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19 Apr 2014
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Sairam Shankar

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Sairam Shankar

Sairam Shankar, brother of noted producer & director Puri Jagannath, impressed one and all with his debut film 143 & I miss you.
The film generated a good talk and is going great across.the state. Sairam Shankar has 2 projects on his hand, both to be directed by
Puri Jagannath. Phani spoke to Sairam Shankar about his views on the film and
his experiences during the filming.

Congratulations on your success of 143!

Thank you! I am very happy. I didnot expect this to be this big a success. So all the more happy.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Not much to say (laughs). I never even dreamt of coming into films. I was always under the influence of getting a job and securing life.
Things were like that until my brother entered the industry. My fascination towards the films kept growing. I joined my brother as
an assistant-director in 1997 and worked with him until now. And now, you know, I became a hero.

Were you not interested in acting before?

It's not about interest. I never thought I would become a hero! (laughs)

What was your first reaction when Puri Jagannath came to you to do the hero role?

It was kind of thrilling! I was very happy but not sure! I was planning to do a film as a hero in the next year.
I was getting trained at Satyanand film institute. Out of blue, Jagan wanted me to come back because there is a project for me.
If he wanted some other actor, he could have gone for them. He thought I would be apt for the role. I felt thrilled and very happy
for that.

Usually the lead characters in Puri Jagannath's film bear a rough characterization!

Yes! That is what I was skeptical of in the beginning. After I heard the full story, I thought I could do it. The complete credit
goes to my brother. He is a perfectionist. He explained to me about nitty gritty details on the set. Also, he used to enact the scenes
for me. So he gave me a big push for performing good on-screen.

What kind of training did you go for before entering the sets as hero?

I attended Satyanand for acting skills. I practised dances and stunts also. Also, once the project is okayed, I worked hard for dances in the observation of
Krishna Reddy! Fight masters Ram Laxman also supported me a lot for getting the stunts done perfectly.
I used to rehearse all the sequences atleast 2-3 times before going on to sets.

You worked as an assistant director too! So any chances of becoming a director?

One thing at a time! I want to concentrate on my acting career right now. My next 2 projects will also be directed by my brother itself.
Next film for me would start after Jagan's film with Nagarjuna is completed.

How do you feel on the response of the audience?

I am very happy! I am a debut hero. And I could not ask for any thing better. Recently, I watched the film in a theater. Audience
recognized me and congratulated me on my performance. That experience was great. Especially, songs became a big attraction!

Songs are usually hit for Puri and Chakri combination!

Yes! As far as I know, audio of 143 is bigger hit than any of their earlier films. Music is a big plus for this film. And I am indebted
to Chakri in this matter.

What is your favorite song from this film?

All are good! Hmmmm.. If I have to pick one, it would be "Yendukanee..."

Is your experience as an assistant director of any help to you?

Definitely! When you work as an assistant director, you get to observe the expressions of the artists from a close proximity. You
also will get to know the do's and dont's. So, ofcourse that experience helped me a lot!

What are your experiences during the shooting? Any tough times??

It was like a picnic. Since most part of the film was shot in Talakona, it is all the more feel of a picnic. (Laughs).
I am satisfied with my performance. Since I worked hard before coming on to sets, not more than 3 takes were ever required. (A kind of
humble pride in his face).

However, I struggled a lot for the climax scene. Especially, the scene with the landmine. It was pretty painful. Now when I see that
on the screen, I feel very happy. Hardwork pays off!

The best compliments you ever received?

Compliments are the recognition for hardward. So there is nothing like the best. My parents, friends and everyone complimented
me on my performance. The one which was very special to me came from Nagarjuna. He saw the rushes in the editing room.
He encouraged me saying I did very nice.

The film was released with your own voice, later on it was changed to dubbing by Sri! Your comments

We initially planned to get the dubbing done. However, over a period of time, we felt that my voice is apt for the character and role. So
I continued with the dubbing too. But following some feedback, we felt that probably we should have gone for dubbing. It is better late
than never. So we got the dubbing done by Sri.

Is Sri going to dub for you in future too?

No! I am going to pay special attention to voice modulation, timing and related. I will give my own dubbing.

You are new hero! What is your suggestion for the aspiring young heroes!

Hardwork always pays off.

Thanks a lot, Sairam Shankar. We wish you all the best!
Interviewed by Phani

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