HYDERABAD: “Time ki cinemaku potha, time ki mandhu konta…” Kaushik said. “Time ki interview ista!” Priyadarshee did. Asked him, “em chesthuntavu?” For a change, he didn’t say “na saavu nenu sastha, neeku enduku!” instead he opened up about his childhood, college and his initial days of struggle in the industry.
Idealism in mind and confidence in heart, Priyadarshee says "I don't know what I want, but I know what I don't want."
Since my childhood, I was always in awe with moving images. I wanted to know what was happening behind the TV, how come things are different. I was intrigued by everything that had to do with life and people.
Big bad academics:
I studied at Hyderabad Sainik School, Saidabad and in high school moved to the University of Hyderabad campus as my father got transferred. I hated the sciences and my grades were going down. I started exploring the creative arts. Bunking classes and attending theatre workshops occupied my days. I enjoyed languages because it had stories.
I loved poetry. I had two tangents in my head while I was growing up. I would have a crush on every woman I met. Second, political inclinations. Crime moved and provoked me. I started to develop opinions on people and became an anti-corporations-movement kind of a guy.
Intermediate felt like a concentration camp. I was never a fit. I went for IIT, AIEEE and EAMCET coaching. I never understood them. I used to go for was English, Telugu and Sanskrit classes. It was like an oasis in the desert.
Then somehow I cleared through supplementary examinations and I royally flunked EAMCET. I thanked God for it, at least I am not pursuing engineering anymore. However, I opted for Maths at MNR college with specialisation in MPCS. If it wasn't for the friends the college meant nothing to me.
I told my dad this was not meant for me and that I wanted to pursue . the cinematography at FTII in Pune. My parents always thought that industry is like a pathetic place where families control and nepotism is the game changer. I was never that kind of a guy who would fit for the industry in terms of appearance but talent was my key. My idols were never the stars but character actors such as Kota Srinivas Rao, Prakash Raj, S V Ranga Rao and Naseeruddin Shah.
Beauty, idealism and Marxism:
Due to some financial issues, I could not afford FTII and my father adviced me to take up Communications. Through a lot of readings about feminism, Marxism and other related subjects, I realised what life really is. Now when I look back, I realise those five years of education had a great effect on me.
I landed into a production house. I was getting peanuts for the kind of work. It kind of helped me to get into the industry and I understood how film industry works at the first place. I came with romanticised ideas on how to change the place. All my zeal faded away.
I started doing short films and wedding films as a freelancer. Then I started to act for Tharun Bhascker, who in turn introduced me to his team with whom I worked and learnt. I came to the crossroads of thinking, if I should take up direction or acting. Junoon happened and I aggressively started to look for offers.I went to every audition in Hyderabad. It was all good because I got to learn a lot as I never had a formal kind of learning in acting.
One day, I took my short films to MJ Bikshu, my guru. I showed him my work on my phone. He told me " Okay, this is not bad. But, I will teach you. Come to my house". I told him " I don't have money" (laughs). Then he replied "It's okay, you are like my son. I'll teach you for free."
I got my first break in 2012 for the film By-pass road, LMD colony, which never released. Then I did Bangaru Padam. After that, Nirvana happened and then came Bommalaramaram. My father didn't really approve of what I was doing.
The journey was pathetic, the money was less and on top it, the films I worked got stalled. I was broke, I took up a marketing job, selling products. I started to do wedding films which was humiliating. I taught farmers about camera, worked as a lecturer at central university and worked at an NGO. I did odd jobs to survive.
Then I auditioned for Tharun Bhascker for one of his film which didn't materialise. Then I did Terror, which was from a big production house film. The film didn't do well. Then, I got an offer for the movie Ghazi.
And then came the audition of Pellichupulu. I did only negative roles, so he was not sure. He told me that he didn't have any character. Then I told him if I could give an audition. He called me to ask If I was interested in doing the role. In my typical tone, I asked him, "Bro, so you think I can do it" and then I told myself "You are getting work and what else do you want". Then Pellichupulu happened.
Films on hand:
With Raj Tharun, NaveenChandra, Naga Chaitanya, Mahesh Babu
IIFA moment. I was zoned out. I just took the award thanked my parents and came down.
Food is the same, I take a box from my home. I share curries from the production unit.
Two days a week. I now take care of my skin by applying sunscreen
I want to have just one outfit, like Mark Zuckenberg, so that I don’t waste time choosing it
Working with Mahesh babu:
One day, I was taken to director AR Murgaddos. I recalled all my childhood memories when I used to idolise him watching his films. He is like a kid, full of energy and wished me luck. On the first day of shoot, RJ Balaji was there. Then came Mahesh Babu, he greeted me and recognised me. I was like, “was he really greeting me?” I just looked around to make sure he was talking to me. He is amazing that way.