Allu Arjun on Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo: Glad to do a lighthearted entertainer after a spate of serious films
Allu Arjun discusses reuniting with Trivikram Srinivas for the third time, why one should not run down on mainstream cinema, and his film with AR Murugadoss.
Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo is Telugu leading star Allu Arjun's third film with Trvikram Srinivas, the most sought after Telugu filmmaker after SS Rajamouli.
“My previous release Naa Peru Surya, Naa Illu India was a serious film so I took a break to do a lighthearted family entertainer. Not all directors can handle a family entertainer film featuring a star hero. According to me, Trivikram rightly balances the family drama genre for a star, who also needs songs and action sequences to satisfy his target audiences. You have to understand that family drama is different from the family entertainer. For a festival like Sankranti, people go to the theater for entertainment and celebration. Both Trivikram and I picked a script that suits this festival. Before Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, we discussed another story but it didn’t materialise," says Allu Arjun, in an exclusive interview to Firstpost.
Irrespective of music composers, songs in Allu Arjun’s films have always become chartbusters. “Each actor has a core strength. My biggest strength is the hit songs, and the way I justify those beautiful tracks. After a long time, people say that an entire album has become a hit with Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, composed by Thaman. Critics say that the composers give their best to me. But I think they feel responsible, and work hard to deliver hit numbers as most of my previous songs were chartbusters," the actor spells out the recipe behind his hit songs.
Allu Arjun is quite popular on YouTube. His dubbed Hindi films have registered millions of views.
“The problem is that Bollywood has started making films only for multiplexes. The scale of appreciation for commercial and art house films is different.
For an offbeat film, people post long write-ups dissecting the brilliance of the movies but there are millions of people who go to movies for entertainment. They can’t appreciate the aspects of a well-made entertainer on Facebook but the box office revenue is the standing proof of such quality entertainers. I respect parallel cinema but at the same time, one should not consider commercial mass entertainer as an inferior genre. Bollywood has started ignoring the crowd-favourite genre, and started delivering content keeping only the urban-centric audiences in mind. I see the astounding reception for the dubbed films in Hindi, especially in satellite channels only because they are not making such films in their local language," explains the actor on why there is a huge demand for dubbed films in the Hindi satellite market.
Recently, Ranveer Singh also made a similar statement in Film Companion’s roundtable discussion. I quoted Ranveer’s statement, saying he did not get enough appreciation for Simmba, whereas critics raved about Gully Boy but the effort for both the films is the same. “Yes, as I said, a guy would have loved or got shaken up by a commercial entertainer but he can’t express it any form of media available today. He would have probably discussed with his friends in a tea shop or over dinner. But for an art house film, you get a lot of appreciations, and hence, actors started picking those films. I love both styles of filmmaking. There is nothing inferior or superior here," adds the actor.
Allu Arjun is one actor who always picks unique characters although most of his films are aimed at the masses. “More than the characters, I would not do two consecutive films in the same genre. I also try to change my looks in each film."
In Telugu, four films, including superstar Rajinikanth-starrer Darbar, are releasing this Sankranti. But each film has been spaced out with a gap of a day or a few days. At the pre-release event of Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, Arjun wished Rajinikanth, Mahesh Babu, and Nandamuri Kalyanram for the success of their respective films. “Sankranti is a big festival in the Telugu states. There was a time when four films released for the festival, and all of them ran well at the box office. The Sankranti season got the potential for multiple releases. We have spaced out because our distributors should recover the investment. At the end of the day, the same distributor would buy one of my upcoming films so they have to survive”, says Arjun, on the heavy competition this Sankranti.
In his career, Allu Arjun has also attempted experimental films but some of his attempts like Vedam did not perform well at the box office, and only earned him a lot of awards. “The thing is once you become a star, you should never try to become an actor. It’s very difficult to get into the star vehicle so one should not step down from it. All the young actors entering the industry only to become stars so why one should miss the status? I would rather suggest stars to become performers within the commercial zone. Look at Leonardo DiCaprio. He never accepts small films but rightly picks characters which wouldn't diminish the star image," he says.
Clearing the air about the rumoured film with AR Murugadoss, Arjun says, “Yes, the talks are on. Chennai is the place where I born and grew up so I definitely want to do a Tamil film but it should also appeal to the audiences in the Telugu states and North India. Murugadoss is primarily a Tamil director but he got a market in Telugu and Hindi. I also want to be a South Indian star who owns a pan-India market. This is my ultimate goal."
As a star who has got a huge number of fans, Arjun feels he must not misguide them. “Most of the kids enjoy watching dance numbers on TV. In one of my songs, I smoked a cigar, and immediately, my son started replicating it at home. From that incident, I don’t smoke a cigar in songs. I also try not to degrade women in films. I make sure to not go overboard in smooching scenes so that all kinds of audiences can happily come and watch my films," says the actor.
Arjun has set the benchmark higher in the dancing department so is it difficult to improvise the choreography in each film? “Not really, there are plenty of dance styles. Out of 10 ideas, only two gets executed in our films." Being one of the best dancers in the country, can we soon expect a full-fledged dance-based film? “I wouldn’t do a dance-based film. Dance is nothing but an ingredient in cinema. You shouldn’t go overboard with it," signs off the actor.
All images from YouTube.
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"In our industry, we tend to bracket people based on their looks, and the common perception that people have of you is that your real-life persona matches with that of your reel-life image. I want to break that notion. I want to play all sorts of roles."