Kartikeya Gummakonda awaits the release of 'Chaavu Kaburu Challaga' on March 19. In this interview, he talks about working with Geetha Arts, new director Koushik Pegallapati, why he needs a hit, working with Ajith on 'Vaimai' and more.
It was in 2019 that I got a call from Geetha Arts, something that made me excited, given the track record of GA2 Pictures. When I saw the debutant director (Koushik Pegallapati), I thought the youngster would narrate a 'Pelli Choopulu'-like story. By the time the narration was over, I was bowled over by the philosophy of the film. I was now more excited about the director than the banner.
The very character of the male lead is exciting. He drives dead bodies to the graveyard and falls in love with a widow. The premise is exciting. The female protagonist's husband is no more and yet there is 'gammatthu' in the story. There are tear-jerking scenes as well.
'CKC' is a combination of fun and teary moments. For example, Bollywood director Rajkumar Hirani ensures such things in movies.
We celebrate birth, but we don't see death in the same way. Most of us take death for granted until it comes to us. A song in the film espouses this philosophy. There is also the element of one-sided love.
The male lead, who falls in love with a widow, has his reasons for falling in love with a widow. I need a hit at the box-office. When you deliver a genuine hit or a potential hit, everyone knows the vibes. 'RX 100' had such an aura of positivity around it. I am feeling the same about 'CKC'.
I submitted to the director's vision. I worked on the slang of Vizag. In all my movies, I have spoken neutral Telugu. For the first time, I have tried a slang.
I have had flops and they are part of learning. I took some missteps. I am an outsider in the industry. I don't have a Godfather who pieces together exciting projects. I am not in a hurry to become a superstar. I did 'Gang Leader' with conviction, given that it was a Vikram Kumar-Nani movie. I decided to play the antagonist for the same reason. Many did scare me but the role fetched me a lot of good name.
I had watched 'Andala Rakshasi' with my friends during my college days. The heroine of that movie, Lavanya Tripathi, is my heroine today. It's a sign of progress in life. Aamani garu has got a strong role in the movie as my mother. It was EVV Sathyanarayana garu who launched her as a female lead. The way she treated me on the sets despite being a senior actress was very comforting.
I do discuss the subjects of my movies with friends and not with people in the industry. Depending on how 'CKC' performs, I will get projects. 'RX 100' taught me what kinds of subjects I shouldn't go for after a hit.
I have to learn to deal with criticism. Audiences/critics are not expected to be emotionally invested in a film. There are times when I get depressed reading strong criticism of my films.
I am part of Ajith garu's 'Valimai'. Director H Vinoth garu had delivered a superb film with 'Khaki'. When he approached me with the role, I was excited. Being associated with Ajith garu feels great. I feel blessed to be working with an actor like him. There is a lot to learn from him every second. He is the best human being I have ever met.
I am a bit tensed before the release of 'CKC'. Every actor needs a hit after flops. I also wish Aadi Saikumar and Vishnu Manchu garu on 'Sashi' and 'Mosagallu', respectively.
I had met Allu Arjun garu only once before the 'CKC' event recently. He is a super-chilled person. He doesn't show airs. He gels with us youngsters despite being a person of high stature.