Interview: I want to experiment with new-age cinema, says actor Shiva Kandukuri

Son of popular Tollywood producer Raj Kandukuri, Shiva Kandukuri’s next — ‘Bhoothaddam Bhaskar Narayana' — is releasing on 31 March.

ByY Sunita

Published Mar 27, 2023 | 1:00 PMUpdatedMar 27, 2023 | 1:00 PM

Telugu actor Shiva Kandukuri

What strikes you first about actor Shiva Kandukuri is his candour and humility. He is three films old and slowly climbing the ladder in the Telugu film industry. Soon, we shall see him in a few big-budget movies.

Shiva Kandukuri is the son of Raj Kandukuri who bankrolled Vijay Deverakonda’s National Award-winning film Pelli Choopulu (Matchmaking) in 2016.

He was working as an energy analyst in the US when he decided to quit the job and try his luck in films.

“The job opportunities there were not that exciting. Also, I was not enjoying it. I was eager to foray into films. I was willing to go back to the US if things backfired,” Shiva Kandukuri told South First.

Moreover, he neither has baggage on his shoulders nor has to prove a point to anyone. “Since I am in that space now, I’d wait for a couple of films to come my way and see what to do next.”

choosi choodangaane poster

A poster celebrating one year of ‘Choosi Choodangaane’ movie. (iamShivaKandukuri/Facebook)

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. How would you rate your first film?

A. My first film Choosi Choodangaane (As Soon As I Saw), alongside Malavika Satheesan and Varsha Bollamma, is a rom-com.

It gave me a good break personally. I wouldn’t call it a hit but, given its budget, it did decently well at the box office.

Twenty days after the theatrical release, the first Covid-19 lockdown was announced. Choosi Choodangaane was streamed on “Aha” sooner than we thought.

But thanks to the lockdown, it registered more watch hours on the OTT space as audiences owned it up.

Unlike my contemporaries and newcomers, I am glad I had a theatrical release at that time.

Q. What about Gamanam and Meet Cute?

A. Gamanam (Pace) should have done better than it did. I guess it was released at the wrong time. Even as the OTT guys were asking them to go for a theatrical release, the producers held onto it for a really long time.

In the end, they couldn’t find a better day for release. Hence it had to be sandwiched between Balakrishna’s Akhanda and Allu Arjun’s Pushpa: The Rise. But after getting streamed on Amazon Prime, the film found a huge base.

Meet Cute was intended to be a web release. Right from the making to production design, everything fell into place. Moreover, actor-producer Nani’s support got it a wide reach and appreciation for the content.

Q. As a producer’s son, were you completely prepared for your debut?

A. Nothing can actually prepare you for the real world till you face it. And I was clearly not prepared.
The first time you face the camera is beyond anything like the classes that you take. I felt there was a lot of scope for improvement in my acting.

I was living in the US for nine years before I moved back to India. I was trying to fit into the dynamics when Choosi Choodangaane happened. If I had exposure, I would probably have grasped things differently.

shiva and raj kandukuri

Shiva with producer-father Raj Kandukuri. (iamShivaKandukuri/Facebook)

Looking back, coming on a clean slate has helped me a lot, like dealing with the industry and people.

Q. Did your dad have you in mind for Choosi Choodangaane?

A. Dad went through several victories and failures. He has been consistent in his personal and professional life. He put the same amount of effort into all his films that didn’t run or became successful.

Even if I didn’t do Choosi Choodangaane, he would have produced it with someone else in the lead.

He was just a bit extra careful because he launched me. Through the journey, I felt I would fit into the character.

Q. Will he continue to produce more films for you?

A. Which parent doesn’t like to invest in their son’s project? But if my dad keeps making films for me, people will stop valuing his work. They will stop respecting him and the audience base will automatically recede.

People will reject any filmmaker if s\he keeps churning out movies for one’s kith and kin, year after year.

shiva kandukuri

Telugu actor Shiva Kandukuri. (iamShivaKandukuri/Facebook)

Moreover, to sustain in the industry, someone else has to believe in us and our potential apart from our family.

Q. Did you ever assess yourself? What are you capable of?

A. Some people like larger-than-life images and some like to keep it natural. In my case, I want to experiment with new-age cinema and do relatable characters.

I will definitely do commercial films if there is any organic writing but not just for the sake of being there.

Once you do commercial cinema, the next you are offered are all template and formulaic roles. But if you do something offbeat like what Suhas does, the audience respects the actor for his\her choice.

Nevertheless, it is hard to maintain that balance. In the next 10 years, I will be happy if I do at least five good films. Anyways, the fate of commercial movies is not in our hands!

Q. What is the synopsis of your upcoming flick Bhoothaddam Bhaskar Narayana?

A. Bhoothaddam Bhaskar Narayana is a crime thriller. It is a quirky detective film shot in Tandur in the Vikarabad district, Telangana.

bhoothaddam bhaskar narayana poster

A poster of ‘Bhoothaddam Bhaskar Narayana’ film. (iamShivaKandukuri/Facebook)

The plot revolves around serial killings. A self-proclaimed detective named Bhaskar Narayana has an eyesight problem. He wears glasses that look magnified. People call him “Bhoothaddam” (magnifying glass).

Bhaskar Narayana solves petty cases in his town for ₹400-500. In the process, he uncovers a huge crime that shakes the country. There is a mythological element attached to the storyline.

Director Purushotham Raaj worked as an associate in the Tamil film industry and this is his first Telugu script.

Bhoothaddam Bhaskar Narayana also casts Rashi Singh, Ambati Sreenu, Shafi, Chaitanya Sagiraju, and Devi Prasad in key roles.

It’s produced jointly by Million Dollars Creations and Vijay Sagara Productions. The music is by Sricharan Pakala and Vijay Bulganin.

The movie will be out in the theatres on 31 March.