A lover of Telugu cinema will need less than a fraction of a second to recollect a face when we say Priyadarshi. The unique sounding name is the perfect identity for this unique actor. Priyadarshi started his career by making short films on the Internet. The real breakthrough came with his role in Tharun Bhascker’s Pelli Choopulu, as Kaushik. Four years later, people still remember Kaushik as fondly as they did the first time around.
However, in the span of these four years, Priyadarshi has gone from portraying short cameos and supporting roles to shouldering a whole feature film. When people tried to box in as an emerging comedian, he emerged as an actor who could also rush tears down our cheeks. Now, as he keeps himself busy with household chores in quarantine, we get ready to see him in a new avatar in Abhilash Reddy’s Loser.
Watch the trailer of Loser here:
A few days before the ten-episode series released, we spoke to Priyadarshi in an attempt to understand him better. As exhausted and tired he was, the actor graciously answered our questions about the show. Read the edited excerpts of part one of the interview here.
Q. There’s already talk about your character, Suri Yadav, being an inspiration. What do you have to say about it?
A. Definitely. I think an underdog character is always inspiring in any given society. Films have always reinforced values through characters like Suri. And in a society like ours, we will relate more with such underdog characters. It may be premature to say it, but I hope Suri is an inspirational character.
Q. How and why did you say yes to the show?
A. Abhilash (Reddy, the director) called me to talk about the story. And when he narrated, it was refreshingly new and it is something I haven’t done so far. There were also the right people and banners like Annapurna Studios, Spectrum Media and ZEE5, associated with the show.
Q. How was it getting into the skin of Suri?
A. It is the toughest part for me. Also, for me, the transformation is very important. Because Suri is an underdog, but he knows what’s he meant to do. Mr Neelakanth trained me, which helped a lot. And, the script was like a bible. So, I used to read it multiple times and take notes every now and then. I discussed a lot with Abhilash, about the backstory and what he’d be doing or how he would react in a given situation.
It’s not just my story, there are two more important stories and these are interwoven. It is essential for me to take instructions and information. I constantly monitored how Suri will be talking in that particular time. There isn’t a lot of pop-culture reference, but we had to be very specific to the time. We had to understand the nuances of the game. We would bounce a couple of ideas and discuss with the team and then carefully take it ahead.
Q. How will you describe his journey?
A. When you look at great stories, success is like a tip of the iceberg that you see. Very few people know of the hardships that a person goes through. Suri treats his success and failure alike. He believes in doing the right again, despite all odds being against him.
Q. What kind of preparation did you undergo mentally along with the physical training since you play an air rifle shooter?
A. When I was training, Mr Neelakanth would ask me to stand without moving for 20 minutes. Breathing is extremely crucial in Air Rifle. A slight movement could drop your chances. It’s excruciating for the person who is practising and extremely boring for the ones watching. Unlike other games, Air Rifle happens in a person’s head. So, it was tough for me to be a guy who is a pro at it.
I would observe the kids in the academy. I also had the opportunity to shoot with Mr Lokakshar, who done his Nationals. And he would stand like a rock-solid wall for about 10 minutes. He takes about eight minutes to shoot his shot and hit the bullseye. Although excruciating, the training has an effect on the psyche. You need to be calmer. Along with the rules and discipline, it gave me a new learning experience.
Q. Would you be game for a sequel, if there was one?
A. Yes, why not! When there is a compelling screenplay, why not?
Q. Would you say you have left a part of yourself with Suri and carried a part of him with you?
A. Yes, I will certainly say it was so. Because it is also equally rewarding to do a web series like this. Usually, if you look at my films, I play a small role with comedy or something like that. But here, I have about 200-minute content and the character has a huge journey. So, yes.
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