Siddharth the Tamil Brahmin boy from New Delhi is the new pin up boy of Tollywood following the stupendous success of Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana. Siddharth is an MBA graduate from Spin College, Mumbai and started his career as an assistant director to Mani Ratnam.He has acted in two films- Shankar's "Boys" and Mani Ratnam's bilingual "Yuva" in Telugu.
In this exclusive interview to Sify.com, Siddharth speaks about the success of "NN" and his fuure plans. Excerpts:
"Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana "(ďNNĒ) is turning out to be a blockbuster. What according to you made it possible?
I only sign a film when I have faith in it. This time around, my faith has been endorsed by millions. It feels fantastic. I believe this is a film with very clear intentions. It aims to entertain.
I think M.S.Raju has a very good understanding of what emotions his films trigger among an audience. Then, you have Prabhu Deva who has this brilliant knack of putting a new spin on any scene. Their teamwork, to me is what makes this film sparkle.
Tell us about Santhosh - the character you played in the film? Is it close to your real self?
Santosh comes to India from London, for a wedding. I had a very clear plan for him. He was obviously not the first NRI kid in Indian cinema, but I decided to play him like never before. I wanted to make him hyperactive, and unpredictable, to the point that the audience does not know what to expect from him.
In real life, I am hyperactive in a more private way with close friends and family. Santosh, however does not spare anyone. I believe the energy of Santosh is what makes him endearing to the audience. I have lived as Santosh for 7 months. I have mapped his coming of age in the course of the film. I am very proud of his characterisation. M.S.Raju and Prabhu must be congratulated for bringing Santosh out of me!
How was it working in Telugu? That too in M.S.Raju's film?
The first thing I made M.S.Raju promise me was that I would be allowed to dub for myself. I then learnt to speak Telugu in a matter of days by listening to people, and even by watching TV. I even dubbed for Yuva in Telugu as practice. Learning Telugu made my work in ďNNĒ very gratifying. I am so glad that I got to learn a beautiful language through this film.
As for M.S.Raju, he is one of the most passionate people I have ever met. I love cinema, and itís nice to meet people who love the medium as much, if not more than me. He is in the mould of classic Hollywood producers who believe in grand film-making, and like to be involved in every step of the way.
There were speculations about your saleability as a star before the release. Please comment.
I have done 3 films. Shankar, Mani Ratnam, and M.S.Raju have shown faith in me. I am grateful to M.S.Raju for giving me a film of this magnitude. I only listen to my inner voice and not speculations. It makes Rajuís faith in me all the more special when he ignored all these kind of speculations that you are speaking of, while signing me. I didnít come here to prove my saleability. I came here to indulge my creativity, and to showcase my talent. I still have a long way to go.
So finally have you made up your mind to be a director or an actor?
I have decided to stop planning my life. I am going to go with the flow so long as my artistic conscience is sound. The day I feel that I am not doing what I was born to do, I will make a change. If I didnít take myself seriously, I could have done 10 inconsequential films till now. I am proud of the films I have done. Irrespective of the result, my films have been the most talked about films of the last 3 years. I will always dream of directing my own films. Letís hope it happens one day.
Future projects in hand?
Even when my first 2 films didnít exactly change the world, I never rushed in or got insecure. I waited till the perfect film came to me. The great part is, now that ďNNĒ has gone through the roof, I can continue to be selective, in fact even more so, and nobody can question me. I will only do films that I believe in. I donít like to repeat myself as an actor and after the success of "NN" the expectations are sky-high. Those speculators you speak of are waiting to trash my next film. This is a hard industry and you have to watch your every move. I am going to wait for the right work, no matter how long it takes.
About your family?
All I would like to say about my family is that they are my strength. They have let me be who I was meant be. They have always stood by me, and yet continue to be my biggest critics. I thank my stars every day for the family that I have been blessed with!
Any new Tamil films?
I donít go looking for Tamil films or Telugu films but on the contrary I just hope for good films. Right now and indeed during the last year, Tamil cinema has not shown me anything exciting. Tomorrow, who knows? But for now, Iíll kick off my shoes, and enjoy the wonderful success of ďNN".