He worked as a stylish, yet smart cop in Dhruva and has now undergone a miraculous transformation to play the role of a villager in Rangasthalam. So, how does Ram Charan accomplish this? The actor shares, “An actor’s longevity lies in playing roles which challenge him and push him to explore something new. Times have changed and the audience have become wiser. They want it different and they like to know that you have put in some efforts as an actor for a film. Above all, if you are not excited to do a character – be it Dhruva or Rangasthalam, there is no point in doing a film.”
How did he trust Sukumar, known for his quirky love stories, to pull off a hardcore masala film the right way? “I play Chitti Babu, a partially hearing impaired innocent guy. The logic behind this guy’s disorder has been wonderfully knitted in the film. Initially, I was a bit apprehensive to do this film and wondered as to how can Sukumar balance my character. Much to my surprise, he used this disability to the character’s advantage in comedy, romance, drama and action sequences. In every emotion, he got this characterisation beautifully that we never felt Chitti Babu and the film was two different aspects. There is something new about his expressions, mannerisms and body language. In fact, each character in
the movie is distinctive in their own way.”
Charan can’t stop gushing over the film. “The crux of the film lies in the greenery depicting beautiful locales, aesthetics and the golden-brown hue with dryness which I see as an important factor in the film apart from Samantha and my characterisations. All credit to Rathnavelu, the director of photography.”
The Magadheera actor, however, talks of one challenge he faced playing Chitti Babu. “I found the Godavari dialect tough as the pace of speaking is too fast. I had to master the accent and make the audience understand it. Sukumar was really particular about every single word I say in this film, without giving room for anyone (critics) to find fault with my characterisation."
Right from the costumes to accent and locations, he ensured that everything was completely authentic and if you watch the film, you will understand it.”
About how Rangasthalam could be a game changer for Telugu cinema, he says, “Stories with rural backdrop seem to working well in Telugu. Soggade Chinni Nayana and Fidaa were hits. I am sure that the story of guy who earns only Rs 500 and is not familiar with cities will strike a chord with the audiences. I’ve underplayed the character to make him look real. It helped that director Sukumar and I used to think alike (about Chitti Babu).”
The film shows the 32-year-old star in a lungi-clad and bearded look.
“Not many people knew that I have been wearing veshti (white lungis) at home for the last three years. When Sukumar came to narrate Rangasthalam, he was surprised to see me in a lungi. After the narration, when I asked him about the look of the protagonist, he said what you were wearing is your costume in the film. He believed that I was always comfortable in lungis.”
The trailer shows a restrained Ram Charan with great composure, speaking with his eyes that remind us of his father and megastar Chiranjeevi. Talking about how he evolved as an actor, Charan explains, “I feel honoured and take it as a huge compliment when people compare me with my dad. My inspiration comes from my characters. When you are in a thought process of doing some good films or play different characters, such roles will naturally come to you. I’m in a happy space to understand films, pick and choose right roles.”
It’s been 10 years in the industry and does he still think there is pressure on him to deal with on account of being a star kid and the very need to prove himself again and again with his every film? Pat comes the reply, “I never blame someone for my thought process. I received accolades for my earlier performances. Be it Magadheera or Orange, the feedback has been the same. So, I don’t think people will scrutinise your performance just for the sake of it. If they like it that’s it else they are free to express their thoughts.”
For Charan, the biggest takeaway from Rangasthalam is, “We shot for 40 days in a village filled with tribals and infested with Maoists. So, the security was really tight. Adding to that, we have nothing there. We have created everything and we stayed on the banks of a river. We enjoyed fishing, drove boats, drank river water which was sweeter than bottled water. It’s a journey of self-discovery. I called on my wife and we stayed together there for 20 days. It’s most picturesque location which after some years, might not exist because of Polavaram project as it may submerge.”
So, what are his expectations on Rangasthalam? “Honestly, I’m not anticipating anything for Rangasthalam. Although it may sound boring, more than awards, people’s rewards are what ultimately matters to me. It feels good when your parents and friends say I’m proud to be your father/mother and friend. That’s enough!”
What’s next? “Rajamouli, NTR and I met and agreed to work on a film together. But I wasn’t given any narration as yet. I will start shooting for Boyapati Srinu’s film from April 10 and it will release around Dasara. I’m also committed to working on a film with Koratala Siva and we will divulge all the details soon.”