‘Pindam’ is the film that we all did with so much passion: Hero Sriram

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The upcoming Telugu horror thriller ‘Pindam’ is slated to release in theatres worldwide on December 15. Directed by Saikiran Daida, the film features Srikanth Sriram, Kushee Ravi, Srinivas Avasarala, Easwari Rao, Ravi Varma. Other cast members include: Manik Reddy, Baby Chaitra, Baby Leisha, Vijayalakshmi and Srilatha in crucial roles.

The movie is produced by Yeshwanth Daggumati and co-produced by Prabu Raja. The story is written by Saikiran Daida, Kavi Siddhartha and Toby Osborne.

Actor Sriram, who is playing the protagonist in the film, interacted with the print/web journalists on Tuesday. Here are the excerpts.

How did the opportunity of Pindam come to you?
Pindam actually came to me during the latter part of the films that I have completed. Before Pindam I happened to do a film named ‘Inka Evaru’. Basically, when someone comes to me with a horror script, I am dead scared because when it is getting executed the story would be something else. There is an item song, two many monologues, double-meaning dialogues and other unnecessary stuff. If someone is making a crime thriller, he has to stick to the subject. But the story gets deviated and explores something else. But Pindam is truthful to its story. Horror genre is the only genre that can give the intensity to the audience. Pindam has the proper scare element to impress audiences. Every story needs a proper geography to tell a story. But it is also mandatory to keep in mind that where there is negative energy, evil spirits build a home. I will give a simple example, on Dec 22, 2003, I suffered a fire accident at Doddabetta dam near Ooty. I was supposed to dive into water that was 20 feet depth. Locals warned me not to dive, but the man who rescued me didn’t come out of the church for five days. He is an art assistant Manohar. He saw something very scary. Like plus and minus in mathematics, there is positive and negative energy in this world.

How confident are you about Pindam?
When I started my career, I didn’t have any market. Filmmakers wouldn’t have invested in me had they thought that I had no market or something else. Producer Yeshwant Daggumati has trust in the story. And he also has faith in the lead protagonist. Films keep coming every week, there was Animal that took the box office by storm, and Hi Nanna did well. Hope Pindam too will impress the audience in the coming week. I am confident that Pindam is going to give a proper theatrical experience to horror genre lovers. And the story has three different time frames: 1920, 1990 and 2023.

Unlike romcoms, horror films usually need different facial expressions and body language for horror films. Have you tried anything different from the usual?
Before going into the sets, as an actor I would imagine a sequence in my mind. I don’t by-heart the lines. I don’t have the habit of just rushing to the film sets without preparation. When you imagine a scene, you get the entire picture in your mind. Then you go and perform before the camera. That’s where you get to improvise yourself. I am directors’ actor. Pindam doesn’t boast about the scare element, it is also a content-driven film. The scariest movie that I have ever watched in Telugu was Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Ratri’. I watched it multiple times. ‘Om’, and then ‘Evil Dead’ and now ‘Insidious’. If we see ‘Evil Dead’ now, you might wonder why you were so scared watching it when you were young. You have something called emotion in the film. ‘Pindam’ has the right connection that is required to pull audiences.

Q)What is the difference between Pindam and your comedy horror film Sowkarpettai that came in 2016?
This is a journey of multiple families. And the transition that takes place in their lives is all about the story of Pindam. Everything is interconnected. Pindam is not a negative title. It is a very positive thing. Fetus is Pindam. If a soul has to rest in peace, Pindam is offered. One is giving life, one is also giving happiness after death. This is an emotional drama. It is the story of the families who have faced such aspects in the past. Still there are people who loathe girl children. What is the point of going forward in our lives? There are people who still think with such backwardness.

For me, the most important aspect is the story. Good story is about a hero. In the story of Pindam, more than anyone else it is the children that drive the story forward. I play the role of Antony, a responsible father with three children who is burdened with family pressures. He is not a superhero. How he protects his family in the process of fighting against the evil in the story. Avasarala Srinivas plays a unique character who comes on the screen in a different time frame. I loved his work. Eshwari Rao garu in a particular scene. I was supposed to hit a man who caught the throat of Eshwari. Some intuition struck me and I cautioned Eshwari Rao garu that something untoward may happen. When we enacted the scene, I hit the man with a flower vase and one of the broken pieces hit Eshwar on the head. We rushed her to the hospital. So many challenges we had to face. Despite having suffered injury, she completed the shot and went to hospital. That is her commitment towards the craft. It is all done with so much passion. An actor actually improves competitiveness. All were good actors on the sets including Kushee Ravi. She doesn’t have to act in the scene. Just by standing in the frame, she appeared as if she performed a lot. I felt inferior by looking at her. Because she was already into the character.

Are you worried about being typecast in the industry?
Yes. Previously, I made the same mistake. One reason that an actor starts picking roles hastily is because of the remuneration or some obligation. We used to do it frequently. Now it is different. We made a point that now we should not get type casted by choosing characters as they come. We should be selective in terms of script.

You have a good lover boy image in Telugu cinema. Do you think playing the father role in Pindam would affect your chances in the future?
That phase of the lover-boy image faded long ago. I have a son who is as tall as me. So it is always good to play your age. We are only depicting the characters. The lover-boy image on the screen is a false thing. I am doing a film ‘Inka Evaru’ in which I am not playing a father. That has a different outlook. In another project, a web series titled ‘Network’, I have totally a different look. Then I am doing Navy Commander which has a different characterisation compared to Pindam.

Have you ever seen a ghost in real life?
I visited a place called Ghost Hunting in Scotland. I paid money to experience the ghost. It is considered as the most haunted place to visit in Europe. There was an incident that happened in the past where an entire village was buried alive because of a pandemic. If you go there, there is a road which leads to a cemetery. On one side there is a place for Jesus followers and there is another space for anti-Jesus followers. It gives an eerie feeling if you go from one end to the other. One should pay money to see a ghost. I waited all day and returned disappointed.