The actor behind three consecutive hits in Kannada cinema—Addhuri, Bahaddhur and Bharjari—Dhruva Sarja is no stranger to success. He was destined to be an actor since childhood, for he comes from a family that has been in the film industry for decades now.
From his grandfather, Shakthi Prasad, to uncle Arjun Sarja, brother Chiranjeevi Sarja, and cousin Aishwarya Arjun, all are known faces in Tamil and Kannada film industry. The actor thinks he’s been quite fortunate. “I put a lot of hard work and effort into my films, but I still think of their success as a stroke of luck,” says Dhruva, who always consults his uncle Arjun before signing a film. “I remember the first time producers had approached me with a story. I told them to narrate the script to my uncle. Only then did they know I was from the Sarja family and that Arjun was my uncle and Chiranjeevi, my brother,” Dhruva says.
However, unlike his peers, he says he had to struggle to get where he is now. “My third film completed 100 days recently. While it is business for the producers, I look at this as a measure of how many people I have reached. As an artist, it is important that people come and watch the film, because it is for them that we actually make films,” he says.
Recalling his initial days, Dhruva says that he was keen to be launched under their home banner. But he went with Arjun’s suggestion and decided to start from scratch. “Anyone can become a hero, but to become an actor, you need to learn about cinema and that is what helps you build your career.” So, in an attempt to make it on his own, Dhruva did a photoshoot and passed the photos with his number in the industry. “But nobody called me back. Not knowing why I was rejected, I decided to start with drama and joined AS Murthy at Abhinaya Taranga for a year’s course.
There I was spotted by AP Arjun. AS Murthy referred my name to the director, and I was overjoyed. After three films, I realised that I did the right thing by joining a drama school. It helped me gain confidence and get a hold on my language and emotions.”
The commercial success of three films has put him on par with the top league Kannada stars and he gives the credit to his directors. “I am a director’s actor,” says Dhruva. His working style is different as well. In an age when he can afford to be a part of multiple projects, Dhruva prefers to take one film at a time. “I have been working on Pogaru for the past four months.
Though the film didn’t require me on the sets, I had to lose 40 kg, and that needed time. I am
trying to increase the speed at which I work, but I don’t like to hurry,” he says. Dhruva will start shooting for Pogaru very soon, and says he is still thirsting to come out with his best. About choosing characters, he says, “I prefer something close to reality or an out-and-out fantasy. I don’t like to play the in-between characters.” He loves to have a lot of action in his films. “During my childhood, I used to go to the sets frequently to watch my uncle Arjun’s fight. I call him ‘dishoom mama’,” he says.
Dhruva, who has got a lot of encouragement from the Kannada industry, is not really thinking about branching out into other industries. “There is no need for me to go anywhere else,” he says.