On A Career High - Abhijeeth Poondla

Ever since his childhood Abhijeeth wanted to be an actor. He would often, as a kid, write down interesting monologues and mimic actors while looking into the mirror. So it was a natural decision for him to become an actor. Although he started with theatre, the transition to the silver screen wasn’t as difficult as he had thought. Here, he talks with You & I about his professional and personal life. Take a look!

First things first, tell us about your current projects.
My current project is titled Naana Koochi in which I am co-starring with Niharika Konidela. It is directed by Pranith Bramandapally and the trailer, which was out recently, has got an amazing response. We have finished working on it and I’m now looking forward to its release. Also, I have signed another untitled feature film; it’s a fantastic script based on cricket and will be directed by the debutant Madhu Deep. Apart from these, there are two more interesting projects lined up which will be made official soon.

What made you get into films?
I reckon every person who involuntarily gets influenced and feels like their matinee idol themselves while walking out of a movie theatre after the show is over, wants or wanted to be an actor at some point. Whether or not they take that instinct seriously and nurture the skill depends on the individual. As for me, I’ve always been inclined towards performing arts since my childhood. Be it dancing, acting or singing, I had done it all at an amateur level. I even used to write down lengthy monologues from some of my all-time favourite films and then learn and recite them while enacting the character in front of a mirror in my own way. But it was after I did a theatre workshop at Sutradhar that I opened up as an actor whilst preparing for a national award winning play called On Vacation. And when I got an opportunity to perform on stage professionally I found my calling and realised this is it. Working in films has only been a natural progression.

How did you get your first break?
Once I decided to take up acting on a professional level, I applied for many acting jobs online and attended several auditions referred by friends and managers. During this phase, I also applied to one such casting call by ‘A Working Dream Production’ house. I was called to audition for a character and got selected 20 days after my audition. Little did I know while auditioning that I would be playing the lead in a film like LBW-Life Before Wedding. I will always be grateful to my director Praveen Sattaru for giving me the opportunity.

What is the best part about being an actor?
The high that we actors get from a thundering applause after a performance is incomparable to anything. Playing multifaceted characters, both like and unlike us as individuals, requires a vivid imagination to grasp the nuances, and in the process it gives us a deeper insight into the complex human emotions and life as we call it. I have learnt a lot in the process of understanding all the characters I have played so far and I’m hoping to learn more in the years to come.

What do you do when you’re not working?
When I am not working I make sure I watch a lot of films and plays. Music has always been an important part of my life; I love playing the guitar and singing, so I hone my skills whenever time permits. I write stories and scripts whenever I’m in a mood to jot down my thoughts and as a mandatory practice I hit the gym or attend kick boxing classes religiously and follow a proper diet regime. I also try to spend some quality time with my family and friends in whatever capacity possible.

If not an actor, what would your alternate career option be?
I can’t see myself doing anything else but acting. I am like a horse with its blinkers on. I know it may sound insane and surreal but that’s the kind of commitment I give to something I love the most .

Since Sankranthi is around the corner, can you tell us if and how you celebrate it?
Sankranti has always been one of my favourite festivals, and it’s all about kite flying for me and my friends. On Bhogi, our family and friends get together to sing and dance around a bonfire before sunrise. We burn all our old stuff in the fire and later my mother and sister along with their entourage get busy making rangoli. We friends go to old city to buy the best kites and maanja (a sharp thread) and come back fully prepared for the kite war that takes place all day long for the next two days. Lunch and snacks are usually served on the terrace and blaring music is played to set the mood and keep the spirits high. The day ends with a lavish dinner party that features festive delicacies.

What’s your New Year resolution and how do you plan to stick to it?
I don’t usually make any New Year resolutions as such, so I won’t lie and say that I made one this year just for an interview. I constantly strive to be a better son, a better actor, and a better human being every single day and I believe it’s an ongoing process.

The remake of which film, from any film industry, would you like to star in if given a choice?
I personally feel that classics should never be remade because they are called classics for a reason. It’s almost impossible to recreate the same magic again. However, I would love to be a part of a prequel or a sequel of the same story, if given a choice. And in that case, there are way too many to mention.

Who is your role model and why?
My dad is my role model. He is a fantastic human being, a fine entertainer, and a great friend. He helps me deal with the highs and lows of life and he is someone who has an extensive knowledge and can talk about (almost) anything eloquently. And of course, he’s a thorough gentleman. I learn from him and his experiences everyday and aspire to be like him and hope to be at least half as good as him someday.