Exclusive Interview with Rajeev Kanakala
Rajeev Kanakala is no stranger to the Telugu audience. Until recently he is prominent on small screen.Though he acted in a few films here and there in the past, he got a break in films few years ago. Slowly his characters changed from negative roles to hero roles. His recent film A Film by Aravind is a good hit at the box office and there are two more films viz. Meenakshi and Please Naku Pellaindhi in pipeline to release. Rajeev Kanakala spoke to Phani about his journey from small screen to films and also his personal life.
Related Links: A Film by Aravind Review,
A Film by Aravind Gallery,
Family Album of Rajeev Kanakala,
Special Gallery of Rajeev Kanakala,
Exclusive Gallery of Rajeev Kanakala,
Congratulations on your success (A Film by Aravind)
Thank you, Phani. I am very happy about this. I feel that this is one milestone in my career. I got good review on my performance in this film.
Give us a hint of your background
Hmmmm.. There is not much to tell about myself except that I did PG in Theater Art. I am very lucky to be part of such a lovely family. We are united family. My father and mother (Devadasu Kanakala and Lakshmidevi Kanakala) look after the institute (film). My sister Sri Laxmi is an actress too.
Brother-in-law Peddi Ramarao is a writer. He has got good recognition as a writer. He penned stories for serials like Ruturagalu. Suma is doing very good in her career as anchor. We have a son Roshan
Your father is a renowned film artist. Can you give us more details about him
Well! He entered the industry as an actor. He started with small roles. Breakthrough came in the film
O Sita Katha. He got many offers after that. But by then he already tookup the position of assistant
professor in South Indian Film Chamber film institute. He liked it and continued in his profession.
He always believed in talent. Many of the present stars like Chiranjeevi garu, Rajani Kanth garu, Rajendra Prasad garu were trainied in his first batch.
Since he had good contacts and influence in the industry, why didnt your father prepare any launch pad for your career
As I said earlier, he believes in talent. He doesnt like recommendations. I have almost similar ideologies. I wanted to prove myself. I had a tough time making an entry to the film industry. I got some recognition acting in the TV serials. Though it is good on one side, it is bad in the sense that
I had tough time finding any roles in films since I was branded as TV artist. I had few offers here and there. I did a good role in EVV's Kanyadanam. But after that film, I was back to square one.
During that time, I acted in a serial Santhinivasam. SS Rajamouli was the director for that serial. We are good friends too. When Rajamoulid directed Student No. 1 with NTR, they thought of me for one character. Though a few people advised the makers that a tv artist cannot perform in such a role, Rajamouli and K.Raghavendra Rao wanted me to do it. They had good confidence in me. And that character clicked well and got me good recognition. There is a memorable incident related to this.
After seeing the rushes, executive producer of the film Saibabu called me and said, " I dont know who else is going to profit from this film. But I am very sure you will". My excitement knew no bounds on that day. There is a reason for that. Earlier, in 2000, I applied to Star 2000 contest organized by the very same banner (RK Films) for the film Paradesi. I didnot even pass the prelims in
that contest. Now imagine the executive producer appreciating your work. I was very happy on that day.
So your film entry is not a bed of roses
Absolutely not. I faced my embarassing and demeaning moments. On few occasions, I even had tears in my eyes. They used to comment on my face that who will watch a TV artist on big screen. I struggled a
So your father didnot help you during that period too?
I wouldnot say that. I owe to my parents for whatever I am today. It is the culture and the skills they nurtured into me that made me what I am today.
Many actors comment that acting is not something that can be learnt and should come by nature. Coming from a film institute yourself, how do you feel about it.
I feel that learning is definitely necessary. No one is an actor by birth. There are many ways of learning - "aa..choo..vi..cha" - anubhavinchadam (by experience), choodadam (by seeing), vinadam (by listening) and chadavadam (by reading). Unless you learn something by any of the above methods, you wont get it. That applies to acting too. Basics is the key for any kind. If you know the navarasalu, then it will be easy for you to mould yourself based on the character and thats what makes you an actor.
What is the involvement of your family in your films
There is none at all. My father always wishes that I be a versatile actor. I also feel the same. Heroism is not the criteria to be an actor. It is the role. There are many films in which the side characters have got better recognition than the hero role. Suma is also never restricting about any of my roles. I take my own decisions. At times I go to my father for suggestions. I am open to doing any kind of roles.
Tell us about A film by Aravind
This is very interesting. I knew about this project about 1 1/2 year ago. Sekhar Suri approached me with this script and offered me Aravind role. But then due to some reasons, the project got delayed. And out of blue Sekhar contacted me one day and said Sridhar is producing this film. He asked me if I am still interested in doing that role. For whatever reason, he had me in his mind for the role of Aravind. The rest is all you know. Technically, the film is on par with Hollywood films.
Sekhar Suri is excellent in terms of shot takings and making. He is really good.
Who do you attribute the success of A Film by Aravind
It is a team work. Every one had their share in this success. Ramesh Krishnan (Cinematography),
Vijay (Music) did a great job. For thrillers, these two are key items technically. The unit is lucky to have talented technicians on board. And every one delivered their best performances. But the main credit goes to Sekhar Suri and Sridhar. KS Ramarao also helped us a lot.
Did you ever feel that your professional life is interfering with personal life
Not that often. For this film (A film by Aravind), I stayed out for about 40 days. Usually if I am in
town, I go to home some time or the other. But during this production, the unit became a family. It became the whole world. No phones, no TV .. nothing.
What kind of support do you get from your wife?
I am very lucky to have Suma as my wife. She was a leading anchor by the time we were married. But we never had any ego problems. She is very friendly. Though she is a Malayalee, it took no time for her to become a part of my family. She is a good care taker. Even during her busy schedules, she has to drop our son at school and pick him up. She takes care of everything including my shopping.
Did you ever lecture in your film institute
Not now. But I did a few lectures in the past. Now my mom and dad are in full control of the school.
About your upcoming projects?
Meenakshi will release soon. Prabhakar directed the film and Kamalini played the title role. And also
there is another film "Plese naaku pelli ayyindhi".
Please naaku pelli ayyindhi?
(Laughs).. Dont misinterpret the title. It is indeed a very good film. I am playing a main role... lets say a negative role. Raghu is playing the hero. This film has got good comedy too. I am sure this will be a good hit and will fetch me good name.
You seem to have good relations in the film industry
I guess. I move along good with many in the industry. I am good friends with NTR, Tarun, Kalyan Ram and few young directors. I am glad that everyone is affectionate towards me. Though I have not done even a single film with Chiranjeevi garu, he always enquires about my family whenever I meet him.
You started out as character artist, then villain and now hero. What is the next step
We never know. Time plays its own role.. lets see (laughs)
Meesage for aspiring actors
I dont know about messages and dont think I am in a position to issue any. But I will say one thing, hard work always pays.
We thank Rajeev Kanakala for patiently taking on all the questions. We wish him all the best in his career.