Allu Arjun awaits the release of 'Pushpa' on December 17. In this interview, the actor talks about working with Sukumar, why the film has been divided into two parts, the most challenging aspects of doing the mass entertainer, his immediate plan, wish to work with SS Rajamouli, and more.
'Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo' was released in January last year. It has almost been two years. During the lockdown in 2020, I, Sukumar garu and the writers did video calls through apps to practice the Chittoor slang. The homework went for months in the lockdown.
The toughest schedule was shooting the movie in the Maredumilli forest area. It was not easy to journey into the forest. There were insects and one would have to stave them off to be able to work. Hundreds of vehicles would be at the location to ferry us.
When Sukumar narrated the script, I realized that he had done extensive research into the backdrop and the subject. I listened to the videos in which smugglers themselves spoke of their experiences. I did thorough homework on how they behave and talk.
My look was designed by a team from Mumbai. The first two looks didn't go through. The third one was spot-on. I have got three looks in 'Pushpa'. The first one is the coolie look, the second one is the transporter look and the last one is the smuggler look.
The entire story is fictional. It's not inspired by any true incidents. As you know, the backdrop is the Sesachalam forest in the story and the smuggling of red sandalwood. The film tells the journey of Pushpa Raj.
I got to learn a great deal about the art of make-up while doing this film. Before this film, I didn't know much about the techniques involved. Before 'Pushpa', I was only into regular make-up. For this film, just the make-up part would take 2 hours every day. And it would take 30 minutes to remove the make-up.
I learned the Chittoor slang at length. I observed that there is a lot of difference in the way we speak and the people in Chittoor speak. At times, Sukumar changes the dialogues on the go. An artist must be prepared for the changes. I had to mouth the dialogues on the spot. Over a period of time, it became easy for me to break into the Chittoor slang.
Sukumar said that nobody liked the title because Pushpa is a feminine name. The idea behind the title is this: choosing a soft name for a raw and gutsy character would sound great.
Even at the outset, we wondered if the story can be told in a single part. It would have taken 3.5 hours of run-time. While making the film, we figured out that 'Pushpa' should be divided into two parts.
There are terms like 'mass' and 'oora mass'. 'Pushpa' is a 'nela mass' movie. This is the highest that I could have done in a mass film.
Working with Rajamouli garu is every hero's dream. I too expressed my wish in front of him. He said that I am one of the heroes in his list. When the time is ripe, we are surely going to unite.
My immediate plan is to take a break for a couple of months before the shoot of 'Pushpa 2' begins.