Chetan is among those rare actors who gives equal attention to his two passions - cinema and social work. In a conversation with City Express on his latest film, Athiratha, he says “I always believed art has a very strong force in creating social change. Before joining the film industry, I worked in street theatre and I directed various plays that involved social issues, about women empowerment. Even to this day, I believe, being an artist and an activist goes hand in hand.”
He says people look at cinema only in terms of collections and revenue. “For me, cinema is beyond that and I like to think that cinema and social responsibility are complementary and has a huge bearing and influence on society,” he says.In Athiratha, the actor plays the role of a journalist. About the profession, he says, “I have always respected the media and journalism and in many ways they are teachers to all of us today because they educate us about various issues. Media influences minds like cinema influences modern life among people. I play a TV anchor in the film,” he says.
In the film, Chetan uses the media to bring a social impact especially when his family and friends are put in a precarious situation. “We can use the media to create awareness about struggles in society and find solutions to problems,” he says.Is Chetan finding the same excitement, in cinema today like he does as a social acitivity? He says, “I grow with each film, but at the same time, I have potential to actually make people’s life better. Recently, in Thirthahalli, we helped 512 families get homes because of the fight we put up. Their entire livelihood was improved.”
Acting is a thrill, but changing somebody’s life, Chetan says gives him a lot more satisfaction than making money and performing. “In some ways I want both. But somewhere, social service gives me meaning,” he adds.The film has him associated with director Mahesh Babu, who he commends for being a very creative person who could connect with him on an artistic level. The film also marks the debut of Latha Hegde, who also plays the role of an NRI journalist.