After the massive success of Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, Allu Arjun is set to play a lorry driver in his next film, director Sukumar’s Pushpa. The first look of the action movie was revealed on the actor’s birthday. Ahead of its release, he told Anupama Chopra about venturing into Bollywood and why he’s okay with being a newcomer in a different industry.
Allu, you clearly don’t need Hindi to make a 200-crore hit, right? And yet, you are saying that your next destination is Bollywood. What about Hindi cinema is exciting?
Everything, why not? Hindi is like the main film industry of the entire country, you have to accept that. It’s wonderful and I love all the work that they do. And not just now, they’ve been doing this for so many years – from the ‘50s, ‘60s. They’ve done fabulous work and we always adored them, we always admired them, it’s always, in a way, inspirational also.
But you’re one of the first contemporary Telugu heroes to actually say you want to be here because when I interviewed Mahesh Babu, he was clear he doesn’t want to do it. When I interviewed Vijay Deverakonda, he said ‘I’ll never do a straight-up Hindi film, it has to be something that works in both, Telugu and Hindi.’ You’re the first one who is enthusiastically embracing this.
To each their own. Everybody has got their own choices, you have to respect that. I love Hindi films so I mean why not? I don’t see a reason for why I should hold back because they do great work as well.
But Arjun, wouldn’t you have any sort of insecurity about, in a sense, being a newcomer?
Well, if I am a newcomer, I am a newcomer – so what about it? That’s where you challenge yourself and that’s when you have to step out of your comfort zone. This is my personal take. However much I do in the South, there is nothing that surprises me anymore. I could have more and more successes but nothing’s out-of-the-box. There’s always betterment, but I think the opportunity and the surprise factor lies only in Hindi cinema. It’s challenging, it’s not that we’ll lose our home turf by trying. It’s okay, it’s an ongoing process. I’m not looking at breaking it in one film or leaving it after one flop. It’s an ongoing process.
You talk about how you are a commercial entertainer. When asked if you would do an intense film like Arjun Reddy, you were very clear that you would not. So is that limiting as an actor? Do you ever maybe find that one day you want to be really dark or really edgy?
I don’t mind being dark or edgy in a commercial film as well. Instead of saying it’s my limitation, I look at this as my strength. Many actors who do one segment of film or one genre of film, they are all looking to get wider. Now that I’m on a wider platform, I don’t think I should go back to the single-genre film. You should also become a star performer. You should do a commercial film that’s got a lot of performance scope. There are examples of that – commercial films, that have scope for performance, for you to explore as an actor. I think that would be my way.
How do you normally choose your scripts? Is there going to be even more pressure on what you do next because you just delivered something so massive?
Well, I would lie if I say that there’s no pressure but I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to take that pressure because we are very true to our work. I think what will take us further is we are true to our work, all these calculations put aside – the market, the numbers. Every time, there’s a different requirement. Before I chose Ala Vaikunthapurramaloo, I just wanted to do an entertainer. So, every time, the priority changes. Now, my priority is not to do an entertainer. Now I’m looking for something different, entirely different from this massive Ala Vaikunthapurramaloo genre. Now I’m stepping into a film that’s an entirely different genre, so it changes from film-to-film. We just keep challenging ourselves from day-to-day.