INTERVIEW | People perceiving me differently since 'Jailer', says Shivarajkumar
In an exclusive interview with CE, Shivarajkumar fondly called Shivanna by his legion of fans, shared his feelings about the overwhelming feedback for Jailer.
Everyone walked into Nelson’s Jailer expecting to be blown away by the aura of Superstar Rajinikanth, and understandably, they did too. But what hit the audience out of nowhere was the charismatic cameo of Kannada superstar Shivarajkumar, which has become the talk of the town cutting across linguistic backgrounds. If the Kannada audience were jubilant about the elevation to their Karunada Chakravarthy, other audiences, who were unaware of his superstardom, were inquisitive about the star of 125-odd films.
In an exclusive interview with CE, Shivarajkumar fondly called Shivanna by his legion of fans, shared his feelings about the overwhelming feedback for Jailer, and how he is grateful for the responses to his performance.
How does it feel to receive love and appreciation from a new audience for your role in Jailer?
Since the movie’s release, I’ve experienced a range of emotions. I was anxious about how my performance would be perceived. The audience’s perspective remains a mysterious and unpredictable element. The way people have perceived me since the release of Jailer has been different... it is heartwarming and humbling. I’m thankful for the affection shown for my appearance in Jailer, and I give a significant portion of the credit to director Nelson and, most importantly, the legendary Rajinikanth. His humility is evident in his willingness to share the screen with fellow actors, despite his superstar status.
Have you come across viral video edits of your work? How do you feel about them?
While I’m not very active on social media, I’ve been informed about my scenes becoming viral, and people around me have shown me these edited video clips of my work. It’s truly heartwarming to know that these videos are becoming a trend. I attribute this recognition to the blessings of my family, including Appaji, amma, my brother Puneeth Rajkumar, my wife, daughters, friends, and countless individuals across states and the world that showed such immense love for my performance.
How was it working in Jailer with stars from across industries?
Working with Rajinikanth has truly been a unique experience for me. I have had the chance to meet him in more casual settings, and there exists a special bond that traces back to my younger days. When it comes to Ramya Krishnan, we have previously collaborated on a Kannada film. She exudes brilliance and versatility as an actor, boasting remarkable talent. I haven’t had the opportunity to share screen space with Mohanlal, and even in Jailer, we didn’t have scenes together. But I am absolutely enthusiastic about the prospect of collaborating with him in the future.
You’ve worked with superstars from other industries before. Is industry solidarity important to you?
Yes, industry solidarity holds great importance for me. As exemplified in Vajrakaya, where I collaborated with Ravi Teja, Sivakartikeyan, and Dhanush, who graciously lent his voice to a song, I strongly believe in fostering such connections. With Jailer, and Dhanush’s upcoming film, Captain Miller, I am just continuing this endeavour.
In a way, do you see Jailer and Captain Miller as the beginning of your presence in non-Kannada films?
This marks an ongoing journey. Now, I actually have four offers from Tamil cinema, including two as the lead. I’m in discussions for a film with Malayalam actor Prithviraj Sukumaran, which should be finalised soon. But yeah, my current commitments in Kannada cinema require my full focus. I am in the process of exploring opportunities, and the future will reveal how things unfold.
Do you have a favourite scene in Jailer?
Certainly. One of my cherished scenes is when Rajinikanth is at the house, engaging with the family and sharing tender moments with his grandchild. This scene exemplifies Rajinikanth’s unique ability to transcend his superstar persona and portray a genuine, relatable human on screen.
Do you believe your role in Jailer might encourage other industry stars to work in Kannada?
Absolutely, I am confident that my involvement has paved the way for other industry stars to consider working in Kannada cinema, be it in brief appearances or significant roles.
Which five films of yours would you recommend to your new audience to understand the real you?
I believe these five films would provide a good glimpse into my cinematic journey. Of course, my first film, Anand. Om, Jogi, Mufti, and Tagaru.