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His Southside Story

From playing everyone’s favourite husband on television to becoming the backbone of Bollywood films like Udaan, Boss, Two States, Kaabil and the recently released Lucknow CentralRonit Roy has many feathers in his cap. Now he adds one more — the Telugu film industry with the massive hit Jai Lava Kusa. Here, he talks to Bhakti Mehta about his first South film

Ronit Roy believes in destiny. “Things happen when they are supposed to happen,” he submits. The reason he believes this is because his entry into the South film industry was long in the making. “I had agreed to do a South film a couple of times before but it didn’t work out, either due to date issues or because of the money. Also, I was doing television and Bollywood films so there was no time for anything else. I don’t know what transpired behind the scenes with Jai Lava Kusa but I’m told the director, K.S. Ravindra, was keen on having me in the film. Later, the team of the film’s star, Jr. NTR, got in touch with me through a common friend. I thought it would be a good commercial film to debut with in the South industry. I guess, this time it worked out and it’s great,” he says.

It also helped that the script was fun. “It is a commercial film with Jr. NTR in a triple role. It is not a script that needed a lot of intelligent understanding. So my reaction was that the script is fun.”

Doing a film in a different language always has its challenges and talking about his preparation for this movie, the actor says, “Since it was a commercial film, there was no preparation as such. I am not playing a real character or anything, it’s just a regular villain. The language was the main preparation that I had to do. I had to learn the language throughout the shoot of the film.”

Sadly, he was not able to dub for the film. “When I was acting, I spoke Telugu. I wanted to dub my lines but there was an issue with the release. The film had gone into background mixing and they were still shooting some portions. I was also called back to shoot for a day. They recorded a pilot track and I was supposed to dub on that track. I guess because of the edit of the film, the background music and all that, the time factor could not be managed. This is why Ravi, the director, decided to go with a dubbed voice,” says Roy.

He will not, however, forget the overall experience of working in the film, thanks to the people he worked with. “There were two directors for the film. The director that I shot with, Ravi — and it was a good experience. And of course, Jr. NTR, who is a lovely human being. It was great fun shooting with him as he is very dedicated to his work. He is always trying out new things. It is nice to see somebody of that stature working in such minute detail,” he says.

“I have done just one film in the South till now. I would fly in, finish my work and fly out. So I don’t know how the industry there really functions. As for the atmosphere on the set and the filmmaking process, a film is a film. It doesn’t matter which language a movie is made in, the process of cinema is always the same. I didn’t find any major difference between South and Bollywood other than the language, of course. This was a big film. It was shot like any other Bollywood film. The locations are grand,” says Roy comparing the functioning of the South and Bollywood industries.

Elated about the spectacular audience response, Roy says, “The response has been very good. The movie has made a lot at the box office. Mainly the Jr. NTR fans have given a very positive response. Khushiyan hi khushiyan hai sab jagah. Now it remains to be seen what happens next, which way we go. We are kind of testing the waters right now. The next couple of steps will define the rest of the journey.”

As for his next move in the South, Roy says, “There are offers from the South and I have green lit a film. The offer had come to me before the release of Jai Lava Kusa. That will probably start by the end of this year or early next year. It is a brilliant script and a full-fledged role. It’s a mind-blowing movie. We will see what happens next. Normally, it takes time for people to approach. People don’t come to you immediately after a film. It takes time. Whoever is now in the scripting stage will see my work first and it is not necessary that everybody will like it too. There is a gestation period of three to four months and people who have liked my work will approach and we will see. So a couple months down the line, we should be able to know for sure. My problem is that I don’t try too hard to venture into anything. I have a lot of work in Mumbai right now.”

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