Pushpa is one of the most challenging films of my career: Allu Arjun

Allu Arjun spoke about his Chennai roots, the challenges of making 'Pushpa: The Rise' and his collaboration with the team at a pre-release event in Chennai.
 Allu Arjun in pre-release event of Pushpa in Chennai
Allu Arjun in pre-release event of Pushpa in Chennai
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Actors Allu Arjun, Rashmika Mandanna and Fahadh Faasil are gearing up for the release of their long-awaited pan-Indian project Pushpa: The Rise on December 17. Ahead of its release, Allu Arjun, along with his co-stars, have been promoting the film at various press conferences in the southern states. On Tuesday, December 14, team Pushpa held a pre-release press meet in Chennai in the presence of actor Allu Arjun. Music composer Devi Sri Prasad, lyricist Madhan Karky who has penned the dialogues for the Tamil version and Annaatthe fame director Siva were in attendance. The event was also attended by producers Tamil Kumaran of Lyca Productions, Allu Bobby, Kalaipuli S Thanu and RB Choudary, among others.  

Speaking to reporters in Tamil, Allu Arjun stated how he felt it was important to him that the movie be released in Tamil Nadu. Interestingly, the Ala Vaikuntapurramuloo actor was born in and lived in Chennai for the first 20 years of his life. “When composer DSP (Devi Sri Prasad) and others watched the movie, they told us that it looks like a Tamil film. I laughingly said I am a Tamil guy,” he stated. He further added that although his movies have topped the list of most-watched Indian films on YouTube, he stated how he wants one of his films to have a good reach in Tamil Nadu, which he said he believes is like his home state. 

Allu Arjun essays the role of a lorry driver who smuggles red sandalwood in Pushpa. “We could have come to Tamil Nadu with other films, but we wanted to come with a good movie. Since the film is set against the backdrop of Tirupathi which is located on the Andhra-Tamil Nadu border and the plot is about sandalwood smuggling, we believe it will connect with Tamilians. It is the kind of film that everyone can connect to,” he said. 

Extending his gratitude to director Sukumar as well as other guests, he revealed that he has been waiting to work with the director for years. “Pushpa marks my reunion with director Sukumar after a decade. I have asked him about collaborating for projects, but he wanted the movie to match the expectations. That is how Pushpa was born and it is one of the most challenging films of my career,” he shared.  

The actor recollected how shooting for the film wasn’t easy for the cast and crew. “We had to shoot in remote forests. Some of the places did not have roads through which one could access the locations. Because of COVID-19, we also had to cut down on the size of the crew.  We have been shooting for two years. I have been saying that the efforts we have put in for Pushpa is equivalent to that of four films.”  

Clearing the air around the meet-and-greet event with fans held in Telangana’s N Convention Centre where fans got injured, Allu Arjun, who is fondly known as the ‘icon star’ said: “We did not expect 15,000 people to turn up. We thought the turnout would be 5000. Since the organisers did not get permission for conducting the event with so many people, it had to be cancelled at the eleventh hour. It was unfortunate that some fans travelled from far off places to attend the event. However, I assure that if not before the film, a meet and greet event can be held after the release of Pushpa.”

Pushpa stars actor Rashmika Mandanna as the female lead. Speaking about the collaboration, Allu Arjun stated, “The script demanded a heroine to not get too embroiled into the glamour aspect since we wanted the character to look real. Rashmika got into the skin of the character and delivered an authentic performance.” In a pre-recorded interview released by the makers of the film, Rashmika said, “I have no idea how I pulled off Srivali. Only Sukumar sir and Bunny sir had seen that I could perform that character. It’s very different from the other characters I have performed. I think the chemistry between Srivalli and Pushpa has also come out well on screen. When I was watching the film, I also enjoyed how there’s mischief, love and romance between our characters in the film.”  

Meanwhile, Arjun added that he is saving details about his collaboration with popular Mollywood actor Fahadh Faasil for Pushpa’s pre-release event taking place in Kochi. 

Lyricist Madhan Karky, who has penned the dialogues for the Tamil dubbed version, pointed out that they have tried to retain the authenticity of the performances while changing the dialect. Meanwhile, composer DSP, who is also one of Allu Arjun’s closest friends, revealed that he has always wanted to see his friend ‘Bunny’ (Allu Arjun) in a Tamil movie. “I had told director Sukumar and Bunny that this is a Tamil movie they are making in Telugu since I feel the tale of a rugged hero like Pushpa would be appealing to the Tamil audiences,” Devi Sri Prasad observed, while adding that he is elated about the fact that the soundtracks from the film have received positive responses in all languages including Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi.  

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