Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Interview with Siddharth

Siddharth, who made a splash with Rang De Basanti, returns with Striker again. He talks to Sandhya Iyer on why he stayed away from Hindi films all this while and how he has enormous hopes from Striker

Siddharth, as the brooding cynic in Rang De Basanti, became an immediate sensation when the film released in 2006. However, the star did a disappearing act and went back to his Telugu films soon after. Beyond the gossip concerning his now-on-now off relationship with Soha Ali Khan, there was no news of him and one wondered if he had given up on his Bollywood dreams altogether. Now, as it turns out, the actor is back with Chandan Arora’s Striker that releases on November 5.

So where was he all this while, we ask him. Male stars from the South have mostly struggled it find a firm footing in Bollywood and Siddharth just seemed to throw it all away. The actors accounts for his absence by saying he was waiting for the correct film, among a few other reasons. “Rang De Basanti was a lovely experience. None of us expected it to become the kind of success it became. And I was also happy to break into the industry. But after RDB, I set my expectations very high. I also wanted to consolidate my position in Telugu films. I had just started out there and didn’t want to be a passing cloud. Now, I am a bonafide star in Telgu cinema, so that is not a worry. From a long time, I was waiting for the correct Hindi film. I wanted to play the solo hero, also I didn’t want a role that was an extension of RDB. So when Striker came along, I felt it satisfied all the criterias,” he says, speaking with great rapidity.

One believes he was also offered films like Rock On!! and Delhi 6, which he turned down? “ Yes, there were these films, and Hook N Crook also, which I didn’t do. I feel one has to do a film for the right reasons. I don’t regret those films, whether they turned out to be very good or very bad. I turned them down for my reasons,” he stresses.

Talking about why he accepted Striker, he says, “I had loved both of Chandan Arora’s earlier films ( Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon and Main Meri Patni Aur Woh.) and wanted to work with him. We were in talks for another film actually and during the pre-production, he narrated a few scripts to me, and Striker was one of them. It was the best script I had read and we decided to go ahead with this one,” he says.

The film set in the mid-80s in a Bombay ghetto in Malvani. The protagonist, Surya (Siddharth) is born into a poor family and often suffers from poor health, which confines him indoors. His brother introduces him to the game of carrom and he proves to be an ace in it. As he grows older, he’s keen to find a job in Dubai – as was the trend among the youth of the ghetto in the 80s – but gets duped by the employment agency. All his hard-earned money is lost, Surya is forced to cross paths with Jaleel, a shady, feared figure in the ghetto. He is introduced to the underworld carrom scene by a friend, and the rest of the story is about how Surya takes on Jaleel on his own turf.
Corrom is used as a metaphor in the film, one that points at human relationships and its ups and downs.

According to Siddharth, Chandan’s biggest quality as a director is his attention to detail and his honest sense of story-telling. “This is a huge film for Chandan and I can tell you that the film will bring him a lot of success. And in the future he will be able to make exactly the kind of films he wishes to do,” he says.

Doing his own kind of films seems to be one of the actor’s priorities and he isn’t humble about it at all. That’s one of the reasons why the actor is keen to do solo hero films. “It’s important that I become a salable star myself, so that I am able to do the films I like. I do not wish to be an ensemble-cast specialist or a shadow to someone. First I would like to set myself as a commercially viable solo actor, and then I don’t mind taking up all the ensemble cast films in the world. Look, in Telugu films, I can commission any script I like. I okay it and in three weeks, the film goes on floors. That’s what I want to achieve in Hindi films also,” he says.
Now that Siddharth has set his mind on a career in Bollywood, he says, he will be actively shuttling between the two industries – Hindi and Telugu. In fact, the actor is even looking for a home in Mumbai.

For now of course, he can’t contain his excitement over Striker, which he believes has turned out brilliantly. But what about competition from the biggie, My Name Is Khan that arrives one week after his film. Siddharth is quick to reply, “I think we underestimate the power of the boxoffice. It can accommodate even four big films at one time. And it’s good for the audience that they will get to see two beautiful films in one month. We feel very special that an extraordinary filmmaker like Karan Johar is releasing his film along with ours. It would be a nice feeling to see an Shah Rukh Khan poster at the same time as ours. Also, you won’t know where you stand unless you run the race with the big horses. We are happy to run this,” he says.


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September 24, 2015 at 12:46 AM  

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