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To a different beat

The budding actor believes in taking it one day at a time


SIVABALAJI MAY have made a small beginning but he has big ambitions, and why not. His mother Aparna, is yesteryear Tamil and Telugu actress, but here he is trying to make it on his own steam.

Born and bought up in Chennai, he wanted to act ever since he completed his studies. He has a few films to his credit but his mean act in Arya put him in the spotlight. Having left the box office failure of his initial films behind, this soft-spoken, insightful and focussed actor has moved on to working in meaningful commercial cinema.

On his own

The son of an industrialist he went around like other aspiring actors getting portfolios done and approaching directors on his own. Before this he was a director in his father's company. He was trained abroad to get into the family trade but destiny had something else in store for him.

"Being the eldest in the family it was understood I was going to take up the responsibility and was resigned to work with my dad until my uncle stirred my love for acting again. Mum was apprehensive about it because she thought making it to the films is a not an easy thing and I didn't have any godfather. I was always in awe of my father and tried my best to be in his good books. He is a very strict person and a strong disciplinarian and speaks very little."

He adds that without his dad's knowledge portfolios were distributed and finally director Suresh Krishnan gave him the chance and single-handedly guided him in Idhi Maa Ashokgadi, a love story. "It was difficult convincing my father about my plunge into films. To add to my woes I realised on the first day the film released that it would be a flop, but I was determined to stay back."

Ela Cheppanu and Dost followed. Arya happened, things are now looking up and Siva is smiling again. His initial hurdles have been a great learning experience.

"I've seen the attitudes of people here, how it changes every Friday and have learnt to struggle and survive. The eight months before Arya when I went out of work was a blessing in disguise. I used this time to overcome my flaws, practiced dialogue delivery, lip movement, make-up, etc. and must say it boosted my confidence."

Enroute to success

His memories of Arya are still vivid. Gloating over his new found success, Siva elaborates. "The entire credit goes to my director Sukumar. The character had shades of grey and I was supposed to play the role of an egoistic guy who always got what he wanted in life and would get frustrated if he were denied anything. The director wasn't too happy with the first schedule, so he sat down with me and narrated the entire film with mannerisms and told me his expectations from that character. He literally squeezed the best out of me.

After the film released I thought I will be offered a negative role but contrary to what I thought, I was offered a film with Suresh productions as a solo hero."

Siva is currently working in Sankranthi, a remake of the Tamil film, Anandam. He says that if not for him people will definitely come to watch Venkatesh and the film is destined to do business.

His next film with Suresh productions will go on floor in December. "Right now I'm very content with the way things are moving and I'm not in a hurry. I work hard on the sets, go to the gym and hit the bed. Whenever I have time I watch movies especially Kamalhasan's and also on the sets when my seniors are giving their shot, I watch them emote.

I'm just waiting for my dad to appreciate my work."

Y. SUNITA CHOWDHARY

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