'Badava Rascal', a comedy drama, is slated to be released in theatres on February 18. Starring Dhananjay of 'Pushpa' fame as the hero, the film is directed by Guru Shankar.
In this interview, the actor talks about the film, teaming up with Allu Arjun and Sukumar for 'Pushpa', his background, competition in the industry, and more.
Doing 'Pushpa' with Allu Arjun garu was a great experience. The big-ticket project was definitely a huge advantage for me. It was a blockbuster all over India. Wherever I go, people are identifying me with the character. I had a makeover in the film and therefore, not everyone knows that I am the one who played Jolly Reddy in the movie. Some fans in Karnataka asked me why I have done a role in a Telugu movie where I get beaten up. But, as an actor, I have to play the character as wanted by the director. I have played negative roles in the past as well. Before 'Pushpa', I did receive a number of offers in Telugu. But only 'Pushpa' made me believe that it would make a difference to my career. If good Telugu projects come my way, I am open to Tollywood.
'Badava Rascal' is a Kannada original. The film became a hit when it was released in theatres last year. The audience there liked the story, the entertainment quotient, and my character.
I am curious to know how the audience are going to receive the film here. In Kannada, middle-class audiences loved it immensely. Both this film and 'Pushpa' turned out to be back-to-back hits for me in Karnataka. 'Badava Rascal' ran to packed houses on single screens. This one couldn't have been an OTT release, given the emotions and sensibilities in it.
I have produced the movie and a friend of mine is one of the writers of the film. A friend of mine wanted to release the dubbed version in Telugu. I was game for it, as I felt that we can give it a try.
After we complete education and before we land a job, we enter a certain phase in life. Our film tells the story of a confused youngster who is in that tentative phase. The story unfolds in that phase. For middle-class youngsters, parents are their heroes. In this film, too, parents' characters play a decisive role.
I would call it a simple commercial entertainer where my character's father is an auto driver. After my education, I take the baton forward.
I have had a long journey since my first movie. Eight of my movies as a male lead didn't work at the box office. I played a negative role in a film and it became a big hit. People started calling me by my character's name, Dolly. For every actor, numbers matter. I turned a producer to tap into my strength. 'Badava Rascal' became a big hit and helped me understand the potential.
I believe in perseverance and honesty. I used to do dramas even as a child. My father is a teacher and I come from a small village. I was ready to do any kind of work in the film industry. I started out as an assistant director.
When you are playing the hero, you have certain limitations. When you are playing the villain, there are no constraints (laughs).
There is heavy competition in the industry. When 'Badava Rascal' was released in Kannada, films like 'Pushpa', '83', 'Shyam Singha Roy', 'Spiderman' and a couple of other releases were there. Despite the heavy influx of movies, my film did well.