BENGALURU: Life on the outskirts of the city on Kanakpura Road, far from traffic and polluted air; a new passion for fitness; mind brimming with new movie scripts... Actor-director Pawan Kumar’s life is enough to induce much envy. He calls it his “retirement life”, a phase he hopes never comes to an end. So what motivates him to step out of this fairy tale and be a part of the daily grind? Kumar laughs as he replies: “EMI and bills.”
The Bengalurean – who is currently working on Yogaraj Bhat’s Gallipata 2 where he plays the lead along with Ganesh and Diganth – went on a weight loss spree to don the part. “I am 37 years old but the character I play is in his 20s, so I had to undergo intense martial art training. Shooting was supposed to begin in January 2019, but kept getting postponed, which gave me time to spend six weeks in Thailand to learn Muay Thai,” says Kumar. One would assume the sessions were exhausting but it took him all of three days to get used to it. He also quit sugar for six weeks. The extreme weight loss, however, led to criticism from his friends and family, eventually leading to mellowed down food fads.
But the best part of these six weeks, he reveals, was a short-term detox from social media. This came as a relief for the actor-director, who finds the online world exhausting, with the fear of offending someone always looming large. This would explain the onslaught of funny content, usually revolving around his wife, Sowmya Jaganmurthy, and eight-year-old daughter, Laasya Pasowna, that he has been posting on his feed. “These two are the only ones who would not sue me for cracking jokes on them,” he laughs.
Kumar made his directorial debut in 2011, with Lifeu Ishtene, but it was his second film, Lucia, that earned him the ‘game changer’ title in the Kannada film industry. The movie quickly became one of the cult films of Sandalwood. After U-turn (which was later made in Telugu and Tamil as well) and co-directing the Netflix series, Leila, with Deepa Mehta and Shanker Raman, Kumar now wants to “shock everyone” by making a mass entertainer. “I have gone past the idea of making realistic movies. At the end of the day, commercial movies bring in the money.
Passion aside, we all have to pay our bills,” he says in a matter-of-fact way. He does confess that sometimes, he feels incapable of making such movies because it does not come naturally to him. Currently, Kumar is working on a couple of projects, which are in the initial stages, as he awaits the right frame of mind and finances to come into place. Until then, he’s found his happy hours in writing without pressure.