Actor Nikhil Siddharth, who was last seen in the blockbuster Swamy Ra Ra, hopes to break new ground with his new bilingual film Karthikeya. The Happy Days fame actor, who unlike his contemporaries has limited himself to doing one film a year and that too sporadically says, “Yes it has been a slow process but I do believe that people only remember hit films. People remember my films like Yuvatha, Happy Days and Kalavar King. I have done 10 films so far and I feel that doing one or two film in a year is pretty cool for me.”
Terming Swamy Ra Ra as a giant leap which increased his marketability, Nikhil Siddharth hopes that Karthikeya will take him higher. The actor, who has been compared to Ravi Teja when it comes to the kind of roles he has done so far in films, says it was the need to move away from labels that made him take up Karthikeya. “After Swamy Ra Ra I wanted to do another good film and the best thing about Karthikeya is the script value. It’s a very good role, something which people have not seen me do earlier. The script is very realistic and not like a run-of-the-mill commercial entertainer. The songs in the film take the story forward and even action sequences that take place are very realistic,” feels Nikhil.
Revealing more about the role, the actor says, “I play a character which is always very curious. Sort of like a Sherlock Holmes kind of a person. It’s like if you tell Karthikeya to go into a haunted house, he will go without a moment’s thought to explore further.”
Karthikeya will also see Nikhil team up with his Swamy Ra Ra co-star Swati Reddy with whom he shares a “very good chemistry”. The film also features Tanikella Bharani, who Nikhil likens to a “walking encyclopedia”. “I am very happy to have gotten a chance to work and learn from Tanikella garu. He has directed a brilliant film like Mithunam. And it was a delight to work with him. During shooting I would ask him questions and he would always have a comeback for it,” gushes the 29-year old, who was asked to put on weight for the character. “I have been on the leaner side. Since I was mouthing some pretty heavy dialogues, and in order to fit the personality, I put on some 10 kgs and had to look more muscular so that I would fill out my shirt.”
However, it was not only lifting heavy weights for Nikhil. He also had to do research for the role which involved spending time with medical students and doctors before the shooting. Interestingly, the actor is scared of injections and blood, something which he had to overcome to pull off the character.
“I met a lot of doctors and MBBS students to get a feel of how they behave, their mannerisms. I hate injections and can’t stand the sight of blood but I had to overcome all that. I had done similar research for Happy Days where I played an engineering student,” shares Nikhil.
While his contemporaries like Varun Sandesh and Tamannah have gone on to many films and have become big stars in their own right, Nikhil is content to take it slow and steady.
However, given the chance he would like to work Sekhar Kammula again and Rajamouli who he feels “gets the best out of actors”.
In the meantime, with offers coming in from the Tamil film industry, the actor is waiting for the response to the Tamil version of Karthikeya before signing on the dotted line.
“People from Kollywood, who have seen the trailers are very impressed with it. Within few days, it had gotten two lakh views. There have been offers from the industry but I’m waiting for the response to Karthikeya in Tamil before I begin accepting offers,” comments Nikhil.
With many actors from Kollywood taking up Telugu films as well, Nikhil opines it’s good trend. “Every actor needs to expand his marketability. My aim is get as many eyeballs as I can for the film. We have a lot of Tamil heroes coming to Tollywood so we can also try our luck there. It’s a good thing.” The actor meanwhile is pinning all hope on Karthikeya which has been shot extensively in various locations like Pondicherry, Kumbakonam, Araku and Bobbilli. Our director Chando Mondeti has a superstition that since it’s named after Karthikeya, a snake should come for good luck during shooting. However that didn’t happen. It was while we were shooting for the end that a rattlesnake came in. It didn’t harm anyone though everyone was pretty scared. So we have high hopes that the movie will do well.”
Karthikeya stars Nikhil Siddharth, Swati Reddy, Tanikella Bharani and is directed by Chando Mondeti.