In conversation with TNM, Rahul talks about his upcoming movie ‘Mithai’, being a first-time scriptwriter, working with actor and long-time friend Priyadarshi, and more.

Moving beyond playing the loyal friend in Telugu films Rahul Ramakrishna talks to TNM
Flix Interview Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 12:57

Rahul Ramakrishna the actor is busy. He is juggling a few projects and shuttling from one location to another. Rahul Ramakrishna the writer is anxious, as his next movie Mithai is due for release on February 22. Rahul Ramakrishna the singer already made his debut with Husharu last year. Needless to say, Rahul Ramakrishna the lyricist is the one who penned hit numbers for Pelli Choopulu and Sainma. The multi-faceted actor has moved beyond playing Shiva, the loyal friend in Telugu cinema who always has the hero’s back. Rahul is now expanding his boundaries and has even put his marriage on the back burner until, in his words, the audience is ‘tired of his face and voice’.

In a breezy conversation with TNM, Rahul Ramakrishna talks about his upcoming movie Mithai, being a first-time scriptwriter, on working with actor and long-time friend Priyadarshi, and more.

Actor, lyricist, writer – what do you enjoy being the most? Or are you greedy enough to pursue a career in all three?

I don’t enjoy most of my work so I always try and not associate myself with any of these roles or my work. There have been very few occasions when I have liked what I have written or performed and those happen to be absolutely minuscule pieces of work. So there is no greed in this pursuit, just a constant hungry drive towards refinement and purity.

You have co-written the dialogues for Mithai, your upcoming film. How has it influenced or helped your performance in the movie?

Co-writing the dialogues made it easy for me to remember my lines. But I won’t take credit for the dialogue writing part as there have been various sources and efforts made in writing the dialogues. For example, Bhushanji wrote his own dialogues. Vijay Marur Saab preferred an older version of the dialogue script that was written by writer Janardhan Garu. Darshi (actor Priyadarshi), being Darshi, never liked my dialogues so he improvised his own. In summation, it’s a mix and match of a lot of people’s writing and efforts.

Priyadarshi and you have been friends for a long time now. And both of you are among the best humour artistes in the industry currently. How has this combination helped your characters on screen in Mithai?

I have known Darshi for almost a decade now and so it has become very easy to work with him in front of the camera. We have classic ways of ripping apart each other’s silly egos, so I guess knowing him for a long time is actually a value addition to the films we work together in.

Can you tell us more about Mithai? Not from the viewpoint of an actor, but as someone who has penned the script for the film.

Mithai is an experiment. It is wholly Prashanth’s (Prashanth Kumar, the director) film. He has churned it out of a great passion towards cinema. I have personally found some parts of the film extremely hilarious. But like always, the final judgement rests with the audience.

Many of your characters have redefined the chemistry of the ‘hero’s best friend’ with the hero on screen. What is your understanding of friendship as portrayed in Indian cinema?

I don’t think one needs to have an understanding of friendship to portray ‘the hero’s best friend’. It is mostly enough if we get to play our own natural selves and not go overboard with excessive, sycophantic humour or pitiable servitude, which has been done to death in the last two decades.

A still from Arjun Reddy

You were a journalist for a long time. Has the profession helped or honed your career as an actor in any manner?

Yes in many ways, but acting or, for that matter, any kind of performance art requires one to have observation and oratory skills, an interest in literature, knowledge of sound and vocabulary. While journalism doesn’t teach you how to act, being a journalist certainly teaches you to be observant.

You are known to be quite vocal on Twitter. Many a time you have also openly accepted the flaws in your films. Has this rattled the industry, and have you ever been asked to tone it down?

Rahul replies quite humbly: Rattled?! (laughs) My views and I are small and inconsequential for the powers that be.

A still from Sammohanam

What are the things you keep in mind while choosing a character? If uncomfortable, do you make it a point to voice your protest?

I have had a few unsavoury moments in the past where my character has endorsed regressive traits. I am still learning the art of saying ‘No’.

You will be seen in a pivotal role in the American movie Silk Road. How did you land a role in this indie movie?

Silk Road happened because of Pradeep’s (Pradeep Katasani, the director) keen desire to make me his slave in front of the camera ever since he first watched me perform in Sainma. (Laughs)

You had to cancel your wedding plans because of your hectic schedule. Does that mean we can see more of Rahul Ramakrishna on the screen in the coming years? (In all three roles perhaps?!)

Yes, you will be seeing me till you get tired of my face and voice. And then, I shall go and duly get married to my dearest.

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