SSR: I will be doing the same thing I am doing right now. There is no place to arrive at, there are no goals whatsoever. I love doing what I am doing right now and I will continue doing that. The last time I visited your office, I was sitting right here and I told you that if films didn’t work out, I would go back to television, and If television content doesn’t excite me, I would do theatre. When I am actually acting, I am not aware of whether I am in front of a TV camera or a film camera or a live audience. I just do it, it just happens to me. I am so engaged with what I do that I feel alive.
When I was in engineering college, I told my dad that if nothing happens, I would buy a 5D camera and shoot myself in a short film. He was in shock. He was, like, stay back for a year, get your degree and then go. But I was so sure of what I wanted to do that I told him, no matter what happens, even if nothing happens, I will open a canteen at Film City. I would buy a 5D camera and make short films. That’s what I believed in. Thankfully, I am getting films but if I don’t, I will go back to that same room, probably where I started from, and I will be as excited as I am now.
BOI: You recently watched the film with your family. What did they say?
SSR: This was the first film we have watched together. I have four sisters and all of them and my father went to watch it. They also gave me one of the best compliments I have ever received. We all are great cricket buffs and great admirers of Dhoni. Even though my family knows me inside-out, they said that in 10 minutes flat, they thought I was Dhoni. If I can convince them, then I can convince anybody.
SSR: No. I have always gone with my instinct, that I want to do this film not because it will translate into box office numbers but because I will get a chance to learn something new. That’s why I have done the films I have. I would not take up a film where I I already know what I have to do. So nothing has changed.
But bank balance-wise, things have changed a lot. Money was always an issue while growing up. We are five siblings and we got the best education but when it came to other things, money was an issue. Then I started doing theatre, where there was hardly any money to make. Then television happened, where there was money. It wasn’t a lot but I had money. After that, it just lost its relevance. I know I don’t have to worry about money any more but it will never be the reason to do a film.
BOI: You mentioned that your father was not pleased with you choosing an offbeat career. Cut to now, watching Dhoni and there’s a parallel with Dhoni’s life.
SSR: Yes, my father gave me that one glance from behind the mota kaala chashma which he wears. Do you remember that scene, where Anupam Kher is talking to me on the phone? So that scene happened and we both just looked at each other.
I am glad he allowed me to go, so he was always with me even though he didn’t believe that something would turn up. He is very happy now. In fact, on Sunday, three days after the movie released, when he went for his morning jog, he said he couldn’t jog on that day as everyone had gathered around him. He said, ‘I looked like a fool who doesn’t know about my own son’s film as I haven’t watched the film.’ So you feel happy when your parents are happy.