Sunday, July 14, 2024

Sriram is not here to “give up” so soon

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Actor Sriram, who is soon going to begin shooting for his upcoming psychological thriller, takes The Pioneer through his theatrical journey, from getting into films to rough patches in his career, and his upcoming projects.

Amartya Smaran
Actor Sriram, who goes by the name Srikanth in the Tamil industry, is known for superhit films like Roja Kootam, April Maadhathi, Okariki Okaru, Drohi, and Nanban, including his recent flicks Asalem Jarigindi, 10th Class Diaries, Maha, and Coffee with Kadhal. Making his debut as a lead actor in the Telugu film industry with Okariki Okaru in 2003, he was introduced to the Telugu audience as Sriram, to avoid a mix up with the then matinee idol Srikanth Meka.

In an exclusive interview with us, the Nanban star opened up about his foray into acting, the unlucky accident that almost finished his career, and the milestone films that made his career special.

To realise our potential, we need to put ourselves in situations that allow us to explore our talents. Let’s have a clear look at how it all started for the star.

“My dad was a state bank employee, and he was also a theatre artist. So, I used to accompany him to all the shows. When I first witnessed the kind of adulation that he received, I was absolutely enamoured,” said Sriram, who continued, “While I was studying in Bhavans, Hyderabad, I started participating in some of the plays. And when I shifted to Chennai, I continued doing the same thing. Once I kept getting opportunities, getting on stage became a habit by then.”

The young Sriram moved to Chennai after completing his 10th standard. Little did he know that the next chain of events would change his life forever.

“In my 11th and 12th grades, I choreographed for fashion show competitions in Chennai. I never used to compete, and that gave me the confidence to get used to the stage. It so happened that one of the seniors couldn’t make it to the show one day. The people there suddenly came and asked me if I wanted to be a part of it. The raging culture was a bit too much at the time, and to escape that, I said yes to participating in the show. People liked it, and they all appreciated me a lot,” recalled the Drohi actor.

Oh wait! The story doesn’t end here. The very first intercollege competition got him the Mr. Madras title and opened the doors for a career in professional modelling. Very soon, he landed a leading role in Kadhal Virus, but that turned out to be a false promise from the makers. Telling us more about it, he says, “One day I got a call from director Kathir’s office to audition for his film Kadhal Virus. I was super excited because Kathir was this teenage sensation at the time. The youth admired him for making relatable films. Once I landed at the office, there were around 150-200 people waiting in the queue. I couldn’t believe my eyes, but the director noticed me, took my audition, and selected me for the part. They trained me for a year or so and then dropped me from the project. When I asked them why, They said there’s another actor who looks good for the part, and I was too young for it. I knew the real reason wasn’t that. It was more like another artist from a better background was set to make his debut. Anyway, I was really disappointed by what happened, and I was embarrassed to come out for six months.”

After taking the bitter pill of being dropped from his maiden project, he stood tall in the face of adversity and gave it another shot. “I again started working for brands like Sprite and Coca-Cola. During that time, my coordinator called and told me this production house was looking for new faces. Luckily, I got through, and that’s how my first big film (Roja Kootam) happened. I remember Roja Kootam releasing along with Kadhal Virus, the film from which I was dropped. Our film ran for several days and turned out to be a blockbuster,” told the actor.

The Poo actor was involved in a freak fire accident that almost ended his successful career. Speaking more about it, the star said, “I’ve had many accidents in life and it got to a point where people started saying, “If you meet with an accident, your film is going to be a hit, or else it’s going the other way.” For every film, I’d meet with some kind of accident. The accident occurred when I was shooting for a song, and that caused a lot of damage. It literally erased me and my career. I was bedridden for about six months and lost a lot of projects as a result of it. These things happen when proper precautions are not taken by people who are not trained for the job. These are all the issues that put actors in a vulnerable situation. I’m glad that I got my life and career back, but because of that, there are some setbacks. I don’t like talking about the things that I missed out on. I’d rather talk about the things that I have as of now.”

Commenting on the films that shaped his career, the actor explained, “My debut film Okariki Okaru is close to my heart because, no matter how many years have passed, people still talk about it. Parthiban Kanavu is another film that’s special to me because I won the Tamil Nadu State Film Special Award for Best Actor.”

It’s been almost a decade since Sriram scored a commercial hit. However, with several projects under his belt, the actor looks confident about leaving his mark in the industry. “I’ll be working on Production Number One for a company called UR Creations. It’s a challenging script, and when the director first narrated the script, I was doubtful whether he’d be able to translate it on screen. I saw the director’s previous work, and that gave me confidence that the director would be able to pull it off. The film is going to challenge me as an actor, and I’m really excited for it. I am shooting a Tamil film right now with G.V.Prakash in Chennai. Apart from that, I am working on another film, which is a crime thriller. I have signed three telugu films for 2023, and I have three releases scheduled for February and March in Tamil. I’m really excited for Theenkirai, which is a proper bi-lingual film that was shot both in Tamil and Telugu,” informed the actor.

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