Allu Arjun: The effort for ‘Pushpa’ equals four films

Telugu star Allu Arjun on what took him so long until ‘Pushpa’ to make a film for the Tamil audiences

Whenever Allu Arjun travelled to other parts of the country, he would invariably come across people from that particular locality warming up to his films. Be it Rajasthan or Kerala, his films, dubbed into vernacular languages, have done extremely well; Arjun says the most watched Indian film on YouTube is his.

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All of which points towards the fact that Allu Arjun is a pan-Indian star. Yet, the actor says he felt something was missing until Pushpa, due for a theatrical release this Friday. And that something was not getting enough adulation from Tamil Nadu, even though Arjun was born and brought up in Chennai.

He feels the circle is now complete.

Having spent most of his childhood in Chennai’s T Nagar, Arjun is not too perturbed when friends call him a Telugu-speaking Tamilian “I don’t feel shy when people say that. In fact, I think in Tamil,” says Allu Arjun, who was in the city to promote his upcoming Pushpa.

Billed as a pan-Indian project, the film releases in five languages. Arjun has seen all versions of Pushpa but is particularly satisfied with the output in Tamil. “Even though my films have done well in other markets, it is a different feeling when you play in your homeground [Chennai]. I want my childhood friends and tuition teacher to call me after watching the film; that is a different kick altogether,” he says, adding, “I wanted to come to Madras with a proper film and that happened with Pushpa.”

Directed by Telugu filmmaker Sukumar with whom Arjun had worked with in the Aarya films, Pushpa is set in the Andhra-Tamil Nadu border.

Since the film’s subject happens in a forest terrain, the conditions made it even more challenging to shoot. “We had about 400-500 cars in the forest that would take us from point A to B. In some places, there were no roads and we had to create a pathway with whatever was available. The filming itself took us almost two years,” said Arjun, “That is why I say this: the effort we had put in for Pushpa is equal to four films.”

Like nobody

  • Allu Arjun’s dance moves have always appealed to his fans. Does he have any favourites in the Tamil film industry?Arjun says that he loves watching Kamal Haasan and Vijay dance on the big screen . “All the actors, including Dhanush and Simbu, dance really well. I watched Sivakarthikeyan’s Doctor recently and enjoyed it.”

Arjun credits his friend and music composer Devi Sri Prasad aka DSP for pestering him to venture into Tamil cinema. But DSP doesn’t think Pushpa is a Telugu film releasing in other languages. “Ever since I heard the narration, I have been telling Bunny [Arjun] and Sukumar that it is actually a Tamil film made in Telugu, since most of the story happens near Tirupati,” says DSP.

Lyricist-writer Madhan Karky seconds that. Karky felt a burnout and wanted to take a break, when he was approached by Allu Arjun’s team to write the Tamil dialogues. “I couldn’t say no to their anbu. But when I came on board, I felt fortunate to have got this film.”

More than the film, Karky found Pushpa’s character and the attitude Arjun carries in the film to be the highlights. “There is a particular dialect Arjun speaks in the film. It was a challenge for us to bring that to the Tamil audience.”

Pushpa also stars Rashmika Mandanna and Fahadh Faasil. About the latter, Arjun says, “I watched him perform live on the set and really enjoyed what he did. There were moments I forgot about myself watching him act.”

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