As a member of one of the most well-known Telugu film families in history, Allu Sirish made his foray into acting in 2014. Striving to redefine the entertainment space, he has not only acted in three films so far, but has also hosted the IIFA South Awards this year, and recently sung a cover for a song from his recent film, Srirastu Subhamastu.
You’ve worked in three films since making your acting debut in 2014. Can you describe what these few years have been like for you?
The journey has been bumpy but fulfilling. I enjoy the process rather than the outcome. I’ve had one flop and one big hit out of the three, but the effort put in has been the same for all; of course the results differ. I believe that acting is a process of self-discovery, and I’ve learnt a lot and evolved with every film I’ve done.
Was acting always the plan?
Well yes, I wanted to act but more as a side job. I didn’t know what I wanted to do mainly, but I always wanted to be in films. So whether it was direction, photography, production... I’ve trained in almost all aspects of filmdom. I was a child artist way back in the 90s, and then assisted my dad in production for the Telugu version of Ghajini. Although I loved some parts of the production process there was a lot that I couldn’t do, like handling the money and being a leader. I was more excited about the creative part. Things I did in the industry led me to shift to acting, and I’m glad I made that move.
Your movie Srirastu Subhamastu is currently doing very well at the box office. What’s the response been like so far?
Responses have been very good, and reviews too have been great. I’ve received a lot of appreciation for my work and that’s the best part about my job. What’s good is that people are so involved in the movie; they have questions about the characters and plot. They’re drawing parallels to the character and even relating to the movie. If you’re showing good numbers and the audience is speaking well about the film and your work, it shows that you’ve done your job.
What are the key differences between production and acting?
It’s a totally different ballgame. Production is a managerial job; you’re leading a team of 100 people and there’s barely any scope for artistic input. With acting you’re a one-man army, working on yourself and giving better shots. The producer is the boss, but an actor is not a boss, and in some ways I like taking instructions from someone who has more knowledge than me. I don’t think I have the leadership qualities to actually head a team of 100 people.
You come from a family of filmstars. Was there a lot of pressure on you when you entered the industry?
Of course there was (and still is) a lot of pressure, but I try not to let it affect me. If the pressure gets to me, I’ll wind up doing exactly what the others in my family have done, and there won’t be any originality. I’ll always try to match them, and if I don’t, I’ll get a lot of criticism. I’ve done only love stories so far, whereas our family genre is mass. So people are already asking me why, and my answer is simple: that’s not me! I relate more to rom-com and love stories.
How do you react when they compare you to your brother and father?
There’s nothing I can do. I take it in good stride. All I can say is that I’m different!
Any director you’d like to work with?
I’d really like to work with Sukumar, who made the film Arya with my brother Allu Arjun. He’s got a strong voice in the industry, and his direction, story and writing skills are really good. Trivikram Srinivas and Vikram Kumar are other directors I’d like to work with. But my dream is to work with a new director who makes me his muse and launches me.
There’s an untitled film that I’ve already signed. It’s about a boy and girl who’ve been lovers in their past lives, and shows how the former finally realises who his soulmate is. It’s commercially packed, with lots of songs and good locations, and will be directed by a new guy – N.V.N Reddy – who’s been my friend for a long time. The film will be produced by Shailendra Babu, who’s a big producer in the Kannada film industry; this is his first foray into Telugu cinema.
What are your profession goals for yourself and your impact on the industry?
I’m very passionate about my work, and my goal is not to be the best actor in the industry, I’m thinking more about the fraternity. I want Telugu cinema to grow beyond its borders and reach a new audience. Rajamouli garu is helping my dream come true with Baahubali; this way people get to see the film in the original language. I want our industry to be up there in terms of storytelling, aesthetics and technology. Also, no Telugu actor has ever hosted an award show, and I wanted to change that. So when IIFA approached me I immediately agreed. I also sang a cover for one of my songs from Srirastu Subhamastu called ‘Anu Anu’. I want to be part of a web series too. I don’t want to restrict myself to just cinema; I want to redefine the entertainment space as an artist.
But are you restricting yourself to Telugu cinema?
Not at all! I’d like to do other southern films too, but I’ve not found the right project yet. I have to be careful, because unlike here, that’s not home territory for me. So I’m treading carefully and not jumping into whatever comes my way; I know the value of working with good people.
Since we're here shooting at the Kun Exclusive BMW showroom, tell us what you think of this swanky ride, the BMW Z4.
It looks absolutely smashing! I hope to own something like this soon.
What's your current favourite ride?
I live out of my car, hence I need something big, like an SUV. It's more masculine and works great for outdoor shoots. It also suits my profession as an actor. My brother owns a BMW X6 and I absolutely love it, but I also want to get a hold of the Audi Q7 soon.
Will we get to see you working alongside your brother in a film soon?
No, I don’t want to work with my brother because he’ll dominate me. The eyeballs will never shift from him to me when we’re on screen together. But honestly, when I saw the film Dilwale, I had a secret fantasy to remake it in Telugu and act in it with my brother!
What do you do when you’re not working?
Apart from my work you can see me reading books in a coffee shop. I’m a coffee shop junkie and a mall rat. I read a lot. I’m a Mass Communication graduate so I can call myself well-read. If not an actor I’d probably be a lifestyle blogger. Their life is so cool, since they can go to new places, take pictures and write about it all (laughs). -- as told to Niharika