movie. I didn't do that for marketing purposes. I wanted to learn about their tribulations first-hand.

You become a hero when people flock to theatres to watch your movie regardless of the talk. I am not that. I must first prove myself as an artist. Commercial movies are fascinating and I will do them in the future. For now, though, I can't expect to bag them. That's where doing a movie like 'Sarkaru Noukari' makes sense.

Getting launched by Raghavendra Rao garu is an indescribable feeling. To this day, I am mad about some of his classics like 'Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari'. For the rest of my career, I have to be grateful to him. I touch his feet every time I see him at his office. It's a responsibility to be launched by his banner. During the workshopping phase, we used to show the rushes to him to seek his feedback. We wanted our expressions to be natural and the chemistry to be natural.

I have to live up to my mother's image and stature. But I don't see it as a pressure point. I have been asked about the culture of nepotism. As far as I am concerned, I have to make the best use of the opportunities that come my way. I have to get recognition, maintain it and be consistent. My mother has sung a promotional song. It won't be there in the film. There are four montage songs in the movie. She wants me to be recognized as an artist first. Raghavendra Rao garu recently said that my performance is naturalistic in the film. It is greater than bagging an award.

I play guitar as a personal hobby. In the future, I want to participate in music sittings to learn from the conversations and discussions between the music director and director. And I want to impart those learnings to people in some way!  

Updated on December 29, 2023