Bellamkonda Sai Sreenivas on Kavacham, failure of Saakshyam, and obsession with action films

Hemanth Kumar

Dec 11, 2018 11:37:44 IST

After acting in films like Jaya Janaki Nayaka and Saakshyam, Bellamkonda Sai Sreenivas is back with yet another action packed film, Kavacham.

The youngster is playing the role of a cop for the first time in his career, and by his own admission, he did not anticipate that he would play this character so early in his career. Almost every actor worth his salt has played the role of a powerful cop at least in his career, including the likes of Mahesh Babu, Pawan Kalyan, NTR Jr, Ram Charan and Ravi Teja to name a few. It is one of the roles that usually catapults an actor’s image to a whole new level. “It’s considered to be the ultimate emotion, especially by the masses, isn’t it?” Sai Sreenivas beams with joy about playing the role. “Ever since the first look was released, the response has been extremely positive. A lot of my peers in the industry have been complimenting me for doing this so early in my career.”

Bellamkonda Sai Sreenivas and Kajal Aggarwal in a still from Kavacham. YouTube

Bellamkonda Sai Sreenivas and Kajal Aggarwal in a still from Kavacham

The actor recalls being an ardent fan of action films ever since he began watching cinema, and it also reflects in the films he has been choosing right from the beginning of his career. In fact, Sai Sreenivas adds that he would rather do an action film than a romantic drama. “I believe that with action films, you can narrate a lot more stories and for actors too, it gives us plenty of scope to show variations in terms of our personality. The range and reach of romantic dramas is limited, but action films give you a huge reach, if you do them right,” Sai Sreenivas says.

Talking about his latest film, Kavacham, the actor is all praise for filmmaker Srinivas Mamilla, who, Sreenivas says, took everyone by surprise throughout the shoot. Although he is making his directorial debut, Srinivas had worked as a co-director for films like Gopala Gopala and Drishyam in the past. It was his command over the craft that impressed the whole team. “When he first pitched the story to me, for the first 15 minutes, I thought it was just another action film. However, once he began narrating the core plot of the film, I was taken aback. It’s so fast paced and thrilling that I was on the edge of my seat. The second half of the film, especially, will keep the audience guessing. We thought that since Srinivas was making his debut, it’ll be good for the film if some big technicians like Chota K Naidu (cinematographer) and Thaman (music director) were part of the team. However, Srinivas Mamilla was ahead of the curve at every stage. He’s going to be one of the most promising filmmakers in Telugu cinema,” the actor reveals, adding, “I’ve never finished dubbing for a film so quickly in my career. I don’t know how I finished dubbing for the entire second half in just under five hours, and full credit goes to Srinivas for that.”

The film follows the journey of a sincere cop named Vijay, played by Sai Sreenivas, who gets wrongly implicated in a legal issue and how he manages to prove his innocence within 24 hours forms the crux of the story. “I used to watch a lot of Amitabh Bachchan’s films when I was young, and the name ‘Vijay’ is used a lot of times in his films. We retained the name as a sentiment,” he laughs.

The entire film was shot in 70 days. Towards the end of the shoot, the lead cast, including Sai Sreenivas, Kajal Aggarwal and Mehreen, had to race against time to finish the shoot. “There was a time when we recorded a song and shot for it on the same date. We wrapped up shooting for a song in just two days. Another time, I would shoot from 8 am to 6 pm for a song, and then quickly head to the dubbing studio to complete my work. It was really hectic, but I can guarantee that we didn’t compromise on the quality of the film,” he says.

Pooja Hegde and Bellamkonda Sai Sreenivas in a still from Saakshyam

Pooja Hegde and Bellamkonda Sai Sreenivas in a still from Saakshyam

Earlier this year, Sai Sreenivas and Pooja Hegde-starrer Saakshyam had released amidst quite a lot of buzz, owing to its star cast and huge action set pieces. However, the film did not quite do well at the box office. The actor confesses that he was hugely disappointed with the result of the film, but at the same time, he says that he did not have the time to brood over the result. “We spent nearly 165 days shooting for Saakshyam and I worked really hard on that film. As much as I am open to criticism and accept the result, I was disappointed that the film didn’t do well. Luckily, I had already begun shooting for Kavacham and my other film with director Teja, otherwise it would have taken me six more months to figure out what to do next,” Sreenivas admits.

Next year, the actor is planning to act in at least three more films, and it does not look like he is going to slow down anytime soon. Ask him why he is in such a rush to act in as many films as possible, he says, “I’m 25 now, and I want to do as many films as I can in the next five years. Who knows if I’ll have the same drive later on. So, I want to make use of the opportunities that are coming my way. At the same time, I won’t take anything for granted. With each film, I’m putting my name at stake, and I don’t want to spoil it. It’s really hard to earn trust and respect of people. I don’t have a huge fan base, yet. So, the idea is to select good scripts and hope that I don’t disappoint those who have faith in me.”

In a recent interview, his co-star, Kajal Aggarwal confessed that she really admires Sai Sreenivas because he does not use his family name and has the drive to prove himself with every film. “I believe that it helps in maintaining a healthy environment on the set and I ask all my directors, action and dance choreographers to treat me like a newcomer,” Sai Sreenivas says, adding, “Every other Friday, you see new talent emerging in the industry. In today's time and age, when there are so many platforms available for people to showcase their talent, you really need to put your best foot forward to make a name for yourself. There’s clearly no time to relax.”

All images from YouTube.

Updated Date: Dec 11, 2018 11:37:46 IST