Abhijeet Duddala, an aeronautical engineer by profession, who has painted “Life is Beautiful” with colors of choice and matched the expectations of professionals like Amala and Shriya in the very first film itself, shared some of his views about him, his passion, his skills and above all his love. Some excerpts are:
Abhijeet hails from a family which has been into construction field since the time of Charminar construction began. His forefathers primarily migrated to Hyderabad as manpower during the construction of Charminar. Their job was to break eggs and mix the yolk into the concrete mixture for strengthening the building walls and structure. Though he has a great respect for the job of his ancestors, films for him has always been a passion. He says, “Call it luck or destiny, I was given an opportunity to explore that passion. I only work on something if it interests me. I believe that anything worth doing at all is worth doing well. And its the same as far as films are concerned in my life. I've developed a new found love for acting, and intend to take it forward to a very great extent in life.”
Hi Abijeet, how is life?
Life Is Beautiful :)
Happy Diwali. Do you have any stories to share about your festivals from your childhood?
Lots. I used to have entire routine to follow for Diwali. A schedule. Two days before Diwali I'd need to warm up! Burst mirchi bombs, some sparklers, a toy gun that would come especially for Diwali. Lot of stuff. When Diwali would finally come I'd go nonstop from morning to night with crackers with breaks only for lunch and dinner. I would start with Laxmi bombs, flower pots, rockets and 'boo chakralu' and then graduate to hydrogen bombs, small ladis, fancy stuff and then finally end the day with a loooong ladi and a multi shot into the air late at night. I'd do all sorts of stunts thinking it was cool and heroic lol. Lighting a rockets and releasing it my hand, lighting a bomb in my hand and throwing it so that it bursts mid air. Some things I took after from my father and a lot of Hollywood action movies like Rambo and Commando,etc... Haha.. I was only a child then. All that changed after a flower pot burst in my hand when I wa in my 10th. I had it plastered for over a month and missed out on school! Haha.. That changed things for me.. A little.. Similarly, I'm a pure Hyderabadi who loves the kite flying and ''payench's'' for Sankranti too.
How did you get your foot in the door of movies?
I've always loved films. I'm a movie buff. I've always watched a lot films. It's what I do when I have free time. So there's always been a filmy side to me that way.. It just so happened that all of it translated into a career. Call it Destiny or Luck. I’m here now.. And I love what I do! I'm happy..
Besides acting, what other training had you had?
None. I don't have acting training actually. I’m planning to go to acting school soon. I have a dance master who comes home and teaches me a variety of dance so it's a lot easier once you're on the location or set. Similar is the case with fights. A lot of kick boxing, taekwondo, boxing and martial arts training is happening on parallel lines.
What is the scariest part of audition?
Romance. Propose to your lover they said. I couldn't do it. I can't get myself to say those three words to a girl. Lol. That was definitely the worst part of the audition. But from what everyone's telling me, I think I managed to do a decent job of it on screen. And also because Srinu doesn't really show his love for Paddu much, it worked for the character.. Haha.
Would be great if you could share your shooting experience since the time you faced the camera first?
It's been great. My growth curve has been pretty much vertical. I've come a long way from being camera shy to not being afraid of making a fool of myself in front of the camera and then laughing about it. I know where I stand now and where I want to be down the line. The acting bit is what I truly enjoy and am constantly at work to improve it. The experience itself has been new and I'm exploring a whole new world figuring out how things work in this field. It's great so far.
Can you touch on similarities between Abijeet and Sreenu in ‘Life is Beautiful’?
Srinu and Abijeet are the same :) Srinu will always be close to my heart. It's a character that stands out. He stands for good and is the personification of the idea of a Hero. Srinu is from a middle class background. He is brought up by his mother alone, and being the only son and eldest of all children who lost their father at early stage, he tends to shoulder greater responsibility. He is brought up with strong fundamental values and knows to differentiate between good and bad. Apart from that, he is the pretty boy next door who likes his cricket, girls, college and fun in life. He in fact takes a promise from his mother at the start of the film to stay away from girls in general, to take care of his younger sisters, keep his temper cool and do well in his academics. How he copes and deals with his situation along with his friends, makes up for the rest of the film. That has personally taught me few things as well. So, apart from the family background, Srinu and Abijeet are very much similar in every bit of trait.
Where does Abijeet wants to go from here?
As of now, I definitely want to act. I want to act, act, act, act and act.. I love acting at the moment.
Films for me have always been a passion. Call it luck or destiny, I was given an opportunity to explore that passion. I only work on something if it interests me. I believe that anything worth doing at all is worth doing well. And its the same as far as films are concerned in my life at present. I've developed a new found love for acting, and intend to take to it forward to a very great extent in life.
How was it working with senior stars like Amala and Shriya in your debut film?
It was a good experience. Amala Garu made it really easy for me to work with her. She is just wonderful, very knowledgeable and inspiring as a person. She has this amazing sense of positivity that she brings along with her onto shoot and everywhere else as well. Shriya is a pro. Her experience as an actress is imminent and it shows. She's just effortless in her work and is a phenomenal dancer. Anjala is sweet. She is still very pretty even after all these years. What is common amongst them all is their respect for work and the discipline they maintain hike they’re at it. That's something I've learnt as a general rule during this entire experience. Not everyone gets to work with such established people in their first film and I'm very fortunate for that.
Define Sekhar Kammula in your words.
Sekhar Kammula.. Gentle giant.
You have an amazing resume at this point. What did you learn from ‘Life is Beautiful’?
I've learnt so much I don't know where to start. Let’s just say.. I've learnt Acting itself..
What are you doing next?
I have zeroed in on three films so far and will sign them shortly. I loved the scripts and hopefully they will translate into good films. I believe in doing entertaining and quality films. So that's what I will be doing next... :)
Did you watch films a lot as a kid?
Every James Bond, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sly Stallone, Van Damme, Bruce Lee, Jacki Chan, Bruce Willis, SRK, Nagarjuna, Chiranjeevi movie that came out for sure. And then some.. Movies have been my biggest interest since I was a child. I swear by Starwars. It's a sacred for me! I'm still a little bit of a grown up kid. I watch superman and batman if I'm feeling depressed or when ridiculously happy for no reason. I share my birthday with Amitabh Bachchan (October 11th), also whom I greatly admire for his acting. So yes, movies are very important to me.
What reminds you of your childhood the most?
Life Is Beautiful has many elements in it that personally remind me of my childhood. I keep telling my childhood friends who are now abroad or elsewhere that this is our movie.. That its 'Mana Cinema'... :) The movie has managed to do that not just for me but also everyone else out there and that's why it successfully managed to become a hit.
Who has been your role model so far in your life?
My father. He is the most chilled out person in the world. He still remains in his childhood even after all these years. And that’s something which excites me and inspires me a lot.
What was the first show you ever did?
I've never done any shows. Maybe a show on TV to promote my movie was probably my first show.
What is the best part of being an actor?
I get to live all my dreams in one career. I've always wanted to be a pilot. Maybe I'll be a pilot in one of my movies. A cop, doctor, engineer, journalist, race car driver you name it! I can be whoever I want to be! So that's probably the best thing..
When did you first know you wanted to be an actor?
Like I said there's a lot that I want to do for one lifetime! Lol. So I figured being an actor would allow me to do that successfully and let me be all that I wanted to do!
Apart from films, what other passions you have in life?
I have a love for cars. They share a place in my heart that can never be replaced by anything else. If I ever get married, it will be on the condition that I be allowed to have many affairs with ladies like the McLaren's, Corvettes, Camaros, Vipers, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Beemers, Mercs, Ferraris, Pagani's, Astons, Jags and a few other secret ones, and she can't stop me! Lol.. Similarly my love for planes made me to choose aeronautical engineering. I love sports and I play every sport. Gym is my temple and it’s where I find peace. I have way too many things in the world I love I don't know where to begin or end.. Lol..
Here is some more information for Abhijeet fans before winding up the interview:
Abhijeet was born on October 11, 1988. He started his kindergarten in Chaitanya Vidyalaya (the school in which Akhil Akkineni also studied), did his primary and higher school education in Rishi Valley School in Madanapally in Chittoor district, intermediate at Little Flower college and pursued engineering at Malla Reddy College in Kompally.
Some of his favourites:
Favourite actor – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Favourite heroine - Tough one.. Too many again.. Lol.. Julia Roberts, Charlize Theron, Gemma Arterton to name a few.
Favourite director - Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan.. Etc.. Again too many to name.
Favourite place – Hyderabad
Favourite time pass – Watching movies
Favourite colour – Black and Red.
Favourite pet – Dogs
Favourite music director - James Horner, AR Rahman and Ilayaraja.
-- Ragalahari Exclusive Interview