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Satyam Rajesh Interview – Tenant

Satyam Rajesh possesses what most of his industry counterparts don’t – an ability to call a spade a spade and a clear awareness of his strengths, and limitations. Last seen in Geethanjali Malli Vachindi in his pet genre (comedy), he now tests his fortunes as a lead actor with Tenant, a murder mystery, helmed by Y Yugandhar and Anil Kadiveti. In a chat, he offers a peek into the film’s world, aspects that drive his script choices.

All about Tenant

Tenant is a story that we all know, have seen, heard and experienced to some degree in our real lives in our neighbourhood. Back in my younger years, I had a friend from an affluent family who got caught by the cops for chain snatching out of the blue. He did it just for the rush of the adrenaline but I was surprised that someone whom I’ve known for years had this side to him.

This film is something similar, it’s a story about suppressed, unresolved trauma in the lives of its pivotal characters – women, and married couples and how their issues complicate matters. I liked the director’s narration and it revolves around a simple point – there’s nothing earth-shattering or larger-than-life about it. You’ll watch the film and come out feeling satisfied.

‘Not in a rat race’

There’s no preaching in Tenant, it’s just a commentary on the ways of the world. I simply want to be part of films that are relatable, natural and meaningful. 20 years into films, I’m not in a rat race and very aware of my stature in the industry and I’m not here to prove a point. I’m trying to make the most of the momentum I have as an actor. I keep listening to stories every day.

Treatment of Tenant

Srinivas Varma is the writer and he collaborated with the director for Tenant. The beauty of the film is its simplicity, the dialogues never go overboard and we communicate a lot through silence. Working with newcomers was a joy ride, they took time to familiarise but it has been a breeze ever since. None of them auditioned for the film and the director aimed for realism all along.

Pragmatic approach towards films

As an actor, I’m trying to choose the best out of the opportunities coming my way. Just because one of my films is successful, I don’t want to raise budgets and burn my fingers. There’s a joy you experience while watching a good film sans expectations and I want to be a part of such films. When you do a film, it’s hard to be objective about it but I was left teary-eyed while dubbing for Tenant’s climax.

Why he couldn’t make the most out of Kshanam’s success?

Kshanam was a memorable film in my career, but I was regularly offered cop roles ever since. I rejected over 50 such scripts and told them I was ready to do anything but a cop; it’s tiring to repeat yourself as an actor film after film. As an actor, I want to be someone along the lines of Raghuvaran or Prakash Raj and be remembered for my performances.

Maa Oori Polimera vs Tenant

The worlds of Polimera and Tenant are poles apart. Tenant is rooted in reality, while Polimera is set in a different universe. This is not a film with sudden twists, it’s more of a murder mystery. I don’t play a likeable character in the film though there’s a strong reason to explain his problematic behaviour. You’ll feel sorry for his plight. Polimera 3 is still in its scripting stages, it’ll take time to see the light of the day.

(Tenant releases in theatres on April 19)

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