Southern Sensation-Samrat Reddy talks with You & I

Born and brought up in Hyderabad, Samrat Reddy is a well-known actor in the Tamil and Telugu film industries who also has his eyes set on Bollywood. This week, we caught up with the actor as he is on the cusp of the release of his latest movie, Kittu Unnadu Jagrata.

Tell us a bit about your latest project and what the experience was like?
Being part of the industry comes with a huge amount of gratitude and responsibility. I can’t thank director Vamsi garu enough for giving me the opportunity and freedom to show my talent. Working with him and producers like Anil garu and Kishore garu has been one of the best experiences of my career. They gave me the freedom to play the character with my own views and improvisations. The cast and crew of Kittu Unnadu Jagrata was sweet, professional, punctual, and definitely supportive. It was a great learning and fun experience. The best part about shooting the movie was that we all were treated equally. It’s also very unusual to get an “okay” shot in just two to three takes. Usually actors would like to get back home after pack-up, but I kind of connected with the crew like a family does. So now that the shooting has completed, it’s a happy and sad moment; happy because it’s a great movie, and sad because I miss my extended family.

How was it to work alongside Arbaaz Khan in this film?
Working with “Bhai’s bhai” was an extraordinary experience. Arbaaz Khan is highly talented and very professional. It’s not easy to be seen in the same frame with such a talented actor. Although he’s such a huge star, he was very accommodating and absolutely professional. I have personally learnt a lot from him, like understanding the character, delivering exactly what the director is looking for, respecting the cast and crew, interacting with people and acknowledging them for their help and support. Speaking Telugu isn’t that easy, but the way he was determined to learn his lines was a huge motivation. He can boost anyone’s confidence level.

Have you ever been inclined towards Bollywood?
Who wouldn’t be (laughs)?. Honestly, I want to make my base strong, and that’s in the South. I believe in hard work and, of course, with God’s blessings Bollywood shall also happen soon. Tollywood is getting globally recognised thanks to movies like Bahubali and Kabali, so I am proud to be part of this industry, which is growing so fast. Are there any particular stars whose acting abilities you admire? I am the biggest fan of Chiranjeevi garu, Nagarjuna garu, and Venkatesh garu; they are truly legends and inspiration for this nation. I am also a fan of the Khans and Johnny Depp. Last but not the least, Nawazzuddin Siddiqui is a splendid actor. I run out of words to describe his acting; it’s three hours of complete paisa wasool to watch him on screen.

How do you mentally and physically prepare for a role?
Reading the script is the first and most important part. I always sit with my director to understand what he actually wants from me. My second partner who helps me out and motivates me is my “mirror”; it’s the best judge in the world! Sometimes I sit all night learning my lines and preparing my expressions as per the requirement. Action scenes are the toughest, so I include a lot of pre-practice and rehearsals. I surrender myself to the character so that I do not act like myself (i.e., Samrat).

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
My favourite pastime is spending time with my wife and nephews. My wife is my best friend, and we go on trips ever so often. My sister’s sons are the cutest kids on earth, so I try giving them most of my time. Of late I have become quite the family man. My mom and dad are my ultimate support system; they’re super cool and it’s so much fun to hang out with them. I wish there was more time in a day, since 24 hours isn’t enough to pack in everything that I love.       – as told to Suneela