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Oh Boy! What a role

He is doing films in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Bengali and Malayalam. Actor Siddharth tells K. JESHI it's exciting to perform in different languages and reinvent himself with each role



rising up to challenges Siddharth

“A seven-year wait is worth it,” smiles actor Siddharth. And he arrives with a breezy entertainer — “180 (Nootrenbadhu)”. “I am very excited. After my first Tamil film with Shankar {‘Boys'} and the second one with Mani Ratnam {‘Ayudha Ezhuthu'} I'm happy to have chosen ‘180',” he says.

A bilingual in Tamil and Telugu, directed by ad filmmaker Jayendra, the film is a throwback to classic story-telling — a modern urban romance with an old soul. “There are no gimmicks. It takes you back to the films of Balu Mahendra, Mahendran and Mani Ratnam that we grew up with in the 1980s. They were mature and sophisticated films,” he adds.

Siddharth who follows Tamil films keenly, says “180” is colourful, realistic and different from the rustic films that have dominated the Tamil industry for a while. “A pleasant love story with great visuals,” is how he describes it. Shot extensively in the U.S., Mumbai, Chennai, Puducherry and Hyderabad, the film, has become a talking point for the way it has been shot by cameraman Balasubramaniam in the digital format. Music composed by Sharreth is another highlight. “People will love his compositions.”

Siddharth says director Jayendra brought his expertise of ad film making and technical finesse to this film. The protagonist has two heroines Priya Anand and Nithya Menen. Why “180”? “You will find the answer when you watch the film. It stems from a beautiful philosophy.”

Ten years in the industry and with some memorable performances under his belt, the actor says ‘yes' to a role only when it promises to offer something new to him. He always looks for an opportunity to reinvent himself. “I'm not very choosy. I don't believe in definitions such as ‘class' or ‘mass' films. For me a role becomes challenging when it demands a sustained performance from one scene to another. Coming from a non-film background, I have made a career out of trying out new things. I want to be recognised as a good actor and not just a hero.”

“180” marks his first solo performance in Tamil in the romantic genre. “It is an effort to give the audience a flavour of a neat film, the kind I am associated with in Telugu.” He says, it's an exciting experience to work simultaneously in two languages and hopes to do bilinguals regularly.

As far as multi-starrers go, he prefers to call them ‘ensemble cast'. He explains, “A film becomes a multi-starrer only when you have two equally powerful and big stars. An ensemble cast takes the pressure off the actor and it is much easier to sell the film too.” Siddharth has immense respect for the Tamil audience as they appreciate good cinema. “The Tamil industry has launched great directors every year…Bala, Ameer, Sasikumar, Sargunam and Thiagarajan Kumararaja {I enjoyed his ‘Aaranya Kaandam'}. The industry has also popularised new genres of films which is promising.”

Siddharth is excited about the fact that he is performing for Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi and very soon perhaps, even for Malayalam and Bengali audiences. “I'm fortunate that about 15 of my films were with new directors,” says the actor. Siddharth understands the technique and technology that go into the making of the films as he started off as an assistant director with “Kannathil Muthamittal”. He has about five releases lined up in the next eight months. Telugu is his mainstay. And, up next for a September release is “Oh My Friend”, a romantic comedy.

Then there is Deepa Mehta's “Winds of Change” too, adapted from Salman Rushdie's novel. He signs off with a satisfied smile, “I am working everyday.”

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