Karthikeya swears by cinema and follows the rules of his art. He does two-three films a year, seamlessly transforms into the characters, juggles between locations, believes in eating clean and exercising right. In a promotional tour around Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to promote his forthcoming romantic action entertainer , he asserts in this candid conversation that “I like experimenting with new genres and not comfortable doing something that is vulgar and indecent in my films.”
Life has changed seemingly fast for him after the stupendous success of RX 100. “The release day of RX 100 (July 12, 2018) was magical and things changed for good. It’s the turning point in my career and the popularity and acceptance have reached another level,” he says. He is excited about 90 ML that revolves around a youngster who can’t survive without drinking liquor three times a day. Karthikeya plays Sekhar Reddy and newcomer Neha Solanki plays his love interest. The film is directed by Yerra Sekhar Reddy. His looks, storyline and dialogues in the promos have already garnered attention. “The response to my tour has been amazing. My dialogue in the teaser “Rey...diesel tho nadiche bandi chusuntav...petrol tho nadiche bandlani chusuntav...idhi liquor tho nadiche bandi...gudhithe address undadhu...” has become popular and where ever I go, people have been saying these lines to me,” says Karthikeya with an overwhelming sense of joy.
He continues, “It’s a unique concept which is entertaining right from the first frame. The film is quite challenging because the story is quirky, entertaining with an emotional undercurrent, and therefore, a new experience for me.”He adds that to play the part, he has taken several films as the reference point.“I have observed the body language and mannerisms of the protagonists in films like Kick, Race Gurram and Bhale Bhale Magadivoy and internalised the character. Personally, I am a jovial, fun-loving person and I am able to relate to this character a lot,” reveals Karthikeya.
The young actor is unfazed by the mixed responses of his last outings and feels more responsible as an actor now. “When you are nothing, it’s easy to become something. Failures have happened early in my career and I understood that I should be more responsible as an actor. Hippi is a film with a different concept and was backed by a big production house. Guna 369 has a wonderful theme that is still close to my heart. Even today, a lot of people say really good things about the message the film has carried and about my performance in the climax. This film earned me a lot of respect as an actor and I don’t know why it didn’t work. Maybe, the audience thought there was a lag in the narration. So, 90 ML is my ray of hope and being my home production, extra care has been taken to ensure that it lives up to the expectations. I have learnt this quality from actor Nani, who largely contributes to a film and takes responsibility for everything. I ensured nothing misfires this time around.”
He had always been interested in donning lead roles but tried his hand at playing a negative role which earned him brownie points for his performance in Nani’s Gang Leader. “I am unhesitant about playing negative roles. RX 100 helped me to reach to youth and Gang Leader took me closer to the mainstream audience,” explains the actor, who is currently shooting for newcomer Sri Saripalli’s action entertainer. Any thoughts about RX 100 sequel? “Director Ajay Bhupathi and I never flirted with the idea of making a sequel to it. It’s a cult film and I don’t want to ruin its reputation by trying something out of it. Except for the Baahubali franchise, the majority of sequels failed to show their magic at the ticket window,” he ruminates.
— Murali Krishna CH